So, what does the Lowveld and the Western Cape (more specifically Swellendam) have in common? You would think nothing, but in actual fact Nelspruit’s very own Blue Moon is the link between the two. In 1991 a small birthday party was organized by Anne Sowden (Red Hot Events) for her friend Anthony Bumbstead on farm near Swellendam (+/- 2 hours drive from Cape Town). The “jol was so lekker” that they decided to do it the following year and the year after that and so it grew. This farm is now the home of Up The Creek Music Festival.
Despite me being a cow I must give hoove applause to the entire craze, drunken, party animals who supported Up The Creek in their numbers. For the first time UTC was sold out at 2 500 people! Whoohoo! Okay so now for the juicy parts…
Traveling from Nelsparta to Cape Town takes about a day flying and driving. My brand new mate, Jorge joined us for the first time along with his human Rob. Along with my human we made Cape Town and then hit Long Street for an evening of pre-party. The Waiting Room is properly the smallest venue I’ve ever been in with an even smaller bathroom. Sons of Settlers entertained us with their musical abilities while the Cape Townian beer went down well and by 3 AM it was time for a well-deserved sleep.
Arriving at Up The Creek on the Thursday is as exciting as your dressing in new shoes. Checked in, packed out and tents set up we made or way to find our first of many Titanics at the bar. The set up for the festival was kept pretty much the same as last year, a shaded tented food court area was just added.
I must say well done to Le Chefs that prepared the wonderful food. You could buy anything from burritos, toasted sarmies to schwarmas. Coffee is of course needed at a festival, but this was the one of three kak things at this year’s Up The Creek. With 2,500 people and one coffee stand in the morning, the line was ridiculously long. Last year there were 2 coffee stands which worked fantastically, so I suggest that the human in charge of that look into it please.
The first night of a festival is always hectic and Feed the Wolf was a great act to kick-off the festival. Dave Ferguson (who played the most times this year) rocked it out on the Jagermeister stage (with a crowd surfing of note). However, I didn’t really make it because starting a festival with a hangover was properly not the best idea (and the lack of tequila).
Friday morning was another promising day of sun, music and more drinking. Down by the river Piet Botha and Akkedis kicked off the River Stage. A huge “Life Raft” (sponsored by Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry) was happily providing space for those who didn’t want to hang in the water too long. The Creekers were pouring in through the gates as the sun got higher and so did our thirst. Vintage Creekers will know the Titanic is the first choice – the Iceberg only made its appearance 3 years ago. This year two more drinks were added to the menu at the festival though: The Torpedo (a brandy infused cocktail) and The Life Raft (an OBS and ginger ale mix).
Let me say you have to taste it before you knock it and the Torpedo almost turned me into a boertjie. However we were waiting for 18:00 in daylight (the sun sets around 20:00) for Gerald Clark and the Dead Men. This sexy ginger can take me on a Valentine’s date anytime. We enjoyed the first main stage act and if you still haven’t seen Mister Clark live then you better make a plan. The Plastics came up next, but I wasn’t crazy about them. I made sure that I found those Jagermeister girls during their show, I needed it. Sorry Plastics..
Next up was Jeremy Loops and his crew. This guy (who had like maybe 200 people dancing to his stuff four years ago) saw people filling up the space in the front of the stage. The show as always was fantastic, with Jeremy performing a couple of new songs. The crowd were on their feet and all the ladies were smiling bright eyes at the man. Jamie (who plays the saxophone for Jeremy Loops) is really good (and good looking) and he also proved later that he really does have the music abilities of real rock star during the course of the weekend.
Gangs of Ballet (who are considered one of the best acts in the country) were up next. I must say their music reminded me a lot of ISO. They replaced Wonderboom (who pulled out a few weeks before the festival). I’m sure Cito them would have rocked it like they did at STRAB last year. All of us were waiting for the headline act of the day, Springbok Nude Girls. 20 years and still rocking, the rock band that we had on our mix tapes when we were in high school and shaped our hungry post apartheid minds gave a show and half, so major horns to them. You could also hear that they haven’t perform together for a while – there were a few vocal mistakes, but the fans carried the songs. They played songs like “Supergirl”, “Blue Eyes” and “Bubblegum on my boots”, much to the crowd’s delight.
But the night didn’t end there, the Jagermeister made way for more rock and Red Huxley was mind blowing. Their front man looks like Laudo Liebenberg’s lost twin, but man, what a show. I was chilling against the wall when some drunk doofus decided to fall over, bumping his head open on the wall. I might be a cow but I’m not inhumane and we helped the guy to the medic tent. After Robot who was after Red Huxley is band to watch because their high energy levels of rock doesn’t stop. Cliff and the boys rocked the crowd like it’s the last night on earth.
Saturday morning was a hot one from 7 AM – and yes, a tent is not an air conditioned room. The line for coffee was ridiculously long as well as the possibility for breakfast. Bad news for humans, good news for cows as we chowed some grass (and no religious leader was involved). We grabbed our sun screen, floating devices, water bottles and towels and made our way to the river. It was a nuclear explosion of colour and the river seemed never to be filled completely because as you look back to the shore, people just continued coming in.
My favorite brass band, Grassy Spark opened the summer day and had the people jamming in the water. Dave Ferguson joined almost every single performing band on the river stage bringing a new edge. Beach Party were prefect for the river stage with their lekker vibey music and next was Naming James with their tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Most people have never heard of them in Cape Town but the crowd reaction was fantastic. Al Bairre was pretty neat but my humans had a hectic sun burn and my fellow Gomez the cow got lonely. Piet Botha and Akkedis then closed the river stage with their signature sounds while we went up to catch some shuteye before night fell.
Matthew Mole is when we woke up and slowly crawled back to the Jagermeister stage. Everyone around us said “He is so sweet. And they were right, he is as sweet a double thick fudge milkshake. Sadly, I missed Beatenberg (whose songs have been making waves in the SA Music scene) but I caught Stefan Dixon (who was at Up The Creek for his first time. His set had the people’s feet moving and tapping before it was time to move over to the MK main stage. I listened to The Runaway Train Cult with one ear while we bought some dinner and ate it at our campsite before Hot Water entertained us again.
Shortstraw was epic and fitted right in with the festival musical style. Next Desmond and the Tutu’s were up and don’t throw rocks at me, but as much as I like their music, I have to admit that I don’t like their live shows. It was my second time seeing them live and it was just not there at all. Next up were The Black Cat Bones and you could feel the air sizzling with excitement. Some people reminded me of laughing pack of hyenas. First the big boss of Blue Moon aka Up The Creek comes up to stage dressed in rat suit, which had us in stitches and then Conrad “DJ Dirtroad” Jamneck introduced the band is his near gone voice. What a show! Chris Danger Thundervolt (with broken wrist and all) did all of his hat tricks, hand stands and Andre was back in action (after becoming a first time daddy). They rocked our pants off. Jaco Mans (who stood in for Andre on their last tour) was also on stage and the two guitarists just melted our faces.All in all it was a high energy level show, blowing the Nudies out of the water.
The double vodka and Red Bulls were kicking in seriously and I was happily waiting for Taxi Violence. For 7 years in a row this band (which has been going for 10 years) have rocked the Creek. To many fans it was the show of the weekend and George van der Spuy has to be given a high-five and a “Well Fucking done Sir” for his vocals. We couldn’t believe that their show was over almost in an hour. The night held not only stars, but newspaper burning, butt naked streakers running across the stage and a little makeshift fireworks show. Besides the Taxi boys, Bed on Bricks rocked the house good and proper at the Jagermeister stage. Saturday night at Up The Creek is always the craziest, hardest and the shortest, and this was definitely one for the books.
I don’t remember all of the conversations and “rolled cigarettes” but the Sunday I needed pancakes, my blankey and a teddy (preferably looking like George). To my cow tail it was a great surprise to see Gareth Wilson and his tattooed arms waving to the crowd. The Sunday morning stage was opened Dave Ferguson while we had breakfast and started packing up. We didn’t want to miss Coelacanth (a band made out of Andre Kriel, Gareth Wilson and Jaco Man). They were the prefect band and played the perfect music to sum up that morning. I overheard a donkey fart that this was Coelacanth first performance, so boys, keep it. See you at STRAB.
Next it was time for the The Anne Hirsch Show live. She interviewed George van der Spuy and in typical Anne “Stalker” Hirsch style she made him blush and down two Titanics. She tickled funny bones and made us think she’s a little nuts – a lady so true to our hearts. Kite Rider (Jon Savage new band) entertained us further in their girls dresses and made us laugh at their songs. Jon who was MC for most of the weekend did an outstanding job. Up the Creek ended with the Lyzrd Kings (which has become somewhat of a tradition). All and all Up The Creek has come and overpowered us again and will not be tamed. It was a little fuller than usual and one more coffee stand would have made it more pleasant. Bless the pink tent showers but the shower heads could have been a little higher – there are not that many midgets in the world.
Thank you to Anna Mart Halderman for the arrangements for my human and I. Team Up The Creek 2014 you rock! If you would like to find out more about Up The Creek, visit their official website or like them on Facebook. Huge thanks to Royal Lens Photography for the use of their photos – you can view more pictures on their Facebook page.
If you were are at Up The Creek this year, feel free to comment and share your views about this year’s festival. If you’ve enjoyed my recap, feel free to share this article 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.
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.