We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with the founder of one of Cape Town’s most anticipated events in this year’s summer calendar: Littlegig. It’s hard to describe Littlegig without your mind wanting to wander down the rabbit hole, where you’ll find yourself in the enchanted forest of the Wiesenhof Legacy Park. We took the time to find out what makes this dream-like festival tick, how the curation behind it works and how the festival team’s creative juices flow…
We chatted to Georgia Black who let us in on a few secrets about the upcoming festival in Stellenbosch.
MCBN: Thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Tell us about yourself. What do you do, where are you from? I mean, you’re hosting one of the most unique events of the year after all.
Georgia: I’m from Johannesburg and have been living in Cape Town for 25 years. I am the founder, promoter, creative director of Littlegig Festival.
MCBN: How do you remain up-to-date with the event industry and did you feel there was a gap that needed to be filled?
Georgia: I’m not sure I’m up to date with the event industry per se, but I stay up to date with what’s going on in the music, food and design world. I follow galleries, artists and musicians (locally and internationally) who interest me. And I work closely with people who know more than me – editors, gallery owners, music journalists. I used to be a journalist so having my ear to the ground is a habit!
I did feel there was a gap that needed to be filled. Something small, bespoke and inspiring for people who are exposed to creativity – often on a global level – on a daily basis. It’s not difficult to put on a party for youngsters – a stage or two, a bar, a food truck and your event can be a great success. But to attract a discerning, time-starved, creative crowd is a whole different story.
MCBN: Take us through the conceptualization of Littlegig, how did this magical idea come about and how did you chose the event name? In essence this is one of the more creative events we’ve had the pleasure of laying our festival eyes upon.
Georgia: I started Littlegig as a series of small music concerts. I was inspired by overseas venues like Joe’s Pub in New York that present musicians in a sophisticated but unpretentious setting. The first 2 Littlegig concerts were a sellout success. Then, because I’m a restless type, I decided to extend the idea. In order to really move people, I wanted 24 hours of their time, not just 4. I went to SXSW in Austin, Texas, to listen to various panels about music festivals. And I quickly realised that there was nothing anywhere in the world quite like I wanted to do: a small, tight, 24 hour experience in music, food, design and fashion. Festivals around the world are a numbers game, which doesn’t interest me.
The true story behind the name? I was thinking about the essence of what I wanted to do, which was at the opposite end of the Big Concerts spectrum. (With no disrespect to Big Concerts, who do an admirable job of staging mega-events.)
MCBN: What do you hope to achieve and what do you hope people take away from Littlegig?
Georgia: I hope to give people an experience whereby they connect with themselves and others in nature, and leave feeling inspired.
MCBN: So tell us a bit more about how you work with the artists?
Georgia: It’s the age of collaboration and Littlegig is tapping into this energy. True creatives – chefs, musicians, designers, stylists and make-up artists – are open to working with others who share a similar vision or who offer an opportunity that excites them. Once I find creatives who I feel are right for Littlegig (and who feel the same way), it’s the job of my team to make their creative process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. A festival of this size doesn’t have huge budgets, so it’s all about the energy exchange. The creatives are at the heart of the festival and we make sure that we honour this.
MCBN: What’s your favourite restaurant in Cape Town?
Georgia: Chefs. www.chefscapetown.co.za. 81 St John’s Street Gardens. But then I’m biased, as we partly own it. Like Littlegig, it’s an example of tight curation combined with very high standards!
MCBN: Are there any specific performing artists or chef you are most looking forward to at this year’s event?
Georgia: *Headline chef from Copenhagan Rasmus Munk – described by Rene Redzepi of Noma (world’s number 1 restaurant) as one of the most talented chefs around.
*Sunset set by legendary house music producer/DJ Culoe de Song, who started out as Black Coffee’s protégé, and who is so loved in Europe that he hardly performs in SA anymore.
*Basketball court set by DJ/violinist/producer Seth Schwarz. Artist Atang tshikare will be doing a live painting installation during Seth’s set.
*LA producer/DJ Captain Planet – a world music legend – at the Tropical Bass Bar.
*Zaki Ibrahim, back in the country after a year of making music and performing in Canada.
*Concept store takeover by LGBT underground party Diskotekah.
MCBN: Describe the event in 3 words
Georgia: Non-shmutsik festival. (For the non-Yiddish, that means non-grimy!)
24hr all-inclusive festival.
Value for money.
(This is fun… I could go on!)
MCBN: Describe yourself in 3 words.
Georgia: Driven, creative, connector
MCBN: Do you host any other events throughout the year? After Littlegig caught our attention, we’d love to know if there is anything else.
Georgia: Not yet. For now the Stellenbosch festival is a full-time job. I also have 3 kids.
MCBN: You use the words: ‘A Festival World First’ with regard to your all-inclusive ticket price. Could you give our readers a little more perspective around this and why you do it? We’re absolutely thrilled by the idea and think a lot of other festivals could take your guidance on this.
Georgia: I wanted it to feel like a magical private party, where you don’ have to take out your wallet. Everything is provided in conscious abundance, and with the crowd that Littlegig attracts, this model hasn’t been abused. I can’t say other festival should follow suit as it isn’t necessary the most lucrative model. But for Littlegig for now it feels right.
MCBN: Lastly, what would you like to say to those who will be attending this year’s event?
Georgia: All the elements are there for a fun, inspiring 24-hour experience, but as with life, it’s your call how you respond to it. People who come with the attitude, ‘I am here now entertain me’ are never going to experience the full joy of Littlegig – or anything else for that matter!
And there you have it, straight from the mouth of the Fairy Godmother of this year’s most enchanting event, Georgia Black. I personally have never heard of anything like this and to be honest, I truly believe nothing else this year would be able to compare to the experience of Littlegig.