DJ CULTURE Damian Woolward in his element producing some tunes. Photo: Chad Swart and Nicholas Farmer

Students DJ’s keep spinning the decks

By Emma Hamman

The well-known and loved practice of DJing is once again making waves on the social scenes of Stellenbosch. With so many local disc jockeys (DJs), good quality music for all tastes is just around the corner. As student DJ Damian Woolward described it, “The Stellenbosch music scene is based on culture. If you’re into house or techno music, Fool’s Gold [Social Bar] would be the place to play, but for more mainstream music, such as sing-alongs and golden oldies, Centraal, De Lapa, Dorp Bar or Penthouse would be more your scene.” 

For these DJs, music is not only their lifestyle, but their passion as well. For some, the decks have been calling since a very young age, and for others, their love for the genre started a bit later. Fourth-year BEng (Industrial Engineering) student Francois Bruwer performs as part of a duo called Father. He took the first steps to DJing in high school but only actively started performing in his second year of university. “What pulls me through is my massive love for music—I could listen to music all day, every day. It’s not about performing but about sharing music with people who share this love,” explained Bruwer. 

DJs not only get a crowd going with feel-good music, but also have the opportunity to connect a diverse group of people through music. Woolward emphasised this by explaining that it can be extremely rewarding to see how happy crowds get whilst he plays at different locations. For Woolward, playing at bigger festivals such as Rumours by the Lake could be described as the climax of a student DJ’s career. 

When the pandemic took over and social gatherings came to a complete stop, these DJs did not sit still. With so much spare time, it was an opportune time for them to improve their skills. “[COVID-19] had a positive influence on me by making me hungrier than ever to get back out there and do what I love!” said Woolward. 

Bruwer explained how exciting the big rise in DJ culture and the new curiosity regarding this genre is. “A lot of places in Stellenbosch are investing in good DJs—we love to see it!” 

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