The sunset concerts in Kirstenbosch are definitely a highlight of the summer in Cape Town. Picnicing in such a stunning setting while enjoying a live concert is a hard to beat combination. However, the lineup at Kirstenbosch this season didn’t really tickle my fancy, I think I only went to 1 concert this time round. So when I received an invitiation to something similar at Vergelegen wine estate, I happily accepted. I couldn’t help but compare the two.
I have been to Vergelegen before, it is really one of the most beautiful estates I have ever seen. I went on the way to the Flower Show at Lourensford Estate last yeart. A visit to Vergelegen is not cheap, that’s for sure. It costs R10 per person just to enter the estate, then wine tasting costs R10 or so per wine. It has to be done, though, just to see the estate.
But back to the concert… The person who invited us provided everything, picnic basket, wine, picnic blanket, etc. So we just had to arrive. I think that definitely added to the enjoyment. You could also buy wine and snacks at Vergelegen which is nice. I have begun to realise that organising the picnic for Kirstenbosch is a little stressful and time consuming, especially if you are doing something earlier in the day, like sitting on the beach.
So, we arrive at Vergelegen, and they have an enormous field available for parking with a short walk to the gate. Then another short walk and we were in the main area, looking for the people we were meeting. Having located them we made ourselves comfortable and proceeded to investigate the tasty picnic baskets each of us had received. I have heard of The Picnic Company before but have never sampled their wares. I was very impressed. The basket was packed with so much food, I reckon it would be enough for 2 people (maybe it was for 2?). Bobotie cupcakes, chicken mayo pita, biltong, breadsticks wrapped in Parma ham and lots more. We washed the tasty snacks down with a selection of Vergelegen wines.
The first thing that was able to distract me from my tasty picnic basket was the start of the concert. That was when I realised that Kirstenbosch has one distinct advantage and that is the slope. At Kirstenbosch you can see the stage from where ever you are but at Vergelegen your view is obstructed by the people in front of you. It was particularly bad for us because we seemed to be the only people who had not brought chairs to sit on. Luckily there is an enormous screen to the side of the stage which showed the action and other visual effects.
The concert itself was great. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra is really very good and I reckon the main reason they are so under-supported is because they normally perform in the City Hall which is a great venue if your legs have been amputated above the knee. For people who do happen to have legs there is nowhere to put them because the seat in front is so close. They performed a number of ‘classics’, of which we recognised a large number. Clair Johnston (?) from Mango Groove sang some Mango Groove numbers with them. They also did a medley of James Bond theme songs. Quality entertainment.
Going to the toilet nearly turned into a bit of a saga. Despite taking note of numerous landmarks, when I returned I could not see my posse in the darkeness. Luckily they saw me and attracted my attention with some hand signals.
So, seeing as this concert only happens once a year, I would definitely recommend it. It makes a pleasant change from Kirstenbosch but if it was also every Sunday, I don’t think I would drive that far very often.