- South Africa’s festive-season curfews mean that there will be no public midnight countdowns on New Year’s Eve.
- For those looking to dance the night away with other international partygoers, the world’s biggest musical festival has gone digital with tickets on sale for R358.
- Local livestream events include DJ Tira’s ‘Fact Durban Rocks’ and Karen Zoid’s six-hour NYE bash.
- But if you’re wanting to spend quality time with family and friends, hosting your own virtual party may still the best option.
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Counting down the final seconds of 2020 will lack the traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Strict curfews and restrictions on social gatherings will see most South Africans welcoming 2021 from the confines of their own homes, alone.
This somber situation, which serves to typify the year that’s been, can be made less melancholic by going online and partying with people from across the world.
Some of the world’s biggest festivals are hoping to forge a unique online experience to connect global citizens.
Fortunately for South African homebodies, the timing of some of these events align with the local countdown.
One of the world’s largest annual outdoor festivals, Tomorrowland, which was attended by over 400,000 partygoers in Belgium in 2019, has gone digital amid the pandemic with a special New Year’s Eve bash. With 25 artists, including Major Lazer, David Guetta, Diplo and Armin Van Buuren, spread across four digital stages, the online party is set to begin at 20:00 across 27 different time zones, ending at 03:00.
A ticket, which grants access to Tomorrowland’s digital viewing platform for the duration of the show, costs R358 (€20).
South Africans unwilling to spend money on a live-stream performance can tune into another global New Year’s Eve party called Rave to the Moon. The interactive event, which features British talent including DJ Yoda, Mr Scruff, Beardyman, and Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx, will kick off at 22:00 in South Africa. Although the livestream is free, viewers will need to register and are encouraged to donate to a charity of their choosing.
South Africans looking for a source of local entertainment have limited options, with the SABC’s annual real-time correspondence of international countdowns unlikely to present exciting scenes of the 2020-2021 crossover.
Local music producer, DJ Tira, will be taking the ‘Fact Durban Rocks’ event online, following the ban on all big public events. The party, which is usually attended by thousands of fans at People’s Park near Durban’s Suncoast Casino, will feature Babes Wodumo, Mampintsha, Shimza and DJ Tira amongst others in 2020.
Scheduled to start at 21:00 on 31 December and end at 03:00 on 1 January 2021, ‘Fact Durban Rocks’ will be livestreamed via Channel O (DStv channel 320).
Alternative Afrikaans sensation, Karen Zoid, will also be hosting a digital New Year’s Eve party. The six-hour long show, celebrity guest appearances, music and a countdown, will begin at 19:00 on 31 December 2020. Tickets for the livestream event cost R195.
South Africans looking for a more intimate experience, where friends and family from across the world can connect in welcoming 2021 can also host their own virtual New Year's Eve parties. Conferencing platforms, used to connect with work colleagues while working from home through 2020, can be adapted to party starters.
While platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts and Microsoft teams offer similar experiences, an application designed specifically for socially-distanced parties provides entertainment beyond group screen time. ‘Houseparty’, which boomed during the early stages of hard lockdown when social interactions were effectively prohibited, is looking to make a strong comeback as the preferred digital New Year's Eve tool for digital get-togethers.
The video-calling platform, which favours mobile use, allows eight people to join a party room. The number of rooms a user can join or create is limitless. ‘Houseparty’ offers a list of interactive activities, including Trivia and word-guessing game, Heads Up.
Houseparty is available on iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and as a Google Chrome extension.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)