RockFest Newsletter




It’s official!!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve sent you a newsletter, but the forthcoming Rockfest concert is so exciting, that you just NEED to know what’s going on!

The Rockfest on Mix93.8fm, in association with Grandaxe Music and Tanya Van Agthoven-Marais of Greenbox Productions, and in conjunction with main sponsor Harley Davidson, Johannesburg, together with Creative Connexion, Look & Listen , Louis Peens Architects (LPA) and The Benjamin Boutique Hotel (Dbn), is thrilled to announce that KEN HENSLEY, principal songwriter, keyboard player / guitarist / vocalist for British rock legends, URIAH HEEP, will be performing at a once-in-a-lifetime concert at the New Life Church auditorium in Douglasdale, Johannesburg, on Saturday March 17th.

Billed as one of the station’s Rockfest concerts, the event features a number of famous South African acts as support.This is all thanks to Kai Von Pannier of Grandaxe Music, SA singer Toni Rowland’s manager. Kai has been working with Ken for a number of years, and it’s through his tireless efforts that this exciting event is to happen!

Ken Hensley, apart from being one of rock’s most respected musicians, is a highly acclaimed songwriter, having written tunes such as “Lady In Black”, “The Wizard’’, and countless other legendary tracks. He also featured with bands such as Toe Fat, Blackfoot and others, and he has released a number of solo albums since the early 70’s, beginning with the excellent and recently re-released “Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf”. His latest album, ‘‘Faster”, recorded with Wire Fire, is one of his best ever, and it demonstrates that this incredibly blessed and talented individual quite rightly deserves every accolade as one of the true rock legends, that he is afforded.

He has appeared on and produced the debut album by remarkably talented South African singer Toni Rowland. Entitled ”Unfolding”, Ken’s expert and professional touch and musicianship has helped to highlight and accentuate the talent that Toni Rowland is going to be acclaimed for in the years to come. He will be here in late February to work on and produce Toni’s second album, and that’s where this most fantastic journey and opportunity to see one of rock’s true legends perform live in South Africa, starts.

Thanks to New Life Church in Douglasdale, Johannesburg, we are able to set the stage for an afternoon / evening of pure musical magic, beginning with some unbelievable South African talent and culminating with the great man himself, doing his “up close and personal’’ performance, and then performing a few numbers with Toni Rowland and her band.

The programme is as follows:

Doors open at midday.

The Rock fest’s Shirley Hickman – Smith will be the MC on the day. Shirley is a dynamic public speaker, motivator and trainer, and her fantastically bubbly personality is bound to set the stage for a great day!

From around 3pm: Nanette Scott

Nanette is an exceptionally talented singer with a fantastic range. She is one of the singers in the New Life Church band, and is a budding talent of note who is destined for great things. She has written and recorded material for an album which is soon to be released, and her material has been regularly featured on Mix93.8fm.

From around 4.15pm: Alter – Irving

(Cindy) Alter and (Stewart) Irving are an extremely popular country/rock duo who will be performing with the Alter Irving Band. Their respective pedigrees include the legendary CLOUT and BALLYHOO. They have been performing as Alter – Irving for a number of years and are serious crowd pullers whose excellent vocal, song writing and musical skills make them one of SA’s premier live acts. They will, as from March 5th, be hosting their own show on Mix93.8fm, on a Monday night, midnight to 02am – a real scoop for The Rockfest!!

From around 5.30pm: Ghapi and Peter Hanmer (Band)

On the subject of scoops, this must rate as one of the scoops of the year !

Ghapi is arguably one of the country’s finest drummers, and an incredible frontman and vocalist to boot. Immensely popular on the live circuit, he is an entertainer of note. His musical achievements are too numerous to mention here, and they include his playing and singing on the David’s Confession progressive rock project, written by Mel Botes. Ghapi has released numerous albums, in both English and Afrikaans.

Peter Hanmer is without question one of SA’s premier guitarists. Co-founding member of the legendary Off The Edge (whose debut album is due for a re-release imminently), Peter has been the bedrock of Clint & Co, together with Clint Cunningham, a better entertainer you would be hard pressed to find, for a number of years. Peter released his debut solo album a short while ago and it’s been very well received, locally as well as internationally, as have the various Off the Edge albums. An accomplished songwriter and producer, Peter is also working on Nanette’s debut album.

This will be the first time these two legends of the SA rock scene will have collaborated, and the result is bound to be dynamic! Individually or collectively, these two can play in any band, anywhere in the world.
From around 7.00pm: Ken Hensley/ Toni Rowland

Without wanting to sound too gushy, this is a dream come true for yours truly, and, I know, for many others. Whether Ken will be doing a solo acoustic set or a ‘full-on’ rock performance, it will undoubtedly be a most memorable event. The man is a total genius, and his prowess on the Hammond organ is legendary. Cast your mind back to the days of albums like “Very Eavy, Very Umble”, “Salisbury”, “Look at Yourself” and others – the early history-making days of rock as we know it today, and you’ll see and hear Ken Hensley’s influence. As Todd Rundgren said, the man is “A Legend – A True Star”.

Toni Rowland is a revelation. She’s been playing the live circuit for some time now and she has built up an impressive reputation as a dynamic vocalist, her debut solo album being ample testimony to that. Her eagerly awaited new album will no doubt endorse that sentiment. She has an excellent band too. Toni and her band will be joining Ken on stage for a few numbers.

So then, be prepared for a really special day. The New Life Church auditorium has state of the art sound and lighting facilities, as well as two large screen TV screens. It can accommodate around three thousand people and there is ample parking space.

Entrance fee: The ticket price is R 180.00 per person. Tickets will be available through STRICTLY TICKETS (you can get them online at The cost of the tickets INCLUDES commission. Depending on tickets sales via STRICTLY TICKETS, tickets might be available at the door, on the day. There will be no designated seating – it will be a sit-where-you-like “except in the reserved for VIP seats” – type arrangement, so the key is to get your tickets and get there as soon as possible!! .

Taking blues guitarist Robben Ford’s advice when he said ‘Help The Poor’, New Life Church supports numerous charities, orphanages, etc (NPO Number: NPO 068-169). As part of your entrance fee, we would like you to bring an item of clothing or a tin of canned food (or both!) which the church will distribute to these needy causes. This is obviously not a condition of entry, but if you don’t bring an item of clothing or tin of food, you will be locked up in a room and be forced to listen to Justin Bieber or techno/rave music for the duration of the concert!! (Well, not quite – ha ha ha)

Food and refreshments will be available at the venue.

Now, (t) here’s the rub, as Wishbone Ash said: Please note, however, and this is VERY IMPORTANT:

Because it is a church, NO ALCOHOL will be allowed or sold on the premises, and I ask you to please respect that. We feel that this is an exceptionally special once-off occasion, and it’s worth that small sacrifice.

CDs will be on sale, and if logistics allow,The Rockfest on Mix93.8fm will be broadcasting live from the event for the day.

Please spread the word – tickets are limited and are on a first-come-first-served basis!!

The Rockfest has come a long way, as has Mix 93.8fm! Thanks to sterling work done by the management team of Abi Milosevich, Neil Gundry, Steve Milosevich and David Watts, as well as every presenter, not to mention all the other staff at Mix 93.8fm, the station is attracting some of the biggest names on SA radio! Check the website for exciting new developments (

We would like to acknowledge the work done by Aris Binikos and Max Aston, who have left The Rockfest. They both did a fantastic job!

Newest additions to The Rockfest are Shirley Hickman-Smith, and Cindy Alter and Stewart Irving, who will be presenting a show together.

The Rockfest line up is now as follows:


  • 6pm to 9pm –Shirley Hickman-Smith
  • 9pm to Midnight – Rusty Hornsby (sometimes joined by Wayne Hampton)


  • 8pm to 11pm – David Blood (this is to change on 05 March. David’s show will start at 9pm, til midnight)
  • Midnight to 02am –Cindy (Alter) and Stewart (Irving) (starting on 05 March)


  • 9pm to midnight – Tamara Jeunette and Wayne Longbeard
  • Midnight to 02am – Chris Venter


  • 9pm to Midnight – Graham Rees
  • Midnight to 02am – Hendrien Hodson


  • 9pm to Midnight – Michael Tymvios
  • Midnight to 02am –Glen Lester


  • 8pm to Midnight – Leon Economides
  • Midnight to 02am –Jon Buckley and Charlotte Olivier

You can expect to hear anything from blues to classic rock, from metal to alternative, from Christian rock to jazz, from brass rock to prog rock, from country rock to folk,
on The Rockfest on Mix93.8fm! There are NO prescribed playlists – if it’s good, we’ll play it (even if some of us battle to back – announce album and song titles in Hungarian, Polish, Swedish, etc!!)

Streaming via

Til the next time.


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