It is ‘’sip sip’’ hooray in the Lowveld, from the much-anticipated Hall & Bramley Lowveld Gin
Fest to Picnic Sundays.

The Lowveld Gin Fest of 2020 promised to be the biggest one yet, with an already  established footprint in the Lowveld and surrounds. Unfortunately, Covid struck a mere few weeks before the festival and it had to be postponed. Cancelling was simply not an option,  as all the artists and stakeholders had already been paid and the advertising campaigns

Andries and Belinda Erasmus

Belinda Erasmus, founder and organiser of the Lowveld Gin Fest, took a leap of faith and didn’t ask the artists for a refund as she believed they all sat in the same boat, one no one had asked to be in. “My husband, Andries, who backed me from the start when it came to making the first gin festival a reality, owns a liquor store, and with his vast network of
supplier relationships, there was just no giving up,” smiles Belinda.

Luckily, a whole two years later, and with Hall & Bramley still being the title sponsor, the Lowveld Gin Fest was finally held once again! “And with Goodluck and Matthew Mole on the main stage, and over 20 craft gin distilleries participating, it was a winner. Most of our smaller distilleries decided to close their doors during the lockdown, but a few new ones emerged, and we were excited to see what they showcased on April 30,” she adds.

Picnic Sundays is another one of Belinda’s initiatives that promises to liven things up after a few years of being stuck indoors. “When the ban on public events was lifted, it opened new doors for us,” she says, “creating an opportunity to bring the community together every other Sunday to listen to live music in the Lowveld National Botanical Garden. The idea behind the Picnic Sundays is that families can enjoy an extraordinary day out in a beautiful environment, where it is affordable. The tickets are reasonably priced and by packing your own picnic basket, you save quite a lot. The only rule is that you must support the bar and no beverages are allowed in your basket, as KWV has come on board and made the whole series possible with a generous sponsorship.”

Belinda goes on to say that artists have been selected in such a way that everyone looks forward to the concerts, irrespective of age, language or ethnicity. “Riaan Benadé opened  the Picnic Sundays series with just over 800 Lowvelders in attendance,” she smiles, “and the children enjoyed it just as much as the adults, while singing along as if his songs were part of the national anthem,” She laughs, adding that Jeremy Loops will close it off on June 12.

These Sundays feature Spoegwolf, Rooksein, Demi Lee Moore, Janie Bay, Lucinda of Die Melktert Kommissie, Prime Circle and Jeremy Loops. Demi Lee Moore, Janie Bay and Lucinda performed at Arch & Arrow, a new venue in White River next to a pond underneath the pecan trees, on Mother’s Day, May 8. All the other events will take place in the botanical garden.

Sundays in the Lowveld have never been this much fun, and who knows what season two has planned for later on this year? All we know is that we cannot wait to enjoy a tipple or two in the Lowveld sunshine.

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