In recent years there has been a distinct decline not only in the number of live music venues but also in the use of existing venues throughout Joburg. Tanz Live (which closed up shop in Fourways and moved to Blackheath) comes to mind.
Rumours Lounge in the West Rand, however, seems to have had the opposite experience, emerging as a pack leader in the local music scene, picking up the slack that has developed either from lack of resources or lack of interest and stepping up to fill the position as the bar for live music in Joburg.
Between the three stages, the place sees around 250 bands a month filling out shows.
Rumours owner Fred Otto possesses a stalwart dedication to the promotion of South African musicians across a wide spectrum of genres and this has seen crowds from all walks of life flocking to their events in search of good music.
"We offer a platform for young bands to promote themselves," he says. "We provide top quality equipment, sound and sound engineers and put them all at the disposal of the musicians. All the money made at the door goes straight to the bands and we also help out with the marketing. There are a lot of musos out there and a lot of musos that need to be developed."
Each band is given a chance and helped to progress to the nights where they can play alongside headliners like The Plastics or Desmond & The Tutus, who perform on busier Fridays and Saturdays.
The venue itself is non-threatening. The absence of bouncers definitely helps to create a more relaxed atmosphere. Its an environment that's helped augment the popularity of Rumours, and a massive extension of the venue premises in May 2013 allowed for a much larger and more diverse crowd.
"We have a few international acts playing throughout the year," Otto says, looking to the future. "Comeback Kid, from Canada, will be here towards the end of January. We also just plan to improve the place slightly and we're looking at opening up a second venue, maybe in the East Rand."
What? Rumours Lounge
Where? Cornelius Street, Weltevreden Park, Johannesbur
Why? Because the West Rand isn't thaaat far away and why wouldn't you want to support local bands and businesses?
Photographs by: Yetunde Dada
by Martin Stokes