Die Koelkamers Classical Music Festival will take place from 23 to 26 September, 2021, in Paternoster. PETA STEWART finds out more.

It wasn’t luck that brought Jan Malan, and his partner Greg Meyer, to Paternoster to start a new classical music festival, it was providence.

“After searching up down the west and south coast for the ideal breakaway weekend home, I settled on Paternoster,” Jan says.

It was more than its beauty that attracted him – it’s close to Cape Town, has great restaurants, great art and is quiet enough to be a hideaway, a haven.

“Paternoster is unique. We love it and it is our intention to make it the arts centre of the West Coast,” he says.

For Jan, the idea of peace and quiet was compelling.

Jan Malan Die Koelkamers Classical Music Festival
Jan Malan

Productions in 38 cities

Over the years, Jan and Greg have staged productions in 38 cities on four continents – shows that include the New York Fashion Week, fashion shows with icons such as Grace Jones, with clients that range from Carolina Herrera,  Elton John, and Hugo Boss to Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, GUESS, Daniel Swarovski, the BBC, Elle MacPherson, L’Oréal and Mercedes-Benz.

Jan also established the Face of Africa Model Search in 1997, which changed the lives of many until it ended 13 years later. He has staged the international finals of Ford Models Supermodel of the World in Miami and the Dominican Republic, Miss South Africa for five years, also won a Gold Loerie, and produced the Hospice Wits Night with the Stars for six years.

“Greg and I decided to spend the first lockdown in Paternoster, and we turned our eyes to the local scene.

But the idea of peace and quiet was not to last very long, because while Covid cancelled many of the productions this busy producer was involved in, it also opened up a huge opportunity.

“With many frustrating, depressing days behind us and a golden opportunity ahead, we found we decided to stage events right here in Paternoster. We found the perfect venue and with the help of the Paternoster Crayfish Wharf we started Die Koelkamers,” he says.

“Three of the original cold rooms, the ‘Koelkamers’ that had been used to store crayfish, were refurbished into the theatres/creative space. We even kept the sponge panels on the walls which hugely assists the great acoustics. The name is in keeping with the heritage. The doors into the venue are original. We liked the name in Afrikaans because everyone thinks our venue is cool. And our artists are all ‘cool’ (LOL),” he adds. “At the moment we can take up to 100 people in the venue. The venue doubles as an Art Gallery with the work of artist Frinette Tolken currently on display. We have sold three paintings since her exhibition started in May, 2021. All the furniture and seating were sponsored by the community.”

Since they had already engaged with the local community and take note of their advice when it comes to curating exhibitions and events, this was real validation!

“We also arrange accommodation and help put the establishments on the map in our marketing campaigns,” Jan notes.

For Jan, Die Koelkamers is a #spaceforcreatives.

“We know that creatives are drawn to Paternoster. Take Kobus van der Merwe, whose Wolfgat Restaurant has had more than its share of international awards.”

Die Koelkamers Classical Music Festival will run from 23 – 26 September 2021, followed by a wide variety of other performers.

In this, the first classical music festival here, Jan decided to offer a wide variety of popular options. “I called on friends and favours and the result is a superb mix of music – from opera arias with Johan de Jager and Lynelle Kenned to songs with Neil Rademan, Minette du Toit Pierce and Stefan Lombard, to the Cape Town Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Wind Ensemble and a String Quartet of CP Youth Orchestra musicians. There are performances by the West Coast Youth Orchestra which will be a beneficiary of the closing gala.

The full Die Koelkamers Classical Music Festival programme can be found at www.diekoelkamers.com where bookings must also be made.

What: Die Koelkamers Classical Music Festival 2021
With: CPO ensembles, singers Neil Rademan, Minette du Toit Pearce, Lynelle Kenned, more
Die Koelkamers at Paternoster
23 – 26 September 2021
Koelkamers tickets: www.diekoelkamers.com
Info: janmalan@janmalan.com