Performance, art and horse racing climax in a crazy frequency at Equinity's La Calavera production
Equinity, the South African horse racing, performance and party phenomenon, has shown the world how to race to a different beat.
For those not in the know, Equinity is an outlandish combination of performance, art, design and music that is built around horses and night-time racing. “Our dream for Equinity started in 2013 while we were working on a massive event at Turffontein Racecourse,” explains co-founder Angus Campbell. “We happened to be at the grand and historic track one night and the energy under those massive spotlights was intense. The horses looked even more beautiful and powerful than usual,” he says.
What Campbell couldn’t believe is that were only a handful of spectators on a course that could host thousands. “It was at that moment that we knew what we had to do. We were going to jump on this incredible opportunity and create something massive and mind-blowing. That’s how Equinity was born.”
Campbell and the team threw themselves into planning, combining all of their passions into one epic production. “When we launched our first show in 2016, people didn’t quite know what had hit them,” he says. “We aren’t about any one thing – we love performance, art, design and music and with Equinity, we brought all of this together against the backdrop of a massive night-time horse race.”
Equinity has found a loyal following over the past three years and looks set to continue its rapid growth with the third annual production on 27 October 2018. “In just three years we’ve gone from the new kid on the block to the fastest-growing horse racing event in the country,” says Campbell.
Every year the team changes the theme, creating a completely new and immersive production. Equinity 2018 will celebrate the experiences of an elite secret society called La Calavera – “The Elegant Skull". The members of this select group, who have chosen to live outside the norms of society, follow their every wish and desire above all else, and pursue a hedonistic journey of instant gratification and intense pleasure. “Equinity embraces liberal ideas, new forms of expression, tolerance, freedom and diversity,” says Campbell. “It is designed as a platform for unusual artists and performers, and visitors can expect a cocktail of performance, art, design and music, with a slightly bizarre and very sexy, beautiful edge.”
The Equinity team works with performers, stylists and decor specialists for months before the event, and to bring to life their unconventional themes, they craft many of their own decor elements and outfits from scratch. They brief actors and performers on how to engage with their audiences, believing that every interaction is an opportunity to amaze or amuse.
“As the world interacts increasingly on a digital level we believe in creating epic face-to-face connections between people,” says Angus.
That’s not to say Equinity doesn’t embrace technology. While they create bigger sets, and include as many performers as possible, they look to include the best technology available. “We love the history and the traditions of racing, but we are determined to bring the sport into a new era,” says Campbell. “We are part of a new young racing audience and we want to do things our way. That’s why we love working in massive racing stadiums – they give us the scale we need to blow people’s minds.”
Blow people’s minds they do, and already the event enjoys an almost cult-like following. A dedicated crowd of Equinity fans snap up tickets as soon as they go on sale, with the tickets now having to be released in batches.
Equinity’s La Calavera hits Johannesburg on Saturday, 27 October. At La Calavera, nothing will be as it seems, and anything is possible. “Our shows are experimental, sexy and uncensored and we expect our audience to be the same,” says Campbell. “Be prepared to experience unusual characters, flavoured with Latino, South American and Spanish influences, and get set for a grand finale, celebrating life itself.”
Phase 2 tickets are on sale now for the unique, never-before-seen Equinity La Calavera experience, and are available via Webtickets or through the Equinity website, www.equinity.co.za.
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