If you didn’t know already, Mike Kennedy is one of Cape Town’s most revered entertainment masterminds… If you’ve ever partied on a train, jammed hard at the Beach Bar at 49m Rocking the Daisies or wound up on the dancefloor with a pretty young thing at Chukkachurri on a Friday night, it’s probably because of this man. He delivers the goods every time, purely for the love of it. one small seed got hold of Mike to chat about some of his projects, what inspires and defines him and the set of tickets he has to give away to his next endeavour featuring the ever-fascinating Bruno Pronsato…
Can we begin by you telling us who you are
Michael Kennedy (moniker One Track Mike) is my name and I am defined externally by those who have an opinion. Personally I define myself by the company I keep and the choices I make.
What made you want to go into events planning? You studied graphics at Tech, why didn’t you just become a graphic designer?
After my studies I left SA and lost myself in the free-thinking spirit of the UK party culture, bought a set of turntables and a Mackie PA system and naturally gravitated toward providing a platform for the music I so enjoyed. I never quite possessed the passion for a canvas as I do for my music or the hospitality industry, but my years in art school certainly honed my creative edge, which I utilize frequently within the events. Plus I do not take orders well, so working alone seemed the likely option.
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to deal with on the way up the ladder to success?
I am probably my biggest critic as I am seldom satisfied. Attention to detail and a touch of OCD makes my job that much harder and possibly restricts me from working with others. It goes without saying that to make it in the music industry is no easy feat and I’ve been determined enough to push on through after many, many disappointing turnouts at events, financial loss and spent energy – and largely without the help of sponsors. Pushing boundaries in Durban certainly tested my spirit to continue, and then the moment that both defeated and re-directed me – I was minutes away from signing with an investor to fund my dream venue, and then it fell through by the actions of my own hand (a long story, but one which saw my departure from Durban to the hilltops of Peru in search of a shaman and revised headspace to return to live in Cape Town). Having said that I feel I am only just on the cusp of realizing the ‘success’ you talk of. There is a lot to learn …
What would you say is the most important thing when it comes to working in your industry?
Infrastructure is key. A great product is one thing, but more important is getting everybody to know about it. Be passionate and aware of your intention in getting into this industry – don’t do it because it’s considered cool and/or you have some money to throw a party.
What inspired you to start creating unique party experiences? What is the main thing you would like to achieve?
My very first party was on a hilltop in Brighton (UK), and we carried my speakers further than any man should to make it happen. Following that were many events (including a party on a small island in the Cederberg Mountains / a festival in the Midlands / warehouses / badminton courts / theatres / harbours etc) which required a lot of effort to facilitate. The result of which are memories of an event that makes a typical club night pale in comparison. It’s difficult to create awareness for each and every new event you do – especially when the location keeps changing – but when you do you will have something ‘unique’.
How do you feel about Cape Town and South Africa’s growing electro and techno scene? What do you foresee in the future…?
I think South Africa is touched with a bit of magic, and Cape Town in particular already being one of the world’s greatest party destinations.
Unlike Europe or other confirmed party destinations in the world, we are hungry and it is palpable in the crowd – as confirmed by many of the producers hosted here.
It’s a natural dynamic which really works to our advantage and helps in attracting the bigger names we wish to see visit here. However the disadvantage of a scene that is as ‘hungry’ and small as it is – saturation !! Promoters and DJ’s really have to be on top of their game to maintain their identity within this craft which is so easily and often imitated.
Tell us a bit about each of your endeavours: The Beach Bar, The Train, The Make Believe Parties…
The Beach Bar – after attending my very first RTD Festival, I established a relationship with the owners of the festival and appealed to them to work with me on my vision of creating an outdoor scene for house and techno music. Three years later (and two years of the Beach Bar) and we have created this animal which has been the platform to provide the impetus for the outdoor events soon to come.
The Make-Believe Train – this is one solid concept event which cannot be imitated.
Essentially two events in one day (the train and the destination location) with limited tickets available. What really makes this event concept special is the nature of travel – in particular that all guests depart and return at the same time. Generic events only get going once the dance floor fills up – which is not the case here. Logistically, a difficult one to have run smoothly, but not as taxing in terms of production.
How do you feel about the upcoming event with Bruno Pronsato? What can we expect the night to bring us?
WOW – Bruno Pronsato LIVE !! We are so worthy… This event should be the zenith of Make-Believe production for 2012, in terms of the featured artist, location and production.
This is one pedigreed producer that truly has a sound of his own, and he will be performing LIVE (no that doesn’t mean he is playing or looping his own tracks through a laptop, it means he is composing the music on the fly).
To support this amazing producer with an amazing event I have extended certain areas of production to create a space that is visually as stimulating as it should be audibly. It is, after all a train station, so expect to travel – within your mind >>> a 12KW D&B quality sound-system provided by Kilowatt / video-mapping by Afterlife / lighting & décor by Make-Believe.
What does music mean to you?
My purpose, to create.
Any other future projects after this weekends party you can fill us in on…?
Most note-worthy – SHIFT OUTDOOR ELECTRONIC MUSIC MOVEMENT on the 26th January 2013. Make-Believe & Get Fact (pioneer brand/new name) will join forces to bring together the creative energies of our ‘family’ in creating an outdoor party that will change the face of CT’s outdoor party scene. This will be a massive light-bulb moment for many of those who have enjoyed the outdoors thus far. And NO UNDER 23’s at all Make-Believe events … a sophisticated taste for a sophisticated crowd.
Interview by David and Shiba
We have one set of double tickets to give away to the CT performance, here’s how you can win:
The winners will be announced Thursday 01 November at 10h00. Stay tuned! Good luck
Click here to read an interview with Bruno Pronsato on his visit to South Africa