Get In Touch With Your Inner Hippy At Klitsgras

Get In Touch With Your Inner Hippy At Klitsgras
In the quarter century I've jolled in Jozi, I've seen many "cool" venues - the ones where artists, students, musos and the like go to - crop up, fade and close their doors. Klitsgras, on the other hand, has not only kept going since 1999, it has positively flourished: every time I go there I'm blown away by the new additions. 

There an amphitheatre for drumming, a lapa for live music, a shop for music equipment, a fully stocked bar, an outside chill area and a pizza oven. And, naturally, all of it is done out in the funkiest décor. 

These add-ons are part of a five-year plan, which has now almost come to fruition, says Klitsgras owner and manager Andries Bruyns. He grew up on the quaint, Cape Dutch smallholding located on the Garsfontein Road, southeast of Pretoria. 

"I always wanted to have an underground club - I used to be into rock back in those days - then the drum circles started here, and three years later, it became a business."

Klitsgras events, which feature acts like Black Cat Bones, Them Particles, Strings and Skins and Laurie Levine these days, are always held on fortnightly Friday nights (the great thing about the gigs is that you can watch the bands in the lapa OR go drum in the amphitheatre). 

"It was a complete fluke - the first event was on a full moon that happened to be on a Friday night - but it's worked out really well, because I often do gigs on Saturdays," says Andries, who also does corporate drumming events, makes musical instruments and happens to be one of the country's hottest didgeridoo players.

Andries swears that it was playing the didj that helped his lungs recover after he sustained serious burns from a veld fire that swept across the farm. His positive philosophy of "discover your dreams, and live them" is what helped him get back on his feet and build a venue that seems to keep attracting droves of drumming diehards. "Klitsgras" means "blackjacks" and he reckons that once you have tasted djembe drumming, it sticks to you like a burr. 

Chilling Sundays, held on the first Sunday of each month, are more family oriented than the Friday night gigs but also feature live, acoustic acts. Those attending can sun themselves on the grass outside, watch music, ride horses, browse stalls and eat. 

Klitgras is an easy one-hour drive for Joburg folk: just ensure you leave after rush hour. You can find directions and loads of info about the venue on their colourful website

Where? 62 Garsfontein Road, Pretoria East

Tel: 083 311 0025 (Andries) 

by Derek Davey
Klitsgras means blackjack because once you go, it'll stick to you like a burr. Go drum your heart out at this venue that's still stuck in the '90s.