Cape Town gears up for Loerie Awards 2009!

Posted: September 21, 2009 in Investigative articles
Tags: ,

By Astrid Stark

First published in The Event , September 2009

The 31st Annual Loerie Awards weekend is upon us and it is not without a flurry of controversy over the choice of venue.   It is the first time in more than two decades that the event will be held in a major city.  The awards evening and party locations will be spread out between the Good Hope Centre, Long Street, and Camps Bay. Cynics are saying the small village intimacy of Margate will be lost. The Good Hope Centre, where the two main award ceremonies will be held, has been in the news because of structural damages in need of repair.  Some say it will be too cold in Cape Town in September, and others – that it will be too windy.

The South African Cheerleading Squad at the 2008 Loeries

The South African Cheerleading Squad at the 2008 Loeries

Andrew Human, CEO of the Loerie Awards, explains that there are very logical and practical reasons behind their choice of location.  “The Loerie weekend has grown substantially,” Says Human, “In 2004, when it was held at Sun City, we had 400 guests at the first night’s ceremony. During the last few Loerie weekends, the Margate ceremonial nights which can host 2100 guests per night, were always sold out.”

To accommodate such a large audience Human and his team used the Tensile 1 tent from Gearhouse, which is the largest portable event venue of its kind in the world.  However, Human says the Tensile 1 has been sold and it is therefore no longer available to them. “Technically we also could not fit more seats into the temporary venue,” Says Human.  He goes on to say that since the new Durban airport will be situated farther north, Margate will be more difficult to get to.   With all these factors in mind, the organisers decided to put the pitch for a suitable location and venue out to Cape Town, Margate, Johannesburg and Sun City.

Where others find flaws; Human and his team see opportunity.  “Few people look at the Good Hope Centre from a technical viewpoint,” Says Human, “The Good Hope has been built with staging in mind, it has an enormous drive-in basement, so you can simply truck in all your equipment, and it has ample floor and storage areas. The auditorium is a great amphitheatre and we have gone up to 2500 seats per night, increasing seating by 20%, for the awards ceremony.”  Human confirms that the Good Hope’s roof is currently being repaired and that they are confident that repairs will be completed on time.   “The Good Hope has a lot of character,” He says, “It is the kind of venue that you can own.  We are planning on having a lot of fun with it.”

The organisers are taking full advantage of Heritage Day to extend the Loeries into a long festive weekend.  There will be a VIP reception, The Battle of the Bands, and the chairperson’s party on Thursday 24 September.  Friday night’s awards are for communication design, print media and student awards. 

The electronic awards (radio, TV, digital and online advertising), as well as live events, mixed-media and integrated campaigns will be hosted on Saturday evening; and tickets are already sold out for this event.  The Velocity Films party will be at Camps Bay on Friday. Most of the venues in Camps Bay have been booked out for the Loerie day time delegates.

After parties will be held in Long Street; of which certain areas will only be accessible to pass holders.   Human confirms that the party area will include Long Street Cafe and other venues within its close proximity. He has revealed that Goldfish will be part of the line-up of top DJ’s and bands, but he is keeping mum on the rest of the entertainment, saying only that they have a few surprises up their sleeves. 

With the venues spread out as far as Camps Bay, how will the organisers transport rowdy revellers and ensure that everyone gets around timeously and safely? “We have 24 hour shuttle services that will provide transport between the Good Hope, Long Street and Camps Bay,” Says Human, “We also have a park-and-drive facility and an agreement with Tempest that will that will offer discounted taxi fares to Loerie festival goers.” 

Human and his team have also arranged for discounted Mango flights and Long Street will be transformed into the Loerie Village where Global Conferences is assisting with accommodation in the village.   Accommodation specials will be available; from the backpackers to the Sugar Daddy Hotel suite.

Human says they are working closely with the City, Cape Town Tourism and the Cape Town Partners ship, “Policing and security are part of the event management,” He says, “There will be special inner city policing over the weekend; especially at our venues and the area blocked off in Long Street.”

Andrew Human, CEO Loeries

Andrew Human, CEO Loeries

Andrew Shelly of the event agency, H-Factor, is looking forward to the move from a temporary venue to the Good Hope Centre.   It’s the fourth year that H-Factor is handling the Loerie event management.   Shelly says it usually takes them nearly 30 days to build and set up the tent in Margate.  With the permanent venue a lot of time and money will be saved. “It is physically easier,” Says Shelly, “And there are fewer risks. It’s like the difference between camping and a hotel.”

However Shelly says that there are always challenges to coming into a new, and bigger, city. “Expectations are very high this year,” He says, “In a small, sleepy village like Margate the expectations were never very high.  It was easy to move people around in Margate. In Cape Town we will have to put signage everywhere because of the distance between locations.” He goes on to say that they will be handing out maps to the festival goers and that there will be around 40 shuttle busses available.

Shelly says that no less than 275 square meter of screen will be used during the weekend and that he is looking forward to the largest seated award show in the country. “We have done our research and we trust it will all go very well.”

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