The year that was 2014…

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2014 was a great year. I have to admit that I did not expect much of this year when it started, but boy oh boy, was I wrong… It truly has been one of the most awesome years of my life.

2014 will be remembered as the year that I finally reached another milestone in my obsession with going to live music shows: I attended every single one of the Park Acoustics events (yes, all 11 of them from January to November). This event (which started out as a tiny gathering of music loving people in 2010) has evolved into one of the must-attend events on the capital city’s calendar. Once a month more than 2000 people flock to the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria for some “fun in the sun”.

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The line-ups for this year’s Park Acoustics events were just amazing. Audiences were treated to some brilliant performances by some of South Africa’s top musical acts (and a few internationals as well). Some of the artists that stood out for me this year were Fokofpolisiekar, Van Coke Kartel, Shortstraw, Jack Parow, Boo, Dan Patlansky, Naming James, the Black Cat Bones, Bittereinder, St Lucia, the Plastics, Matthew Mole, New Academics and Southern Gypsy Queen.

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I will also remember 2014 as the year that I attended both of the editions of Nokia Rise & Shine Festival (at Sandton Central Park in Johannesburg). Like Park Acoustics, this event has also evolved into one of those must-attend events on the musical calendar¬†in Gauteng.¬†The coolest thing about this event is that you don’t need to drive to Johannesburg to attend it, you can just hop on the Gautrain – the venue is only 2 km from the Sandton station.

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Another 2014 event that comes to mind is Parklife Festival (which is held in March every year at Marks Park near Emmarentia dam in Johannesburg). Not only will this year’s edition be remembered for the epic performances by Shortstraw, Gangs of Ballet and other stunning local acts, but it will go down in the history books as the day that I discovered Frank Turner. The universe is the only one who knows how it’s possible that I did not earlier…

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All three of these day events were awesome, but those of you who know me will sometimes refer to me as “that festival loving guy” and I definitely lived up to that reputation in 2014. I attended RAMFest Johannesburg (in March), Otterlake East Festival (in April), STRAB Festival in Mozambique (in May), 20th anniversary edition of Oppikoppi (in August) and Mieliepop (in October). All five of these events were epic and the memories from them will forever be etched into brain.

I survived the muddy experience that was RAMFest, the Blues enthused bonfire vibe of Otterlake Festival, the rum flavored beach vibes of STRAB, the dustbowl that is Oppikoppi and the coldest festival that I’ve ever been to (aka Mieliepop 2014) – and yes I’m willing to do all of them again in 2015. The only sad part is that RAMFest won’t be on that list because it has been postponed to 2016.

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2014 will also be remembered as the year that I saw the Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro live. Both these acts completely blew me away – without a doubt two of the best live acts that I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of live acts).

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Besides these two acts, I was also fortunate enough to enjoy live performances by The Lumineers, Bastille, Asking Alexandria, Rival Sons, The Editors, Killswitch Engage, Frank Turner, KT Tunstall, Foals, Trivium and Wolfmother. I am sad that I missed Bruce Springsteen, but I’m sure that 2015 will feature it’s own blend of awesome international acts – South Africa is slowly starting to become a mecca for live music.

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On the work / professional side I really learned a lot in 2014. I delved deeper in the constantly changing realm that is digital marketing and social media and will continue to do so in 2015. I also had a taste of actually getting paid for taking photos for events and getting paid for promotional posts (something that is not too common in South Africa). Besides this I also started doing a show on the Grind Radio (something that I’ve been wanting to do years).

In short, 2014 was a year in which I tried to live life to the fullest and enjoy great experiences with my friends and fellow lovers of live music. I’ve lived, loved, partied my arse off and took great photos to document the experiences along the way. I have no regrets.

A shout out to all of the brands, bloggers, contributors, photographers, PR and media folks that I’ve worked with in 2014. I’m only seeing bigger and better things on the horizon and I’m 100% prepared to tackle the 2015 bull by the horns. I’m looking forward to a great year with amazing experiences with you all. Peace.

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