Plans this weekend? No? You should probably check out Gigham

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Gigham popped up on our radar earlier this year when the guys behind it pitched their idea for a new type of online events portal at Google’s startup incubation project, Umbono.

People living in the Mother City and Jozi are not exactly left wanting for things to do, but it’s not always that easy to find out what’s going on. Some folks are particular about what they’re looking for and others are more intrepid and would like to try something new. Gigham aims to cater for both groups with over 2000 events in total listed for both cities. When the site launched with a Cape Town guide back in June 2012, it claimed a higher number, and bigger variety of events than any other event guide in South Africa at the time.

Expect variety. You’ll find things like belly-dancing classes, organic farm markets, cave putt-putt, fly tying courses, burlesque striptease or conspiracy theory meet-ups on Gigham.

Co-founder of Cape Town record label African Dope Records, Hilton “Roach” Roth and George Gally, an award-winning designer and experimental artist, started Gigham out of a need for a one-stop events site that takes into consideration its users’ tastes while adapting to their entertainment needs as they use it.

Gigham’s learning engine learns from its users in order to fine-tune their own customised listings. Users can filter Gigham’s listings by category, date and location. They can also see who’s going to the events they like, and if they’re logged in with Facebook, which of their friends might also attend. Among the many new tricks that will be added to the site in the coming weeks, users will also be able to invite their friends to events they might think they need to know about.

“The finding and promoting of events, up until now, has been a real pain for all involved, whether punter, promoter, venue or artist,” explains Hilton Roth. “When closely examined, we discovered that the existing methods for finding and promoting events was simply archaic, despite the digital revolution! In short: the whole system was begging for an update… so we built Gigham,” he says.

For promoters, Gigham eradicates the notoriously laborious and time-consuming process of filling in endless submission forms on different gig guide sites just to be able to list an event or gig. “Gigham makes event promotion a breeze,” says Roth, “as soon as you log in, your events are added to Gigham automatically”.

For those merely looking for something fun to do in their town, Gigham aims to put an end to the days of having to trawl through multiple websites, publications, blogs and miscellaneous event invites on Facebook in order to plan their social life. “If something, anything, is happening, anywhere, our robots will find it and let you in on it,” adds partner George Gally.

But while the “big” events are generally easy to find out about thanks to big marketing budgets, it’s in the so-called “long tail” end of events “where things start to get really interesting and exciting,” says Roth. “What we really enjoy is being able to advertise the leftfield and ‘underground’ edge of events, even if a user has no intention of going to them, Gigham lets users into a world of happenings you might otherwise never have heard about— like belly dancing, drag racing or a sexy construction workers’ party round the corner from where you live – it’s those sorts of things that we’re loving just knowing and talking about.”

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