My 2 Cents on STRAB 2013

Now that ALL the sand has been washed off my feet, I can finally tell you about my experience at STRAB 2013. It was one of the most awesome music festivals that I’ve attended over the last few years.

Thanks to @LeisureWheelsSA and @IsuzuSA we made our way to Kosi Bay from Pretoria on Wednesday the 22nd of May. It was a smooth journey and we got to the South Africa / Mozambique border a lot quicker than we did in September 2011. All the construction on the N2 highway and the road to Kosi Bay from Jozini has been completed – this means that you can now easily drive to Kosi Bay from Johannesburg or Pretoria in about 7 hours (down from the 10 to 11 hours that it used to take). After getting our passports stamped and sorting out the insurance on the vehicle, Killer Suzi (our trusted vehicle), @BaasDeBeer, @MinePotgieter, @TyronLSA and I made our way to Parque de Malongane (only 15 km from the Kosi Bay border).

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After setting up our STRAB 2013 camp site and naming the Pretoria suburbs that our tents were living in, we made our way to the deck bar to quench our thirst with some R&Rs and 2M’s. This turned into a party of note, especially after we were running around on the beach and enjoying the Voodoo Beach Party. The tunes on the deck were pumping into the early hours of the morning  and the moon shined brightly on the glistening waves of the Indian Ocean. Eventually I crawled into my tent around 4 AM. Not a bad first day for a festival.

On the Thursday STRAB 2013 started getting momentum. Before we got into the whole festival vibe we made sure that we had some awesome breakfast at the resort’s restaurant, did some  Tipo Tinto and Sparberry Marango shopping in Ponta Du Ouro and that we enjoyed one of Fernando’s King Size R&Rs. The day got off to an awesome chilled out start with Hoot ‘n Anny, Marcato, Buurman, Luna Paige and Willem Welsyn all playing some awesome acoustic sets on the deck. Things picked up some pace during the course of the evening. Jonathan Martin & Piet Botha, Natalie Chapman, Stefan Dixon, Akkedis, After Robot and Juggernaught entertained the crowd till about midnight. After this everyone danced their behinds off to the awesome tunes that Legend Frans was playing on the deck. After an early morning moonlight beach walk at 3 AM, I finally crawled in my tent.

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I woke up Friday morning after 10 AM, feeling rested out and ready to have some fun. We did some artist interviews, drank a lot of R&R’s, sadly missing Lyzyrd Kings and Justin Serrao on the deck, but managed to make it on time for the awesomeness that is Naming James. After this it was time for the soothing sounds of Andra and the chilled out vibes of the Ohm Brothers. After some supper it was back to main stage for impressive blues act, the Andy Fisher band. They were followed by the folky awesomeness that is Vana & the Oh So Serious, epic modern blues act Son of a 1000 and no nonsense “rock your socks” off rock act the Aidan Martin band. All three these bands entertained the crowd until 10 PM, then things got a little bit serious.

I watched Wonderboom play live for the first time in two years and was completely blown away by them. The crowd sang out their songs loudly as they showed just what they’re capable off after being in the SA Music scene for almost 17 years. After them MK Award winners The Black Cat Bones showed the STRAB 2013 crowd just why they are the best live act in South Africa. It was also pleasant hearing Tamryn Jones (Tammy from Southern Gypsey Queen) doing a cover of “Keep on Rockin’ In the Free World” with them. Just when you thought that things couldn’t get more awesome, it did. Bittereinder made their way onto the stage at midnight and had the whole crowd bouncing around to their awesome rap ‘n roll / electro sounds for just over an hour.  The evening ended with an extended party on the deck. I may or may not have been bouncing around to Skrillex at 4 AM with @Vicky_JKWICZ  and the three C’s (3 girls with “Bitches Moet Weet” t-shirts on from Jozi that I met during the course of the weekend). Kudos to Jaco Mans for the awesome tunes.

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I woke up in time for breakfast and paced myself through the Saturday at STRAB 2013. After some grub I enjoyed some chilled out tunes from a local Mozambiquan act, Tamryn Jones, Lucy Kruger and Shotgun Tori. All three of these ladies impressed me with their voices and performance skills. After this the Acoustic Groove Machine and El Cantante (an acoustic duo made up of Cito and Martin Rocka from Wonderboom) entertained the crowds on the deck while @BaasDeBeer were treated to some cheese snacks and R&R’s that some polite older ladies from Durban offered us.

The evening’s entertainment kicked off with The Devil’s Ribs (a band from Valhalla in Pretoria), followed by Gerald Clark and the Dead Men (who played an awesome set), East German Old School Rockers Frey Gang (who are going on tour with Piet Botha and Akkedis soon), South African rock legends Jack Hammer, awesome blues act Raoul and Black Friday and ended with guitar maestro Dan Patlansky. After this the Classic Rock Project entertained a few folks while others danced off their butts to songs by Boney M and other old school tunes mixed out by Legend Frans and Conrad on the deck. During the course of the night I also found out that my friends had name a hairstyle after me. Eventually the last night ended with me crawling into my tent at 2:30 AM after I did a considerable amount of drinking and dancing with some awesome party folks.

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On Sunday, we quickly packed up and left STRAB 2013. Were were back in South Africa and on our way to Pretoria in  Killer Suzi by 10 AM. The ride back was smooth and fairly uneventful, apart from KFC in Pongola, a freaky accommodation sign in Piet Retief next to a graveyard and Wimpy Coffee in Delmas. I finally put my shoes back on (after I took them off on Wednesday) at 8 PM on Sunday night.

STRAB 2013 can basically be described as follows: Awesome tunes, Awesome people, Awesome vibes and Awesome weather. Kudos to Conrad, Andries and everyone else that made this festival a huge success. If you haven’t been to a STRAB, make sure that you check  it out in 2014. It’s a lot of fun, believe me.

What did you think of STRAB 2013? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading my article, feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, sharing is caring after all.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Opinion categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone

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