All images by Julian Carelson Photography
South Africa’s largest Craftbeer festival touched down on Durban soil once again this past weekend. And with it, it brought some amazing times. Last years SAONTAP was held on International Beer Day. Quite fitting if you ask me. We were blessed with blue skies, warm weather and a great turn out. This year the tickets were sold out before the event day, had even kicked off.
The scale of the festival has grown dramatically, easily estimating it to have tripled in size this year. By early afternoon there were more people buzzing around, trying different crafts, swaying to the bands and generally having a good time than I saw at the peak of last years event. The Craftbeer industry is HUGE in Southern Africa. I can’t help but share what went down in my home city of Durban, this year.
This years festival was hosted at the Moses Mabhida Stadium , People’s Park. A slight jump over from last years venue, and just as well. This space was the perfect size to comfortably host all the new visitors or as the team from Standeaven Brewery would say, “The Repeat Offenders”.
Despite the mass of people and vendors I have to state that I was very impressed with the traffic flow on the ground.
Possibly its only me that noticed this, being a qualified event manager, never quite leaves you. While lines were long at most of the stands, they were continuously moving. Everyone was in a great mood and most people didn’t even mind the wait as they made new beer friends in the line.
Security were visible but not once did I see them have to reprimand anyone. Everyone was there to have a good time and nothing else.
So with the craft cold, the food warm and Jaryd Smith lightning up the stage all was a GO!
I was pleased to see who I shall now refer to as “The Usual Suspects”. The folks from Robsons Real Beer were front and center at the entrance of this years festival and if that doesn’t give you an idea of what an amazing time you were about to have, then nothing would. The “forever famous” Hammer of Thor lasted about 20 minutes as can only be expected. There is no vehicle large enough on earth to cart enough Hammer of Thor to any event, no matter how hard you try. Craftbeer enthusiasts and durbanites alike are drawn to its ways, like vampire to humans.
Great to see the Robsons team in action again, as they are one of the few Craft Breweries based in Kwa Zulu Natal.
Festival goers brought picnic blankets to sit on, there were tables and pallet boxes to sit around, and even shaded areas provided by the event organizers. Everywhere you looked people were either pouring, drinking,laughing, walking or catching up on their tan!
Durban had some pretty dark weather a week before the event and the SAONTAP was perfectly timed to capture what this city is famed for. We are the Summer city. By looking at these images, you wouldn’t believe me, if I told you we are in Winter currently, would you? Oh but it is….
Other stern South African favorites, were flaring their amazing colors at this years SAonTAP.
Sxollie, you sexy sexy thangs! Oh my. My love for the team at Sxollie is a little overwhelming. I love my Craftbeer let’s not take anything away from that fact. However. There is nothing better than a hot summers day by the pool with an ice cold Sxollie. There is nothing more crisp and refreshing than this here Cider folks. Go on, try it! Let me know when you’ll be investing in shares. Also,”Dear Sxollie when can Cee become a Brand Ambassador?” Just putting it out there.
Anything but “mainstream” the folks from Mainstream Brewing Company were serving up their famous Altbier, a dark ale with a slightly toasted flair. From down the South Coast Basset Breweries gave us a taste of their seriously smokey ale. It’s a 3 step programme I was informed, by the 3rd sip you’re wondering where your next one is? Good ale then.
Speaking of having a good time, there were various games to be played at this years SAONTAP. Including human sized Jenga (that was never going to end well), Bean Bag Toss, and of course what would a Craftbeer festival be without Beer Pong?
Now, while drinking endless craft-beer and playing beer pong all day, is a lifestyle we’d all like to lead, one does need to stop, relax and eat along the way. Luckily for festival attendees, various food stalls lined the festival grounds. With local Durban eateries like, Afro’s Chicken, Maddison Bakery and Republik on board there was not one craving that went unsatisfied.
And whats a rocking festival without a rocking crowd? Durban really turned up for this years SAonTAP. People came from far and wide to celebrate Craftbeer and good music. There was singing, dancing and a lot of laughing. Under the sun we sat, jamming away to new hits, old hits and all the ones in between. Even enjoying a very random dance by a rather familair (Robsons) Gorilla……..
Even spotting local singer Chico Muyo at this years SAonTAP.
Leaving the SAonTAP each year is always a challenging thing. No not because your “one friend” consumed ALL the craft-beer, but rather because there is so much to do and see and taste. The atmosphere is fun, free and open, you make friends for life watching your favorite band or standing in line and discussing your favorite craft.
Each year, your glass proudly sits on its shelf looking at you. Waiting, counting down the days with you until SAonTAP rolls around again.
Thank you to all the event organizers and staff involved in creating this amazing setup in Durban. Thank you for keeping Durban a part of this national and celebratory event. Not only has this grown but hopefully this sets the path for more annual events to take part in our city.
Thank you to ALL the craft brewers who traveled, brewed ad generally hung out with us all day. You kept us refreshed, educated us in the master of art of brewing and you have encouraged people to be more entrepreneurial, hey who doesn’t want to make their own beer?
You all know, Cee will be back next year, and who know’s maybe I too will be rocking a gorilla suit 🙂
If you know of any hot and happening events, drop me a line below in the contact box. Or if you want to chat, I like that too.
If you’d like to find any information on the SAonTAP simply visit www.saontap.co.za
And As Always….
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