Rob’s Top 5 Picks For The Weekend

Yes, rejoice! It is the weekend. With being said, I’d like to reflect on the week as a whole – briefly. I’d like to point specific fingers at city planners because they are directly responsible for the woes of many commuters. I have not complained about the traffic for some time now and I think another succinct grumble is due. The sheer volume of late has me yelling expletives like you won’t believe. Chief among them is ‘great Caesar’s ghost’, which I feel should not be wasted on something as inane as my morning drive.

I understand that Johannesburg, once upon a time, could classify itself as a boom town. It was probably difficult then to lay her out in the wheel-and-spoke model like Washington D.C. has been. The classic grid model may have also been a long shot as some routes required immediate paving to wherever another vein of gold had been discovered. What bugs me is the limited amount of tarred capillaries from one zone of the city to another. Some of these narrow down to a single lane at major intersections.

Space I believe is a major, excuse me, road block, but where planner can spare some room, there ought to be something done about it. Every year this time it becomes blatantly apparent that there had been an influx of prospective workers and resident into the City of Gold. The roads are bursting at the seams and it vexingly adds valuable minutes to one’s travels. This makes for angry employees. I also dread a fuel price increase as I find myself stationary more often than not lately. Now your poor planning, Mr City Planning is making me poor!

Thankfully, a bumper-to-bumper situation rarely makes a nuisance of itself over the weekend, unless you live in the West Rand. We can then travel to this week’s top 5 destinations with glee and a bit of change to spare. Let’s see what we’ll get up to this week.

  1. Backsberg Summer Picnic Concerts 2019, 10 February – 10 March

Cost: R190-R220 available through Quicket

I’d like to give the organisers a bit of props here – their series of concerts ends just before the annoyingly unpredictable and inconsistent autumn kicks in. This year the Backsberg Estate Cellars are also hosting the 10th anniversary of this particular event and, for the next five Sundays, they are bringing you some of the country’s most beloved music acts. The informal nature of it all is typically what South Africans yearn for over the weekends. Yes, we do like to pretend at a fancy do from time-to-time, but we are a laid-back bunch by nature. This is why the picnic setting is so perfect. It just adds an extra arrow in tranquillity’s quiver. The famous Worsrol food truck will once again serve up a few informal delights and you can order pre-packed picnic baskets, too. You are welcome to take your own food. Herewith the next few week’s line-ups.

  • #1 Sunday, 10 February – Shortstraw (R200.00 per ticket)
  • #2 Sunday, 17 February – Bottomless Coffee Band (R190.00 per ticket)
  • #3 Sunday, 24 February – Zolani from Freshlyground (R200.00 per ticket)
  • #4 Sunday, 3 March – Beatenberg (R220.00 per ticket)
  • #5 Sunday, 10 March – Opposite the Other (R190.00 per ticket)
  1. Heart Cape Town Music Festival 2019, 9 February

Cost: R70-R150 available through Computicket

What do we want in South Africa? We want value for money and we don’t usually care what it is for. I’m scoring R84/kg on lambs chops come my braai. What you’ll get for your hard-earned money at the Heart Cape Town Music Festival is a set list of over 20 of the country’s finest musicians. Yes, over 20. You’ll also score a picturesque view. Their second annual instalment will over you a view of the city’s famous old mountain from within the confines of the scenic Newlands cricket stadium. As for the day’s musical talents confirmed so far we’ll have all of Jimmy Nevis, Youngsta CPT, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, Emo Adams, Mango Groove, Freshly Ground, Micasa, Lady Zamar, Shekhinah, Goodluck and AKA. That, to me, is worth every little penny.

  1. Jozi Gin Pub Crawl, 9 February

Cost: R400 available through Quicket

I’ll say it again… this town has a gin problem. I’m luckily one of those who’d not deem this a bad thing, necessarily. I fancy myself a G&T now and again. The, I realise that it might look a little steep price-wise, but you do get your money’s worth. For starters, you get to kick off your journey at the booming (most certainly) Time Anchor Distillery – these guys are making serious inroads at the moment. It is rather obvious that your R400 will buy you a helluva lot of fun, but it also includes some of your drinks at three destinations, your food and the transport cost. See, there’ll be no need to do any damage control. All you need to do is rock up at Time Anchor on Saturday at 11h00. It’s as simple as that.

  1. A Headbanger’s Ball, 9 February

Cost: R80-R100 available at the doors

Look, I’ll be the first to admit, being a fan and all, that metal as a music genre does not get all that much love in this country. To me it is a shame, but I completely get why some people simple can’t digest any of it. We actually have two events this weekend for those who prefer their music to be crafted rather than copy and pasted from a bunch of pre-sets on a computer. First we have the Empower Music Festival hosted at the venerable Rumours Rock City in Randburg, Johannesburg. It will be permeated by a theme of upliftment and camaraderie while a long list of bands pluck and strum away on stage. The bands set to perform on this night are Shut up! It’s Sunday, Raygun Royale, Parts and Fiction, Hiraeth, Human Nebula, Clint Funkoneti Falconer, The TerraZAR, Amber Light Choices and Club Of Suns. Next we have the big one. The Wacken Metal Battle takes place at Sundowners in Alberton and this event will serve as an opportunity for the winner to play at the Wacken Open Air in 2019 in Germany. It is one of the world’s premier metal festivals and not many a South African band has represented their country there. The line-up is fairly shorter than the Empower Festival’s but it does include a few hardened names in Altar of Bones, Disarmageddon, Doomed Since Birth and the evergreen Facing the Gallows.

  1. Travel Expo 2019, 9-10 February

Cost: R50, available through Ticketpro

Now, I get that people are their own travel agents of late and that the traditional institution is on a downward trajectory. The internet has opened up a world that we have not been exposed to before. But, as much as we can pick and choose on the World Wide Web, there is also a chance that we might miss something. Industry experts may also make us aware of unbeaten roads the world over. I’m of the opinion that smaller gems do not receive as much exposure as the bigger towns and cities do. If you are anything like my old man, then there is little advice that the expo can offer you, but I figured that most people aren’t as pedantic as he is. You can therefore may a day outing out of the whole thing while you pick up some travel inspiration along the way. It must be noted that children under 18 do get to enter for free. There will be activities to keep them busy and a beer garden for you should your kicks tire your feet out.



Robert is a descendant of the stout Macpherson Clan out of the Scottish Highlands and can claim Robert the Bruce as a far-off cousin. He suffers from a severe form of Collectors’ Disease and sports an assortment of small valuable curious. In his spare time he works a full-time job, but his real prowess lies within his musical aptitude as a drummer. He is a semi-amateur of the instrument and although he claims beating a drumhead one of the more primal sensations man can experience, he feels it to be an unnatural exercise to pursue. If he could have his way, he’d have breakfast every meal of the day and is a fan of all things Roald Dahl.