This past weekend I attended the Where BLUES Meets ROCK festival (which was held near Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng). For starters, I almost did not make it to the festival. I can honestly say that I’ve experienced the power of Social Media (more specifically Facebook in this case). I did not have a way to get to this festival, even though it was staged less than 50 km from me. 2 of my friends cancelled on me (they were supposed to be my lift for the weekend). I got all desperate and posted a message on the event’s wall. Before I could say “Shazam!” I got a reply from R.O. who told me that he had space for me in his 1400 Nissan Bakkie. I made use of his offer. We were a bit delayed on Friday though and only made it to Where BLUES Meets ROCK at 9 PM on Friday night.
In true festival style I was too lazy to set up my tent and made my way to the stage almost immediately when I got there (just in time to catch Afrikaans legends Klopjag performing on stage). They are still as good as the first time I saw them perform at Maloney’s. Klopjag set the stage and pace for the remaining acts on the evening with their blend of sing-along style Afrikaans tunes. Hearing songs like Stof and 24 Uur brought back memories I’ve almost forgotten over the last few years. After them Die Tuindwergies appeared on stage and proved why they are one of the 2011 MK Award Winners. They get better and better at performing every time I see them. After them Van Coke Kartel appeared on the stage and rocked the party. It was the first time I saw them perform since Hatfield Carnival and there was absolutely nothing wrong with their excellent performance. Like Die Tuindwergies they proved why they are one of this year’s MK Award winners. Up next was the Fake Leather Blues Band. They kept the party going till about 2:30 AM with their versions of “The Fake Leather Reggae Band”, “The Fake Leather Metal Band” and other versions of their musical excellence. Since I was recovering from my birthday party at Aandklas the previous evening I kept alcohol consumption to a minimum on Friday and caught some shut-eye on the back of the 1400 Nissan Bakkie (under the tonneau cover).
I awoke Saturday morning at about 7 AM, finding out that a was a bit colder in the Bronkhorstspruit district than in my native Pretoria. After a t-shirt change and a few cold ones me, R.O. and kie made our way to Bronkhorstspruit for some well deserved breakfast. It was the first time in nearly 13 years that I had made may into this town. We had to ask a laaitie on a bicycle directions to a local restaurant, but eventually we ended up a different one (even though he rode like the wind in front of us to point out the way). After exploring the town and having something to munch, we made our way back to the festival.
When we got back Mrs B were rocking the show. I truly think that their new album, The Milkshake Revolution is going to rock. Their new material is awesome. I see great things in the near future for them. I caught a glimpse of the Lize Marshall band and The Friend Lemons in between having beers at the bar and at the campsite and hearing stories about monkeys, fibreglass bunnies and other oddities. The atmosphere at the festival was very chilled out at this stage. After The Friendly Lemons it was the Boulevard Blues Band, which set the stage for the main acts lined up for the rest of Saturday. Albert Frost made it to the stage next, he was joined by Natalie Chapman and Peter Hoven. Eventually Gerald Clark joined them. Experiencing 2 hours of this musical excellence on stage was definitely one of the highlights of Where BLUES Meets ROCK. An awesome Highveld Sunset definately added a touch excellence too.
Next up was SA music legend Piet Botha. He showed the festival crowd why he’s still one of the best performers around. He’s been in the SA Music industry for about 30 years and still one of my favorite SA live acts. The crowd were treated to an excellent performance by Karen Zoid next. It was the first time I saw her perform since STRAB in 2009. I’m really liking her new band setup. The okes are really good musicians and she still has one of the best voices in SA music. Her performance of Blues classic Crossroads was especially memorable. Unfortunately Jan Blohm could not make it to the festival. Replacement Christoph Kotze was not bad at all. His mellow Afrikaans tunes kept the festival momentum going. The legendary Valiant Swart was up next. He played an excellent set which contained a lot of praise for the Stormers (who had beaten the Lions in a Super 15 rugby match earlier the evening). After Valiant Swart it was the turn of Black Cat Bones. They proved why they have been rated as one of SA’s best live acts. Valiant Swart joined them on stage (which made their performance even more memorable). They were followed by Mr Cat & The Jackal (who got the small yet enthusiastic crowd dancing a bit). These okes are one of my favorite bands at the moment. There truly is no one like them in the SA music scene. Where BLUES Meets ROCK’s last act of the festival were Tidal Waves (who are touring the United States for a month soon). They got the crowd going again. Their live performance skills never disappoint me. They are truly one of the best live acts in South Africa (in my opinion). I went back to the campsite for some well-deserved shut-eye at 2:30 AM and we left for Pretoria early on Sunday morning.
Over the course of the weekend I bumped into @donmulto @Ahwelady and @TarrynHarbour from Twitter and a few of the “faithful” (AKA the people I always bump into at music festivals). It was sweet having a dop with you all. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank R.O. for getting me to the festival and back. I would also like to congratulate Oom Deon and the others who made Where BLUES Meets ROCK happen on hosting an excellent festival. If there’s going to be one next year, I’ll definately make an effort to get there.
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