The Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts series is an annual event which kicks off about mid-November, each year in the glorious Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. There are always Christmas Carols. There is always a New Year’s Eve concert. When planning a trip to Cape Town, this is a must-get-to outdoor summer concert series.
The 2019/20 series, presented in association with Old Mutual continues, every Sunday, until April 5, 2020. ❌ Season postponed because of coronavirus (Covid-19). Watch this space for re-scheduled dates.
The concert line-up winds down with jazz by Andrew Young and Don Vino – with guest vocalists Amy Jones, Gavin Minter and Selim Kagee joining them on stage.
Concert start times vary
Start times of concerts vary between 5.15pm and 5.30pm. There are exceptions for NYE and other concerts which are presented by outside promoters. For instance, the celebrated cellist, Yo-Yo Ma mesmerised the crowds, earlier this month (Feb 8, 2020). His concert started at 7pm. It was extraordinary to witness this artist in action- as part of his Global Bach Project Tour. The evening concert gave us the opportunity to enjoy a concert in the dark, with lighting effects in the greenery. It was magical. The superbly staged concert was produced by Showtime Management SA.
For most of the Kirstenbosch concerts the cut-off time for the end of the concerts is 7pm. That is a requirement as the garden is in a residential area. There is a special dispensation for NYE and other events. No amount of applause and screaming ovations will allow the artists to keep playing, beyond 7pm. Just saying – so you know why there cannot be encores. We always want more.
Sunday summer concerts
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts are generally staged on Sundays. There are additional slots for Christmas Carols and New Year’s Eve Concert.
It has been interesting to see the number of tourists who were at the concerts over the 2019/20 season. There was a babble of accents – especially German. With winter in Europe, Cape Town is a tantalizing prospect. All that snow – pretty for some – but no thanks – we are in Africa. We like to shvitz (Yiddish: get heated up) over our Festive Season.
Windy city – Kirstenbosch tends to be sheltered
Yes, Cape Town is a windy city and we have our blustery moments, but it’s not freezing. When kitting up for the Kirstenbosch concerts – wear sleeveless gear, shorts, thongs but pack a scarf and light down jacket (go Uniqlo – nope, no branches in South Africa – yet – buy at https://www.uniqlo.com). Cape Union Mart https://www.capeunionmart.co.za/ is a local equivalent- not as light weight as Uniqlo but good quality.
At Kirstenbosch, even on a breezy day, the garden tends to be sheltered from The Cape Doctor. With the spectacular lawns, flowers and trees, fringed by mountains, Kirstenbosch is an outdoor concert nirvana.
Generally, there is not much wind activity in February – the best month to visit Cape Town. February evenings tend to be balmy and the evenings tend to be lovely in March. Attending concerts at Kirstenbosch is beguiling as one watches the sun setting and becomes submerged in the music and the beauty of the surrounds. Every time we attend a concert at Kirstenbosch, we feel invigorated by the crisp air; the green and the gees (spirit – South African argot).
The Cape Doctor aka the South Easter wind
A note on: The Cape Doctor aka the South Easter wind is rumoured to gust away smog and bugs. In San Francisco, they have named its famous fog, Karl. Karl has an Instagram and twitter account. The Cape Doctor is not on trend with social media. In Cape Town, we tend to raise the wind factor – way ahead of the temperature of the day. After the drought that we recently emerged from, we love the rain. We love the heat. We don’t love the South Easter, especially when it is sand blasting us and buffeting us from every angle. December tends to bring on gale force conditions. Feb and March – usually a lot tamer.
Please note that Webtickets is the official online ticketing partner for the concert series. Third party ticket sellers may be peddling tickets which are not legitimate. Don’t be scammed. Book through Webtickets.
Reasonably priced tickets
Goldfish performed in December 2019. The band is a popular drawered and hopefully, Goldfish will be back for the 2020/21 season. Tickets for the Goldfish Concert for 2019: R170– R220. Work that out in dollars, euros or pounds and you can see why tourists are flocking to Kirstenbosch. Check out the Goldfish ticket prices on the party circuit in Europe and you will undertsnad why it is not uncommon to find people who have flown in from London, especially to attend this concert.
Kids Zone- a new innovation at the concert series
A new innovation this season, is the introduction of the Old Mutual Kids Zone – for selected concerts.
Old Mutual is the main sponsor of the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts 2019/2020 season and has sponsored the Old Mutual Kids Zone. There is no charge for the Kids Zone which is open from 4pm to 6.30pm at selected concerts. For 2020, there is one more slot: March 2020 (Prince Kaybe/Sho Madjozi).
The Kids Zone is situated at the top right-hand corner at the top section within the concert area. It is enclosed and has qualified childminders in attendance.
Entertainment in the zone, includes games, arts and crafts and a soft play obstacle course for toddlers under five. Children of all ages welcome. Please notify child minders if your child has a peanut or other allergy or another medical condition. If your child has a medical condition, you may be required to stay in the zone with your child.
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts -Concert/travel ✈advisory
Annual event- includes Christmas Carols, New Year’s Eve concert and other concerts which are presented by outside producers
✔ No smoking– there are no designated smoking areas in Kirstenbosch.
✔ No garbage bins- take garbage away with you.
✔ Chairs – non-elevated picnic chairs- chairs must be set low on ground – basically L-shaped head-rest doodads. Be nice and be respectful and don’t block views.
✔ BYO –bring your own or pre-order from Moyo Restaurant at Kirstenbosch. Order from Moyo – online via Webtickets – R220 – R525 https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1495373458 Bookings for picnic – five days in advance; paid for three days prior to the date of concert. Collection at Moyo Kirstenbosch reception from 3-5pm on day of concert.
✔ Prices 2019/2020: Concert tickets for 2019/2020: R170 – R220 for most tickets at the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts 2019/2020. Children under 6 – no charge. Different prices for NYE and other concerts. Book at Pick n Pay or online at https://www.webtickets.co.za/Kirstenbosch-Concerts
✔ Tickets: Webtickets is the authorised ticket seller. No other ticket sellers authorised to sell tickets for the season.
✔ Rain: Kirstenbosch concerts take place irrespective of rain. No refunds. Cape Town Summer is generally rain free so don’t stress. If there is a light shower, you will cool down. Take a raincoat if it looks likely to rain. Take your Uniqlo jacket or similar from Cape Union Mart, always.
✔ Load shedding: Generators in place. Concerts continue without interruption when electricity is down.
✔ Gates open: Gates to the concert area open at 4pm and 7pm on New Year’s Eve. Arrive early to find a spot on the grass and settle in before the concert starts. No reserved areas.
✔ Old Mutual Kids Zone: At selected concerts only – no charge – included in concert ticket price. Last one for 2019/20 season -March 8, 2020- Prince Kaybee/Sho Madjozi
Image credit: supplied