Imagine you could go back to your old childhood home and it’s exactly the way it was before. The same paint colour, the same cracks in the floor, the same smells. Now imagine you have one of the biggest parties there with some of your best friends. This how I can describe Woodcrock 11 to anyone and everyone.
Woodcrock 11 is Conrad Jamneck’s birthday party. You might know him from STRAB festival or Up The Creek. You can’t miss him, he is the guy with the painted van and he is the lead singer of The Fake Leather Blues Band. This time around he decided to make the impossible possible, he threw the party at Blue Moon. This famous venue (which closed 3 years ago) was woken up again like a sleeping beauty. It was good to hear rock ‘n roll music roll of the years. This is the home I’m speaking about.
I’m going to jump right in, my humans and I arrived early Friday morning to welcome the fresh smells of spring on the mountain. The whole theme of the weekend was Woodstock 69 so it was a lot of flowers in the hair, tie dye, old school looking clothes and a lot of old Blue Moon t-shirts. Yes, the minority of Nelsparta attended their home on the mountain.
The Cockpit Brewhouse (which is based in Cullinan) was the stockists for the bar and members of the A-Team bartenders tended the bar. The evening opened with local Nelsparta band, Gibraltar. These gents have been playing for almost a decade and a bit in the Lowveld and many times featured on the line ups of Blue Moon. Next was an acoustic set from The Barbosa Experience. Pedro and Peter got the crowd a bit loose but not footloose.
Wonderboom appeared on stage next and like a summer breeze everyone was there. 20 years and still rocking it, I’ve said so many times now. I believe Cito and Johnny Depp has the same genes, ageless. They had everyone crazy over them and with good reason – they really love playing at Blue Moon.
Everyone has been asking for months on end who the surprise band was, some guessed the Nudies, some Seether (if possible at all), and some guessed Fokofpolisiekar. The surprise band is one that last played together 3 years ago on the very same stage together. They were much loved by the MK following, they were on Avontoer, played main stage Up The Creek, they were at Splashy Fen, the Live (5) show…the one and only Nelsparta band of note – No One’s Arc.
Now many of you have never heard of them and that is real shame. I simply can’t begin to tell you the adventures my human and I had with them. They are funk, they are spunk, they are simply a band you fall in love the first time you see them. Announcing on stage that married couple in the band, Mimi and Bongani is expecting a baby made the evening even jollier.
They brought people together and made them jump like they did last week. After the bands last notes was played the DJ’s took over the dance floor and people congregated at the fires and in the bar. It was great to see so many people laughing, taking photos and even play the djembe drums. The party went everywhere and laughing could be heard through the night.
Saturday morning was an early one. My poor human twisted her ankle once again the previous evening and she wasn’t even drunk. She woke us up early and it was back to the bar for her. After a relaxing morning of coffee, catching up with friends next to the pool we headed up to the bar. The acoustic stage was on top of the hill and people were already patiently waiting for the music to start.
I did miss most of this as I fell asleep and my human was running around like chicken without a head, but we did catch glimpses of the shows. Janie Bay and her bae Deon made an appearance on stage. They were just visiting because they had another show in Nelsparta town. Gibraltar played another acoustic set, Piksteel (which is also a long running Nelsparta band) brought the Afrikaans into the weekend. Court Gibson (a girl from Graskop) was on djembe drums and the didgeridoo. There was more talent on stage, but like I said, the previous night caught up with me.
The sunset was just amazing and we were set to rock like hippies at Woodcrock 11. Birthday girl Vlooi and her awesome husband opened the stage (Hoot and Anny). If you have never seen them live make a note of their next show. Next was the all-girl rock group and everyone’s favourite trio Saarkie. They were the last band to play at the at Blue Moon’s closing party 3 years ago and they definitely have a special place in the hearts of their Nelsparta fans.
The Fake Leather Blues Band was up next. Conrad was kitted in his ring master outfit and took to the stage like a true rock legend. I think some people didn’t quite grasp what they were seeing and others loved it. The godfather of blues, Jack Hammer was next and they had all the blues fans hanging from their guitar strings and lips.
Next up to set the stage alight was The Black Cat Bones. Man oh man, this band makes the sweat drip off in places where you didn’t think you could sweat. They had a fantastic show! The bar was near empty during their show and packed right after. Everyone was thirsty! Akkedis closed off the evening with many people enjoying their show just as much as all the rest. Make sure to check out Akkedis new album “Onder Ou Tafelberg” (which was recently released).
With the dance floor now open to the late night owls, we were stuck in the bar. As usual many things happen that will always stay on the Blue Moon, hopefully forever. It was one heck of a party. It was like a massive family reunion between STRAB, Blue Moon and FORR for me. I saw many familiar faces that are a lot older now. Many of them used to kuier at Blue Moon in it’s glory days. It’s two weeks after the party I still miss it. We’ve gotten so use to our favourite spot being closed that we forgot what it felt like and the family we met there.
My human Marley and everyone down here in the Spruit would like to thank Conrad for being awesome. Thank you for getting the Blue Moon open for one weekend and making us all feel 23 again. We didn’t once ask “what is my age again” but we did ask, when can the next Woodcrock happen here?
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.