Thursday, 28 July 2011

Stellenbosch Alternative

We as Cape Town Music Scene, noticed this movement called Stellenbosch Alternative, and decided to ask them what they are all about......

Who/what and why you are? What are your goals?

Stellenbosch alternative is a community initiative by three students at Stellenbosch University. We see that there is a need in the community to bring together likeminded people. We are not some big company using people’s likes to make a quick buck out of them. Making money from this is the last thing on our minds. We simply are an organisation that aims to promote this alternative culture in Stellenbosch. (Promote bands, events, places)

Our main goal is to have people united in their love for alternative music and lifestyle in Stellenbosch. We came up with the idea for something like this early in the year when walking around campus. You’d see someone wearing a band shirt or something and you would exchange a nod or some sort of sign of approval but that was it. There is no central place where people like this can meet and grow relationships and grow the scene. Yes of course there are some alternative venues – but to be honest we think these places have become too watered down (more about this later)

If people are active in Stellenbosch, there will be new bands forming, learning from each other, exchanging ideas, friendships made. Basically we love alternative music, metal, rock, punk, you know that shit..and we want more people to know about it and get a chance to experience it.

How do you think of achieving it? Any plans getting involved in helping organize gigs.

So far we have to start small purely because of numbers. Obviously, if we had 10000 fans and unlimited resources we would hold festivals every weekend.

Realistically we want to promote local bands from Stellenbosch first and then other local cape town based bands. By promoting we mean advertising their gigs, album launches, downloads, anything like that. As well as business such as tunes (a practice studio in Stellenbosch)

At the moment we feel we are in a growing stage, trying to get enough numbers and big name support to get some actual things on the ground. Several quite well known bands and companies have approached us saying that they appreciate what we are doing and would like to get involved once we have a big enough following. We have also approached a pub in Stellenbosch and they have agreed that we can start hosting alternative themed nights at this pub however we do understand that they need to make money so once again we need to be able to show the numbers.

So in the near future we hope to get alternative themed nights going, bring back metal/alternative to some of the venues we think have lost the plot a bit. We hope to create a bit of hype around Stellenbosch based bands and increase the number of people attending gigs in the area.

Yeah we’d definitely be keen to organise some gigs and events.

What we consider to be “alternative”:

The dictionary gives the definition of alternative culture to be a type of culture that exists outside or on the fringes of mainstream or popular culture. This fails in our opinion to give the true sense of what an alternative culture means through the failure of the exact generic definition of mainstream. It is because of this reason that we will try and explain what alternative culture means to us without the use of common phases like “it is anything not mainstream” or “if it is on the radio, it is mainstream” The alternative culture that we know and have come to love is integrated with core artistically focused values that display respect and a certain level of appreciation for different art forms and subcultures in an unbiased way. We believe that one can not simply give some form of art, music or lifestyle credit or no credit at all because of its style, genre or popularity. Thus a person who treats anything they hear, see or experience with the same amount of respect, should only be left to use certain universal criteria and his/her own personal opinion to measure his/her level of appreciation of what is heard, seen or experienced. It is this rational evaluation of a piece of art, music or someone else’s lifestyle before displaying like or dislike that we consider to be the fundamental building blocks for being alternative and creating an alternative culture. To put it plain and simple, it is liking what you like and thinking for yourself by displaying your views, believes and opinions in an intellectual way without bashing on other people who seem to not agree with you to the extent that pleases you.

Is the scene dead?

The scene is not dead. Yet there are more than enough people to cause its destruction, but even more than enough to cause its long living existence. The groups are all separated, but not gathered. There is a huge amount of people following, but there is no central gathering, group, or community to supply this need of general acceptance within one certain place. It should be a group of non invasion, and of acceptance and respect among one another. If the question should be asked, the alternative community is not a scene, it is a lifestyle, it is outside the scene, and it is a growing place in need of common greeting grounds.

Do you think some of the venues changed to much to mainstream?

Yes we do think that some venues changed to much to mainstream. A good example is Aandklas. Aandklas used to play alternative music,and used to draw an alternative crowd. But lately their customers have stopped going there ,and we think one of the main reasons is because they started playing music that can be heard in almost every venue in Stellenbosch. Aandklas used to be a place where altenative music,people and ideas all came together. It has ahuge following on facebook and good deals yet is almost always empty. Also there is another aandklas in in Pretoria and they still play the music that they always used to, and there are more than enough people who support them.Other venues in Stellenbosch all play the music that can be heard in places such as nu bar,except for the odd one or two other venues.Bohemia has luckily always been there for us, and played the music that we alternative supporters love to hear. But recently the people have changed to a much more mainstream crowd. Bohemia has almost become a greeting place for the more mainstream crowd, to catch the 7-9 drinks special and then go to the nightclubs. There are still the regular customers who will always keep the alternative side of bohemia alive.we think that some venues might want to reconsider the music that they play,and also remember what they represented when they started out. And Stellenbosch needs a place where people who live an alternative lifestyle can go and know that other people with the same interests will be there. There are nightclubs which only support mainstream music and people. We need a place to do the same for alternative. We don’t want to come across as completely hating on the place its just it isn’t marketing itself right.What venue is the most alternative still?we would say bohemia as they have never started to play music other than they have always done,and unlike other venues they do not try to cater for every type of crowd, Even though different people go there, they never change their style to adapt to the different people. They do not try to attract more people by occasionally playing mainstream music.

Go and take a look at their FB page for more info.... Stellenbosch Alternative

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