Weekend Getaway: Fine Art, Food and Music at Solo Studios Intimate Art Encounters in Riebeek Valley

Solo Studios

The 2023 edition of Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters returns to the Riebeek Valley in August and promises to be another highlight on the Cape’s cultural calendar.  

‘Prepare to be lured away from your planned art route by the aromas wafting from a coffee shop, by the scent of essential oils from the locally produced botanical range or by a tantalising wine tasting at some of the most acclaimed Swartland wine producers,’ says Klaus Piprek, co-founder and director of Solo Studios.

Riebeek Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and other cultural centres such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek – perfect for a memorable weekend getaway.

‘The best way to fully appreciate what we have to offer is to make a whole weekend of it,’ says Piprek. ‘There’s simply not enough time in one day to fully absorb all that Solo Studios and the valley have to offer.’

Solo Studios

An intimate glimpse into Riebeek-Valley’s art community

Expect seventeen artists to unveil their studio space to the public over the weekend of 18 to 20 August, with seven of these artists having invited external collaborators to co-exhibit in their personal spaces. 

A further seven group exhibitions are held at various galleries and venues, including two private art collections in exclusive guest houses. Spending time in the intimate spaces of the artists’ studios will offer pass-holders an insight into their processes and inspiration.

‘We don’t merely sell art at Solo Studios. We sell an experience,’ says Piprek. ‘These experiences go further than the visual arts. Apart from the art exhibitions, there is so much more to enjoy in what has become known as Arts Town Riebeek Valley, encompassing the twin towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West.’

Studio visits to diarise include Tamlin Blake with the Keiskamma Art Project, Riaan van Zyl’s mod quirky workspace, acclaimed artist Emma Willemse, Andries Dirks (with Arno Morland) and thirteen more artists. For the complete list of open studios, see here.

Another popular attraction at the event is the guided walks in the town area where a seasoned resident educates guests on the matters of the land or the art that is spread out in it.

Solo Studios

Global flavours and local wine with The Night of the Long Tables concept events

Solo Studios revamped their Night of the Long Tables communal dinner concept, and this year’s offers a taste journey from the Cape and beyond.

‘In addition to the visual arts, visitors can expect a host of venues offering food experiences and wine tastings. Entertainers will flow onto the streets and pavements and creative community development projects will be showcased in plentiful fringe activities. Add to that the richness of local flavour from wine and olive producers, the abundance of restaurants, the village bakery and the profusion of craft and artisanal outlets,’ explains Shawn Hewitt, project manager for this year’s event.

Aardvark’s three-course dinner is anchored in coastal cuisine from the Cape to the Wild Coast and Natal Coast. For a wholesome dining experience anchored in contemporary fare, Kokos Huis presents a 3-course feast with uniquely bottled wines from Intellego. 

The Royal Hotel is doing a deep dive into Indonesian flavours with their Kamar Biru concept where fifteen freshly made rice dishes are served in three parts. 

Learn how to prepare a range of Asian-inspired dishes with Olive & Vine’s relaxed interactive cooking experience. The session runs for 3 hours and no previous experience is needed to take part.

Join The Valley Deli for a Portuguese 4-course dinner experience paired with award-winning wines from Allesverloren.

Solo Studios

A unique symphonic concert not to be missed at this year’s Solo Studios

Solo Studios is adding a new experience to their weekend art programme this year. Solo Symphony is the final experience of the festival and takes place in the historic Dutch Reformed Church in Riebeek Kasteel on 20 August. 

The concert is the first-ever collaboration between one of the country’s oldest orchestras, Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and local Riebeek Valley Steelband. Guests can look forward to newly commissioned music that moves away from the notion that classical music is stiff and formal.

Kristi Boonzaaier composed the works from scratch as well as arrangements or adaptations that the steel band has previously performed. Steelband a community project led by David Wickham has become an institution in Riebeek Valley and beyond over the last 25 years for performing at events.

The current orchestra is already the fourth ‘version’ and over the years, more than 100 young children, particularly from disadvantaged communities, have expressed their musical talent through this orchestra. Meanwhile, the demand for steel bands in the valley is increasing, and there are already three more steel bands under Wickham’s leadership.

At Solo Symphony, guests can look forward to works that align with the theme of visual arts, such as the Russian Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. There is also the brilliant Frenchman Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre with a violin solo by Eriel Huang to round out the Solo Studios programme.

Cost: There is a variety of options for passes, from a Day Pass at R150pp to a Premier Weekend Pass at R395pp. Peripheral activities may incur a surcharge. Book online

When: Running from 18 to 20 August 2023. Various timeslots, see here for the full programme
Where: Various venues, Riebeek-Kasteel

Tel: 074 209 6838
Email: klaus@solostudios.co.za
Instagram: @solostudiosrk
Facebook: @solostudiosriebeekvalley

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