ctemf blog // 19.02.2014

General Information

Reflecting on CTEMF 2014


What started out as a vision back in 2005, finally became a reality this past weekend. 7 years after the initial spark and only in its 3rd edition, The Cape Town Electronic Music Festival took on its full form between 4 – 9 February 2014. 

All the elements combined perfectly to produce what can only be proudly described as Cape Town’s very own world-class electronic music festival.

The CTEMF’s tag line – Rearrange Your Sonic Geography rang true as the bar was set and the status quo turned upside down. Never before has such a diverse line up of pioneers and newcomers from both local and international scenes been brought together under one event.

Preceding the three-day music festival were three days of workshops – nine wide-ranging conversations that touched on an array of topics over two days at the brand new Red Bull Studios Cape Town and a final day in at Guga S’thebe in Langa.

Speakers included a long list of industry leaders, expat protagonists who are pushing boundaries abroad (Portable and Lerato Khati) and vanguards Caspa (UK) and The Original Jazzy Jay (US) – who played a role in defining dubstep and hip hop before these genres even had a name.  learning from people who changed music history.

Through these conversations; this exchange of knowledge - CTEMF hopes to contribute towards an aspiring music industry from town to township. The goal is opening up the possibility of opportunity for all who wish to be a force of positive change with in this industry.

For a month lead in CTEMF’s ‘satellite’ events had connected the dots between much of Cape Town and South Africa’s clubbing and event circuit. Paying homage to those that keep the scene in motion all year round.

Then came three days saturated with the best local and international electronic music -

it is the core of The Cape Town Electronic Music Festival.The workshops lay down the theory and the festival delivers the execution. It is our scene in action.

At the festival, local stars held their own against a long list of international guests and celebrated our own sonic identity through stellar performances from all who were involved.

Rain did not deter a hungry dance floor on Friday, when Crazy White Boy, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Protoculture and Hobo provided the sublime soundtrack that the latter part of the evening. 


On Saturday that sonic landscape moved through hip hop, deep house, and live electronics. This all built up to the phenomenal closing sequence that saw UK bass pioneer Caspa prove unequivocally why he is still as relevant as when he forged his sound over 10 years ago.

South African hometown hero Haezer stood tall next to his International counterparts and showcased why he his an act to watch on the global circuit. 

The closing set and one that was marked as the highlight was Dutch Drum & Bass crew - Noisia. They did not disappoint. On the contrary we saw what must be one of the biggest D&B floors in SA history erupt for an hour of full frontal audio & visual assault. History was made.


Sunday was marked as the day to really get to grips with the shining light of our South African electronic music repertoire. We all know SA house is the global calling card peaking the interest of countless onlookers, but how many of us have really seen it in action. Well Sunday was like a roll call of those responsible.

From upstarts like Sir Vincent and Trancemicsoul to legends in the making Jullian Gomes & Culoe de Song, we represented magnificently. We were treated to a rare home soil Live set by ‘expat’ star on the rise Alan Abrahams aka Portable who now resides in Berlin. Second last set of the night was owned outright by now legend Black Coffee showcasing overtly why he is the figurehead of South Africa’s charge into international waters.

The closing set of CTEMF 2014 could not have been left to a better mind than Dixon.

Berlin born, Steffen Berkhahn laid down an audio tapestry that would be undersold to call it poetic. Its by no stroke of luck that he was named RA’s number 1 DJ for 2013 and it was evident for all to hear just why Dixon is considered the best of the best when it comes to the art of a true DJ.


All in all, the 6 day program was almost faultless. From anyones perspective it ticked virtually all the boxes. And in an industry known for its harsh criticism this is saying a lot.

By paying respect to the originators of various global scene’s that have had untold influence on our own development; By spotlighting up and coming ZA acts that will lay the foundation for the future; and by creating a platform to carry forward the ethos that something as traditionally hedonistic as a Electronic Music can breed substance and can contribute to the positive development of South Africa's youth, CTEMF has set the tone for how all events and artists should move forward in South Africa, if not the world.

The CTEMF 2014 team gave life to an ambitious vision. To push the boat out on an indigenous concept and a showcase for our country and its deep and diverse pool of music makers and players. Let’s position this right in the middle of Cape Town for all to see, and lets bring an array of international guests to interact, engage and exchange with our pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.

And then lets see what happens…

There are key companies, government bodies and brands that have had the faith in this vision to make it a reality. Well earned respects go out to Red Bull Studio, British Council & their Connect ZA project, The City of Cape Town, The Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Kilowatt AV Ma55ive, Beanstalk Productions, Made Digital, Makhulu Productions, Say Thank You Sound Design, Bridges for Music and Uber amongst a host of others that played their crucial role in the realisation of this vision.