The secret gatherings you need to know about
We put an ear to the ground and discovered where, when and how the most clued-up creatives are gathering right now.
The secret gatherings you didn’t know you need to know about
They’re where the ‘big thinkers’ gather to interact and get inspired. They’re where ideas get sparked, networks get woven and missing pieces get placed in collaborative puzzles. Secret, creative gatherings are the place to be – if you can find them. So how do you access these events, and get your name on the list?
How to find a secret gathering
‘To be quite honest,’ says actor, MC and plugged-in creative Siya Ramba, ‘if people could find them, then they wouldn’t be that “secret” right?’ Right! A tip, though, would be to try and establish an expansive network of individuals, who already attend these so-called ‘secret’ events, and you might just crack a nod. ‘You need to run in the right circles and constantly have your ear to the ground,’ says Ramba. ‘Hopefully, taking you from viewing the events on Instagram, to receiving the cryptic invites.’
Many of those ‘right circles’ can be found spinning at the not-so-secret (but also surprisingly under-utilised) creative gatherings happening in your city. You’ll find plenty on Meetup.com – filter out the hiking clubs and you’ll find start-up incubators, creative meets and networking breakfasts. There are also great innovator gatherings via Startup Grind, and Creative Mornings, which hosts free breakfast talks for the creative community in Joburg and Cape Town .
Bump into the right person there and you could forge a connection that leads to other, off-the-record meetings. ‘Once you’ve built this network, invite them to a few events you might have access to, and you’ll be sure to stay connected and never miss a beat,’ says Ramba.
Cracking the nod
Some of these secret creative gatherings double up as secret parties (complete, in some cases, with beer pong and FIFA gaming sessions). Bumba Vibes, for example, is an exclusive private networking party, while SecretEATS host private, invite-only dinner parties for epicurious foodies. SecretSunrise marshall like-minded, self-expressive individuals for early-morning dance and yoga get-togethers around the country.
In between the secret dinners and experiences, you’ll get to hear of – and, hopefully, be invited to – secret networking events for connected creatives. Rosebank’s Mesh Club is a good example: it’s a curated members’ club for artists and entrepreneurs, with hot desks available during the day and secret gatherings hosted after hours.
However you end up getting your foot in the door, the best thing about secret creative gatherings is that they’ll invariably be small, intimate meetings, where you’re unlikely to get lost in the crowd. ‘My ideal secret gathering would have to be one that is bespoke and experiential for a small (exclusive) crowd,’ Ramba says. ‘A gathering where the attendees actually do something the crowd will find interesting and engaging.’
Photographs: Nwabisa Nwisewise Mda, Shutterstock, SecretSunrise, SecretEATs