Hesitation is what first sprung to mind when a friend quipped: “Louie Vega live at Orlando Stadium, let’s!” My response, nothing short of a succinct snub: “Orlando at night? Never!” In the end house music won as my incurable FOMO got the better of me! Louie Vega, Tira, Liquid Deep, Vinny Da Vinci etc all under one roof. How could I possibly not be there to witness such artistry? That was enough to have me drop my uninformed pessimism and get my All Stars on for heavy-duty dancing.

Louie Vega

Orlando, Soweto: a place with so much history… and on this particular day (1 April) more history was to be scripted and contained in the lived memories of those attending the Vodacom Unlimited Festival concert. The world-class Orlando Stadium played stage to perhaps the most illustrious DJ lineup, certainly of the ones I have been privy to. The lineup, a treat for the house lovers, featured heavyweights both international and local such as Grammy Award-winning Dj Louie Vega, spinner Black Coffee and the quirky Dj strat3gy.


Some would have thought Vodacom were en route to pulling off the biggest April Fools’ stunt as they had announced that the Unlimited Festival was to be hosted in the heart of kasi, but perhaps it was a fitting space to celebrate Vodacom’s transformation with their new rebranded image. After successfully hosting the World Cup opening concert, who would dare doubt the experience Soweto had in store. One word: epic!

Stadium gates opened at 2 pm with Dj Strat3gy (undoubtedly one of my favourite DJs) kicking off the concert at 2:30 pm. A few loyal folk were already chugging beer and tweeting proceedings at the stadium come 3 pm. From the blue collars to the white collars to the kids of refuse to wear collars, people headed to the stadium after downing tools and shutting down their computers.  Friday traffic on the M1 South, en route to Orlando, proved unbearable.  As we drove into Diepkloof, meandering our way through the energy that is Soweto on a Friday evening, blaring music from parked cars got everyone fuelled for what was billed as “the hottest party this side of winter!”

DJ Strat3gy

I arrive to a hive of activity and congested roads. I am beyond late, but then I think: “Who arrives early for a concert?” It’s a mission to get in firstly and the entry points: poorly demarcated. My first priority is to get a drink, yet the bar area is almost near impossible to manoeuvre within 10 metres of.

The stage itself looked amazing, but I opted to remain on the periphery to have plenty of breathing space. Liquid Deep was the next act, we were just in time to catch them live. But regrettably I have to say… their music sounds great pre-recorded but lacks something live. The vocals were scratchy and the crowd seemed a bit disappointed. I danced anyway.

By then it was time to replenish drinks, but there were murmurs that the bar was closed or sold out. In the distance, security personnel unleashed teargas on some unruly folk and I took that as my cue to leave.

Short lived as it were, the Vodacom Unlimited Festival had the makings of a really special affair, but just didn’t live up to expectations. Pity that an exceptional DJ lineup was overshadowed by bad event management or the lack thereof. One cardinal sin of hosting an event is not having enough booze to sustain the party-goer; regardless of who you have, a party-goer without a drink is not a happy camper.