Rockstars on a Road Trip: A musical Journey through South Africa’s Soccer World Cup

“As our visitors started to arrive from around the world it soon become clear that quite by coincidence many of them were connected the music industry. You can read all about it here.”

“As our visitors started to arrive from around the world it soon become clear that quite by coincidence many of them were connected the music industry. You can read all about it here.”

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It’s been a busy time on two fronts for us at Travel Concepts this last month; our team have been both playing and working hard. Not only have we been embracing and enjoying the occasion and attending the soccer matches ourselves, but of course most importantly we have been looking after our international guests who booked their World Cup travels with us.

As our visitors started to arrive from around the world it soon become clear that quite by coincidence many of them were connected the music industry.

Take ex rock star, turned recording studio boss and keen photographer Tim Speed from Liverpool in the UK. Tim was originally a member of successful 1990’s band River City People and he arrived with three friends from England after giving us a brief of “watching all the England games and seeing some of the real South Africa”.

Nigel Le Quesne, Group Managing Director of Jersey Trust in the Channel Islands arrived with fellow director Steve Burnett and two friends also to watch England. Nigel’s PA had previously let it slip that he was part of the team who adapted and produced the lyrics for the unofficial England world cup anthem, “Shout” sung by Dizzee Rascal, a song that was hitting the charts in the UK. We thought we might be dealing with a demanding music celebrity but nothing could be further from the truth. Like Tim, Nigel and his colleagues were football fanatics but also wanted to experience the country’s great restaurants, taste some of our wine and play some golf.

Finally we assisted the ex lead guitarist and mastermind behind Viper, Brazils most famous and best selling heavy rock band of all time, whose claim to fame had been opening for Kiss in front of 100,000 people in Rio. Slightly more mature these days Felipe Machado now works in the media and was here covering the World Cup with a journalist colleague and also writing his own successful blog “Bacana Bacana”.

As the dust now settles on a hugely successful tournament and a Spanish victory in the final, we asked all three of our musical guests to reflect on their experiences and memories of their first time in South Africa.

Says Tim: I was blown away by South Africa and really surprised how different it was to the perceptions I had created in my own mind. I arrived with a degree of caution but my experiences have just been amazing and I return home a total convert to this wonderful country.”

It was great advice from Travel Concepts to base ourselves in Cape Town, but undoubtedly the highlight of our stay was the three day road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back to watch England play Slovenia.

Two 4x4s, six guys, three days, a total of 1600 kilometers and over 18 hours in the car it was great way to experience the country, drive the famous Garden Route and see some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery.

Along the way we tasted wine, watched whales, saw the highest bungee in the world and played with Baboons. We also enjoyed towns like Knysna and Plettenberg Bay where we stayed and had a great evening watching Bafana Bafana with the locals. I can’t wait to come back to see more.”

Nigel and his friends decided to take the aerial route across the country watching the England games in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. They also played golf at Sun City and in Cape Town, did a safari in the Pilansberg Game Reserve and ate and drank on numerous wine estates in the Winelands.

Says Nigel: “South Africa was much more first world than I thought. The whole infrastructure was excellent, the new stadiums out of this world and it really felt like a country on the move. What really stood out for me was the quality and value of the restaurants and the wine, I ate some of the best and most innovative food ever and the beauty of the Winelands is staggering. South Africa hasn’t seen the last of me.

The less said about the football the better, but off the pitch, the setting, the vibe and the atmosphere made this the best World Cup I have been to. South Africa and its people put on a great show”.

Felipe based himself for most of the time in Johannesburg to be close to the Brazil squad, but he did spend a few days with us in Cape Town to watch Portugal beat North Korea 7-0, visit Robben Island and do a personalized wine tour.

Reflects Felipe: For me what has made the time so special has been the people of South Africa. They have totally embraced the occasion, created a great vibe and have gone out of their way to welcome foreigners to the World Cup. They are proud to be hosting such an event and have created such a special environment and atmosphere. When you see the poverty that some of these people live in it makes their effort extra special. I am going home with some great memories and can’t wait for the next World Cup in my own country.”

Whilst they were all in Cape Town we brought our three musical clients and their friends together for a Travel Concepts dinner at Beluga’s restaurant. We half thought it might facilitate the formation of a new “Rock Super Group” or at least an impromptu jamming session, but the wine and conversation was flowing too freely. However as the word spread, we did manage at one point to get the whole restaurant on their feet singing Shout, Shout, let it all Out!

Unfortunately the World Cup party is now over and as we slowly get back to reality, one thing is for sure though, that over the last month South Africa has made some sweet, sweet music of its own.