With nearly 800 000 people attending the more than 300 events at key City venues last year, the City is positioning itself as a premier events destination.
The City Hall has been particularly instrumental in helping this administration’s achieve its goal of being a truly inclusive city. No longer a venue just for the ballet or a Shakespearean production, local and international event organisers are increasingly choosing this and other key City venues for a diverse range of cultural events, music shows and conferences.
More than 151 000 people attended the 143 events held at the City Hall last year. Built in 1905, the building is undergoing a series of upgrades and renovations, including repairs to the roof to eliminate leaks and protect the architecture and design of the ceiling. Earlier this year, City Hall chimed to a different tune – in fact it rocked to the sounds of heavy-metal band, ‘Lamb of God’. More recently a tattoo convention was held at the hall which attracted scores of people in search of body art by local and international tattoo artists.
‘The diversity of events at the City Hall of late is testimony to the fact that this iconic venue resonates with all Capetonians. In the true spirit of inclusivity and embracing our cultural diversity, we would like to encourage our communities to make use of the City Hall and other City facilities. This is a shared space and not exclusive to any sector of our city,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe.
Event organisers continually look for venues with a difference and the spotlight has fallen on the City’s strategic assets as venues of choice for a range of events, i.e. concerts, cultural festivals, exhibitions, sports tournaments and seminars. Last year, close to 800 000 people attended the more than 300 events held at four of the City’s strategic assets: the City Hall, the Grand Parade, the Good Hope Centre and the Athlone Stadium.
Over the next few months these venues will host several new events, including outdoor music festivals, cultural shows, debates and a World Design Capital 2014-supported exhibition at the City Hall from May. The exhibition, titled ‘City Divided, City Desired’ by the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, aims to explore the City’s future plans for human settlements, densification and sustainable development.
Plans are also afoot for the upgraded Athlone Stadium and the surrounding precinct to become more sustainable. The stadium hosted 87 events last year, drawing crowds of more than143 000. Some of the plans to make the stadium financially viable include the implementation of the Athlone Stadium Signage Master Plan (which will allow the City to let prime advertising space on the stadium’s outer façade), leasing of office accommodation, and turning a section of the stadium’s parking area into a controlled driving school facility and craft market.
The Good Hope Centre, another key City asset, underwent maintenance work last year and hosted 83 events attended by more than 240 000 people – from mass church services to the Cape Malay Choir competitions, sports expos and various meetings.
In December 2013, the Grand Parade hosted 20 events, including the annual Festival of Lights and the New Year’s Eve celebration, attracting more than 243 000 people. The Grand Parade has been identified as a suitable venue for inclusive mass outdoor entertainment and tribute events in the future. One such event is the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival. Held in February, the festival showcases the best of electronic music from around South Africa.
‘The City has taken the lead in making sure that we leverage our strategic assets and that these properties are transformed into premier event locations, accessible to the public and visitors. This is in line with our broader plans to position Cape Town as the events capital of Africa. Our aim is to use our strategic assets and events to drive up visitor numbers – both domestically and internationally,’ added Councillor Pascoe.