Durban - The annual Vodacom Durban July has transformed from being the must-go-to entertainment event to an extraordinary networking opportunity for patrons.
However, this opportunity doesn’t come cheap. One has to cough up thousands of rands to be on the exclusive VIP guest lists in the marquee village. Marquee village coordinator Edwina Brown told City Press this week that for most people this event has become a business-and-pleasure occasion. “It is not just one of the country’s biggest horse racing events with at least 55 000 guests,” she said.
This year, more than 30 marquees will be constructed on the racecourse’s sprawling lawns, with each promising a unique experience.
At this year’s event, which is themed The Colour of Magic, Umlazi township’s famous shisa nyama, Eyadini lounge, and Gagasi FM will also have their own marquees.
(Opulent Chaise Lounge in 2016. Photo: Supplied)
City Press spoke to some organisers.
- Mabala Noise Entertainment’s marquee is one of the most talked about and will be hosted by businessman and ANC Youth League treasurer Reggie Nkabinde.
It is an exclusive invite-only marquee catering for celebrities and socialites. A pre-launch concert will be held at the Greyville Racecourse on the eve of the race on Friday. On Saturday guests will rub shoulders with international stars Robin Thicke and French Montana. Popular Nigerian artist Reekado Banks is also expected to be in the crowd. Last year President Jacob Zuma made a brief appearance at this marquee.
- Chaise Lounge is deemed one of the most luxurious venues in the village and boasts VVIP hospitality status. It is housed in an air-conditioned glass double-decker marquee with front row private viewing. The premium experience comes with a complimentary bar, a mouth-watering gourmet food selection, Mangwanani spa, make-up room and private betting facilities.
Guests will be served French champagne Moet and Ciroc Vodka. There will also be a Nescafe cocktail bar. Their celebrity guests list includes Somizi Mhlongo, Johanna Mukoki, Thando Thabethe and Rapulana Seiphemo. DJs on the line-up will include Major League, DJ Siyanda, DJ Chynaman, Vetkuk vs Mahoota and others. Last year, big names who graced this lounge included Deputy Minister Bheki Cele and Minister Fikile Mbalula.
- Jack Daniel’s BoomTown marquee targets hip-hop lovers and whisky drinkers.
It promises visitors an alternative Tennessee experience with American Southern food and pop-up barber stations and a make-up station.
Gracing Uncle Jack’s stage this year will be Mafikizolo, AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Riky Rick, Nasty C, Black Motion, Shekinah, DJ Fresh, DJ Shimza, Glen Lewis and more. The marquee offers VIP, VVIP and The Platinum Tower hospitality.
- Afrotainment is also on the popular list. But what sets this marquee apart is its massive annual after party, Fact Durban Rocks, at Moses Mabhida Stadium. However, your marquee ticket does not get you entry to the party.
Visit computicket.com for all tickets.