Four Winds, 50 years on

Four Winds Music Club celebrates long history of music-making

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“I loved it, man,” says long-time folk club member Don Lindheim while reminiscing about the old days of the Four Winds Folk Club in the 1970s.
Fifty years since its inception as the first of its kind in South Africa, the renamed Four Winds Music Club will celebrate its anniversary with a two-day Mannville Music Festival at St George’s Park next Friday and Saturday March 22 and 23.
“I used to hitch out there every week from Walmer. “They had wood stoves and hay bales, and the music was always excellent,” Lindheim said.
The club held workshops at “Summies” – the old Summerstrand Hotel – where musicians met to learn from older players and other artists who were passing through Port Elizabeth.
The Four Winds Folk Club was founded in 1969 in the form of a gathering of like- minded music lovers held every weekend.
“It was more like a community than a club. It was a meeting place for alternatively minded people, and in those days there were lots of them in PE, especially in Central,” musician and sound engineer David Marx says.
Marx is a long-time campaigner for, and commentator of, original South African music and now runs the Third Ear Music Archive in Durban.
“Guys like David Kramer, Johnny Clegg, Lesley Rae Dowling all passed through here at various points in the ‘70s. “Some, like Tony Bird, ended up staying months, but some were also scared to come here at first because it was a large, attentive audience [which] could be nerve-wracking to play sometimes,” he says.
The club has since evolved from being a folk club to become more inclusive of other genres and a wider audience, hence the name change to Four Winds Music Club.
The Manville Music Festival is almost as old as the club. Held in annual series from the 1970s, the festival was paused at the end of the 2003 series due to a decline in the popularity of folk music.
It was held again in 2010 and 2011, and only revived in 2018 at the Mannnville Open Air Theatre at St George’s Park.
“From 2011 we didn’t really have the right infrastructure and the club had got a bit quiet at the time, but now that we are back on full steam with a full committee it feels more possible to do another festival,” Four Winds Music Club president Alasdair Gillies said.
The 2019 festival, powered by Four Winds and Lee Gold Music, boasts an excellent lineup of musicians who have had strong ties to the club over many years. They include headliners Dave Goldblum, Steve Newman, Brad Saunders, Anton Calitz, Kevin Abraham, Marc Mayngard from St Francis and Ed Johnson from the East London Folk Club.
They will be supported by local acts Dorien Du Toit, Udaka, The Wondering Watsons from J-Bay, Zambuktoo, The Folk Collective and others.
There will be food trucks on site, Micoffee will be there to provide the caffeine buzz and Manna Delights will be serving up cupcakes and sweet treats. Picnic baskets are welcome.
The festival will run from 6pm to 10pm on Friday and 3pm to 10pm on Saturday.
Day pass tickets cost R100 and weekend passes are R150, available at Quicket, Lee Gold Music and at the door on both days.
The Four Winds Music Club holds acoustic evenings every second Wednesday at the Music Kitchen in Mangold Street, Newton Park to provide a platform for local musicians. Shows run from 7.30pm to 10.30pm at a charged of R20 per person at the door.

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