I’m going to honest here… If I have to tell you every single detail of the Route 40 music festival (including late night tequila drinking under the mango trees to drooling over rock stars) then this article is going to be a very long one. So I’ve decided to name a few highlights from the festival (which happened this weekend – from 6 to 8 December 2013). This was the first festival of its kind in the small town of White River (in Mpumalanga) and the local support was on/off throughout the 3 days.
I must give hooves applause to the teenagers who supported not only their friends bands but also the big names and music they have never heard of. To those who missed it: You keep on complaining that there is nothing to do in our region yet people like Blue Moon Productions and Casterbridge Music Academy Development (CMDA) brought you a lineup that will make Innibos Festival blush.
Friday 6 December: One thing that stood out like a sore thumb was the diverse age of the crowd. Friday’s main stage line-up included Italian Stefano Giorgini, Elvis Blue, The Parlotones and Zebra & Giraffe. While the most popular act on the night was The Parlotones you couldn’t help thinking when the retirement villages let their residents loose. It was very nice to see the extremely young and the nearly silver-haired being out and about in White River though.
Elvis Blue has a saxophone player that really complimented his performances. Last time we saw him he was bit dull, but I have to give it to him: Even if he did win season 6 of Idols, the guy writes, sings and performs his own music. If you are not fan you are missing out on a good live performance if you ask me or my owner.
The Parlotones are one of the most requested bands in the Lowveld and look, they are good at what they do. You know all the songs (even if you pretend to be sober) and Glen’s tattoos are enough to drool over. Kahn recently got married, kudos to him for keeping it under wraps and keeping Top Billing away from his wedding. Their show was kief (as a friend would say) and they even did their song “Sleepwalker” (with one of the local CMDA rappers) – now THAT was awesome.
The stage ran late when it came to SAMA winners Zebra & Giraffe. Half the crowd left and you would think a band of their popularity would have kept everyone there. But nope, this is the Lowveld, a bunch of scary cats when it comes to something “new” or something not yet well known. I enjoyed it, jumping around, having some more Bacardi while figuring out who is the zebra and who is the giraffe.
Saturday 7 December: After some well-deserved sleep at my stables and a good breakfast it was back up the mountain for the second day of Route 40. Let me just say getting home at 2 AM wasn’t funny but it was fun. Local band The Sky were on stage when we got there and if you are hanging out in Pretoria you should make sure that you check them out. These guys have it, they are not Indy, they are not rock, and they kind of remind you “That 70’s Show”.
December Streets were the kick starters to the main stage party. I would have put them up after the CMDA band Cosmic River but what do I know? I’m just a green plastic cow. Anyway if there is one thing I wish. it’s the people from the Lowveld will fill up the next December Streets show in the region. CMDA band Café Wha? have been standing out name wise and music wise this year and they were the prefect opening act before Vusi Mahlasela.
Vusi Mahlasela: bless you brother for the fantastic show. You came with your presents and smile and captured us all in a spirit of Ubuntu and unity. If you have not watch this man perform then your bucket list is not complete. Just ask my Pretoria buddy Henno Kruger.
Watershed was a let down (compared to Vusi’s show) but you could see that their fans have gotten a lot older. Besides the fact that only the lead singer, Craig Heins, is the only original member in the band, it was still a good show. “Indigo Girl” and “Letters” was sung out loud in the hall where the main stage was.
To me Woodstock Mafia should have been earlier or on Friday night but they put on a kick-ass show. I haven’t jumped up and down like that since the Black Cat Bones made their last turn in Nelsparta. Joe Theron: If you weren’t booked already by your fiancé then you would have been in trouble. Loved every minute. I can also tell you about the band Kite Rider (Jon Savage’s new band) and how we all sang along to the weirdest songs ever, replacing words with other words, talking about Mash lab and other things but I would be writing a book with many pages, so I’m not going to. At 3 AM we finally made it home (under the cover of darkness and fog).
Sunday 8 December: It was tough getting up on Sunday in the humid and hot climate (just like us Lowvelders like it in December). We arrived just in time for our first ever Shortstraw show. I’ve never seen that many teenagers surround a stage that isn’t populated by a DJ in White River. It was a kick-ass show, even there song “Keanu Reeves” was a kicker.
Vital Crew (another CMDA band) stood out from the masses this year and carried on the African spirit that we all had at the festival. Lindiwe Suttle is name I did not know, but the boys from ISO helped her out with some music instruments. Some loved her and others didn’t even blink – choosing to stand outside and to have a smoke instead.
3 songs into ISO we received a call from the security company that the alarm was screaming it’s head off and they couldn’t access the property. It was off back to Nelsparta in a mad rush to see what was happening, resulting that I miss the rest of their kick-ass performance and one of my human’s favorite, Prime Circle. We were updated via Whatsapp that the Prime Circle show was everything and more. It was the first time in about 2 years that they were in the Lowveld and I do hope for my human’s sake they come back soon.
All in all the Route 40 music festival had an fantastic line-up. We felt like we had a proper festival on the Sunday morning and that is the way it should be. Well done to the whole team of awesome people and sponsors, you rock. To all the bands, youth bands, fans and the big bands: You guys rocked our worlds. Let’s do this again next year. All photos on this post were taken by Royal Lens Photography.
Were you at Route 40 Music Festival? How did you experience it? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading about this, feel free to share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.
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A green cow, part of a heard of plastic / latex cows, spread between Nelspruit, Sabie and Cape Town. My owner adopted me when I only could speak Chinese, now I'm fluent in Afrikaans, English second language and cow.