We left Pretoria on Friday morning and embarked on a road trip to Lothair (in Mpumalanga) for the third edition of Mieliepop. The trip was quite uneventful apart from the near death experience we had involving a “brave” Toyota Hilux bakkie on the road between Delmas and Kriel (it seems that some people underestimate the power of their vehicles after all).
We arrived in Ermelo AKA “Hell” AKA “the place where people think that using ATM’s is rocket science” (the only explanation I have for the long queues at EVERY ATM in this town) around 12 noon, stocked up on booze and food for the weekend and gobbled down some KFC before hitting the quiet 50 km road to Lothair. We arrived at the Tolderia Resort (the venue for Mieliepop) around 3 PM.
After setting up tents and locking our smart phones in the car (since there isn’t much signal) we headed straight for the stage to watch The Faradays (a Pretoria musical duo who also performed on the Ray Ban stage at Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast this year). They were the perfect opening act for a weekend which would proof to be a most epic one. After The Faradays we were entertained by The Zeffer Band and the amazing 7 piece Crystal Park (a band which Jamie from Naming James calls “the only real country band in South Africa”) before embarking on a sunset float cruise (which was accompanied by a very pleasant cinnamon flavored rum cocktail and some awesome acoustic tunes).
As we got off the float we were welcomed by the soothing voice of Andra, followed by chilled out tunes of Some Grow Young, funky sounds from G-Force and good old fashioned rock ‘n roll from Aidan Martin and his band. All of these acts got the crowd into a good mood and had them dancing before you could say “Pieliemop”. The final act of the evening were Pretoria rockers Mrs B (who amazed the crowd with their blend of no-nonsense rock ‘n roll). After this we headed off to the cave bar for some epic tunes (courtesy of Conrad Jamneck and @BaasDeBeer) and partied the night away until the sun came up on Saturday morning.
After retiring to my tent for some epic shut-eye, I finally got up around 11 AM and enjoyed a fresh cup of Java (thanks to my good friend Katie) before making my way to stage in time to catch “The Legend” AKA Albert Frost. He set the mood for an epic day of music that turned out to be more than epic. Next up were the Smoking Mojos (an Pretoria rock band that has been making waves in the industry over the last few years), followed by The December Streets (who played an epic set and played in the perfect time slot on the line-up), Kinky Robot (another Pretoria rock band who have been making waves in the industry) and Naming James (who entertained the crowd with their cutting edge lyrics).
At 5 PM Radio Kalahari Orkes made their way onto the stage, entertaining the crowd with their on stage antics and having them dancing in no time. After a quick supper and tequila break SA Music legends Scicoustic entertained the crowd before Riders of the Storm (one of the most epic collaborations in SA rock featuring Albert Frost, Piet Botha, Valiant Swart, Mel Botes and Robin Auld) made their way onto the Mieliepop stage. I was completely blown away by this before experiencing what I call “synth-overload” courtesy of 1980’s Canadian pop legends Men Without Hats. After this it was back to the cave bar for an epic party of note before I finally crawled into my tent at 3 AM. We woke up just in time to enjoy a bacon populated breakfast and catch DADA FM on the Mieliepop stage before tackling the 3 hour drive back to Pretoria.
I have two regrets for Mieliepop 2013: I missed Shotgun Tori (who would’ve crawled into soul) and I missed Los Hermanos (which is said to be one of most amazing Latin guitar experiences in SA Music). I will have to make it up to BOTH of these acts in the near future.
The festival was well organized. There were plenty of toilets, plenty of food stalls and lots of camping space. The vibe was chilled out and hectic at times, but not as hectic as things can get at bigger festivals. The bar was a bit pricey, but I’m pretty sure that it’s something that the organizers can look at for the next edition.
Kudos to Coenie and every other member of the Mieliepop team for making this one an epic one. Kudos to Nino for getting me there and back in one piece and kudos to @LekkeCharlie and @BaasDeBeer for taking care of the food situation at our camp site. It was nice bumping into a large chunk of the Pretoria and Johannesburg faithful and I hope I see you all at next year’s festival.
What did you think of Mieliepop 2013? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome on Running Wolf’s Rant. More photos are available on the Henno Kruger Photography page on Facebook.
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