Blue Moon is a legendary name that is whispered among many people still. Musicians screamed over their microphones and the mountains are as glorious as they have always been. Blue Moon is considered one of the best live music venues in South Africa and musicians and music fans will definitely agree with me. Set on a mountain side with amphitheater style set up between granite rocks, it is as beautiful at day as it is at night.
Blue Moon is located about 10 kilometres outside of Nelsparta (Mbombela for the okes who do care about politics). You drive to the venue via the N4 and eventually you turn left into Ferreira street and just follow the road. This road takes you past some other kuier spots – Jock, Dros, Chippos and even a Wimpy but that is nothing compared to Blue Moon.
On Ferreira street it twists and turns up against the granite koppie of the Steiltes suburb and when you reach a massive traffic circle you still head straight. You just went from city to suburbs to wildlife estates to a mountain pass – all in just a few kilometres. Once the tar road turns into a gravel road, you are now 5.2km away from Blue Moon.
I spoke to Mr Blue Moon self, Anthony Bumbstead. Some of you know him others don’t. He is silver fox haired man wearing a hat, colourful shirt and even more colourful pants. He is an excellent story teller and even meaner and leaner events manager. You have heard of Up The Creek? You can thank Anthony for that one. You can also thank him, Peter Halder and Renate Schole for Blue Moon. He gave me some facts that you probably did not know about this magnificent venue in Mpumalanga.
1. It’s the only venue of its kind in the whole of South Africa.
2. It took a lot of sweat to get all of the proper licenses that come with opening up a live music venue. Anyone who has been through this process would understand.
3. Mark Thomas was the architect of the Blue Moon.
4. Pete Halder and Anthony Bumbstead build the whole Blue Moon by themselves without any extra contractors. The only other guy involved with the construction was an electrician.
5. International band Seether have performed at Blue Moon twice. They also performed here three times when they were still known as Saron Gas.
6. Akkedis was the first band to ever play at Blue Moon. They were also the last band to play at The Last Waltz (the closing down concert a few years ago).
7. South African rock music legend Piet Botha was the godfather and inspiration behind Blue Moon.
8. Conrad Jamneck was the coincidence and support. Without him they would have bought and installed huge speakers and a beat box.
9. Bok van Blerk shot his 2007 “De La Rey” concert show at Blue Moon (which was sold out completely). You can still buy the DVD at Musica for R59.99.
10. Blue Moon featured in the recent “Dis Hoe Ons Rol” TV show on kykNET (which was presented by Jack Parow and Hardus van Deventer). In the episode they spent the day at venue interviewing another well known Blue Moon face, Doc Barry.
Many locals have many stories to tell you. Bands like 10c Short, Mr Brown, C4, …and Winter, Latte Funk, Voetstoots, Piksteel, Quintero, Motiv Cocktail and the best known No One’s Arc all shaped their music careers at Blue Moon. Some friends we have lost but their sweat in danced into the floor.
I’d like to thank Anthony for providing us with these interesting facts. At Blue Moon you have to respect the fact that you are in nature under the stars and you should respect the music. The bar is a place that still holds many voices, friendly known faces and the only tip I have for you is that you should NOT drink the water – try the cold beer instead.
The Blue Moon folks are very excited to welcome the friends of Woodcrock again this year. They know the Nelspartans and their friends are very keen for one hard rocking weekend that they know that all of them miss so much. Get details about the next Woodcrock (which happens from 25 to 28 August this year) here and keep an eye on Running Wolf’s Rant for an update about the event and a great competition (that is coming your way soon).