Skouspel – South Africa’s Biggest Annual Afrikaans Concert

December 23, 2004

This is the fourth year that Kurt du Preez and his company, Upstage, have managed the lighting and AV for Skouspel, a musical celebration of South Africa’s rich cultural make-up and highlight on the Afrikaans music calendar. Skouspel attracted more than 15,000 music lovers for a weekend of spectacular sound and light.

“As usual it was held at Sun City, and as always, it was a pleasure to do”, said Kurt. Having once been part of the Sun City technical team, he felt right at home working there. “Our ten-man team worked hand-in-glove with Sun City’s crew. We added our kit to their basic structure of rigging and parcans, and, as you can see from our equipment list; it was quite a lavish affair. Our comprehensive range of Martin moving lights gave us all the toys we needed to indulge our creative urges.”

Of the four performances, one was recorded for KykNet/M Net television. “The TV guys consulted with us regarding the lighting for that show, although the only real difference (between that performance and the other three) was that our 5Ks were up full and the house lights were up, for the cameras to capture audience reactions,” Kurt commented.

This year’s theme for Skouspel was religion and featured a line-up that included local talent such as Theuns Jordaan, Steve Hofmeyr, Coenie de Villiers, Africa Mammas and even the Anglo Gold choir. “We had an ever changing number of performers on stage, and different performance styles, which all had to be reflected in our lighting plot.”

“This beautiful piece of hardware, Maxxyz, had just arrived in the country, and we immediately pressed it into service,” said Kurt, who has a history of whisking equipment off the plane and onto the work circuit. “There is usually very little time for rehearsals, and it’s also a volatile phase in the production process,” he says. “One minute you’ll have Personality X scheduled to perform, then wham, that one’s pulled out and been replaced by Personality Y. When you’re dealing with so many performers, that kind of thing is bound to happen. Of course, the Maxxyz comes into its own at times like this – it makes plot changes so effortless. I almost looked forward to the last-minute revisions, as it confirmed the fact that we’ve made a good investment!”

Maxxyz was controlling a rig of MAC luminaires that included 8 MAC 550 profile spots, 12 MAC 2000 Profile, 12 MAC 2000 Wash and 12 MAC 300 washlights, as well as other automated lights and conventionals. Four Jem 24/7 Hazers kept the mid air lighting beams visible. Martin’s South African representative, Electrosonic, supplied all the Martin gear.

Kurt beams when he talks about the fun they had at Sun City. He also makes a point of praising Electrosonic’s Duncan Riley, “whose support we really couldn’t imagine doing without”. Anyone who saw the show could tell you that Skouspel was spectacular in all respects, and if you missed it, never mind, there’s always next year.“ The organisers have asked us back for Skouspel 2005, which will include two Cape Town shows,” says Kurt, “so we must be doing something right.” That’s what I call an Upstage understatement.