On the 18th of March Jaxxy, Nino and I made our way to Tolderia Resort (about 50 km from Ermelo in Mpumalanga) to enjoy Mieliepop 2016. We arrived at the venue somewhere between 2 and 3 PM and set up camp quickly. It would’ve been closer to 2 PM if I didn’t get my Golf stuck in the mud for about 15 minutes (and yes I’ve learned that the next time Nino says “don’t keep left”, I won’t keep left).
Before someone could say “Mielie” our first beers were open and we started to party at a steady pace – it was going to be a long weekend after all. Those cold ones went down extra smooth during the Naming James set (which featured an amazing song about Johannesburg) and We Are Charlie and Diamond Thug both played stunning sets that set the pace for an amazing evening of live music.
At 8 PM the Afroboer himself Gerald Clark blew the Mieliepop crowd away with his amazing lyrics and blues riffs and before someone could say “Jagermeister”, shots were flowing at the festival bars and people were getting into a jovial mood. Bye Beneco entertained the crowd next with their blend of mesmerizing before it was time for Black Math.
The highlight of Friday evening has to be these Durban Rockers. They are definitely a band that should have been signed to a major label yonks ago. It’s a pity that they don’t play many shows in Gauteng, but I really hope venue owners start booking them more – I need my Black Math fix more often.
Bittereinder were up next and they had the crowd bouncing and singing along to their blend of Rap ‘n Roll in no time. The rest of Friday night was a blur of intense bouncing session during HAEZER’s set in the Rave Cave and a crazy amount of Jagermeister shots and mad dancing sessions at the Bar (thanks to Jamie Sharpe & DJ Legend).
Saturday morning’s hangover was an evil one, largely thanks to slimmie pitching his Neon Blue tent in the scorching sun. The day got off to a slow start, but thanks to Skillie, Alda, Ruan and the rest of their posse I was up and about by at least 1 PM.
Even though I was brutally hung over I eventually caught a bit of Late Night Fox, Boxer, Tidal Waves, The December Streets, Grassy Spark, Die See and Bark (all who played entertaining sets) and eventually settled in to watch the Blazin Gooch (one of the bands to watch in 2016).
The highlight of Saturday night has to be Hellcats. This two piece no-nonsense Blues Rock band made their way onto the Willow Tree stage around 6:45 PM and completely blew everyone who watched them away. If you have not seen these Joburg boytjies live, you should really make an effort, they’re totally amazing (even my once skeptical friend Collette agrees after watching them).
Sadly I missed the Ultra Natives, but I did caught a glimpse of BCUC before it was time to dance my arse off and get my instrumental music fix thanks to Nomadic Orchestra, get impressed by Manouche’s funky swing vibe and get my Indie fix thanks to Shortstraw – and just before I thought things couldn’t get better, it was time to admire to admire the moshpit during the Fuzigish set and to enjoy some more kickass tunes at the bar. I think I crawled into my tent around 2 AM.
Sunday’s party started a bit slowly but kicked off early with some deep lyrical vibes from Adele Ngeto, a lekker vibey set from The Lectric Monks, mesmerizing African sounds thanks to Urban Village and some cool chilled out vibes thanks to Josh Kempen, Sutherland and the Shabeen.
Coelacanth (a no nonsense trio made up out of Gareth Wilson, Andrie Kriel and Jaco Mans) played some amazing tunes before it was time for Georgetown (who brought out the Hillbilly in everyone) and the Tazers (who rocked everyone out with their fast paced rock ‘n roll).
As the sky turned orange around dusk, things got interesting thanks to Blomtrein, Sol Gems and the Rambling Bones before things got serious thanks to the Oh So Serious. After this things went to the next level with amazing performances by Albert Frost, The Moths and The New Academics (who are releasing a much anticipated new album soon).
Next my Mieliepop 2016 attention was divided between excellent performances by the Black Cat Bones (who never disappoint with a live show), Art Snakes (who proved that rock ‘n roll was alive and well) and Mr Cat and the Jackal (who said goodbye to one of the long time members, Pierre).
Eventually the party started at the bar (thanks to the Bobbejaan DJ’s), but before I knew I was sound asleep in my tent around 1 AM. We did get a flat tyre on the way home, but other than that the drive back to Pretoria was a breeze.
Kudos to the Henk, Willie, Niel, Johan, Coenraad and everyone else who was involved in pulling off one hell of a festival. The toilets at Mieliepop 2016 were clean, the beers and shooters at the bars were cold and the vibe was totally amazing. The only hiccup was the ATM (which did not work), but luckily festival goers could withdraw money at the ticket gate (where there was mobile phone signal). See you next year at Mieliepop 2017.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Photography category on Running Wolf’s Rant.