Many of you have probably heard of Innibos or you’ve seen some SA rock bands updating their Facebook pages, saying something like “Heading off to Innibos, see you soon Nelspruit”. Many of you may not be aware of this, but Innibos is one of the biggest arts and music festivals on the Afrikaans circuit falling in the same league as Aardklop and KKNK. The difference is that Innibos is hosted in Nelspruit during the June school holidays and it’s one of the biggest events on the Lowveld calendar.
To those who still think Nelsparta is a one horse town (and yes, sometimes it tends to act that way) I just want to say that Innibos is around the corner you can forget about anything and everything. For example: The Foo Fighters could play a show at the Mbombela stadium and no one in town will lift an eyebrow or go watch the show. Like my good mate Jonathan Peyper would say “Die mense wil ‘n bietjie dans”…yip Innibos takes over completely.
For the last few weeks I’ve seen Hoërskool Bergvlam turn from a normal high school to an ant’s nest of activities. The rides (like the Merry-Go-Rounds, Big Wheel, etc) have been built and the final touches are being added. The beer tents and Bosmall tents are up and the electricity is being connected. The alcohol I’m sure has been ordered and 90% of the lodges, B&B’s, guest houses and other places of accommodation have been booked full. Innibos is the one week where coming to work with a babalas is a good a excuse although many people take leave during this period. Nelsparta gets Gauteng-like traffic and the rudeness comes along with it.
I’ve asked a few of my human friends to ask me questions that might help others decide to visit Innibos. So that you don’t get up on the front pages of local news papers like the Polisiekarre did a few years ago.
“What is Innibos and why should I come?”
It’s easy, Innibos is an arts festival, and if you have heard of Aardklop of KKNK then it’s the same thing. Lots of Afrikaans music on all levels with stage productions, art, a glorified flea market, beer (and lots of it) and of course music. You should come to see that Nelsprata is 1) not a one horse town 2) to support the local arts 3) to get your boogie down
“Where can I stay for the week of Innibos?”
That is such a good question. Firstly, dig into your mom’s old address book and find long lost family members details. Coach surfing is a popular choice as you make friends easier in Nelsparta than in Cape Town (no offence Cape Townians but it’s true). Most of the big name lodges, backpackers and B & B’s are booked out. It’s best to visit the Innibos Verblyf website. There are many people renting out guest rooms, empty apartments and other accommodation to festival goers. Take note that you can’t pitch your tent on the festival grounds, you might get trampled
“I’m not an Afrikaanse speaking person, can I still go?”
Yes of course you can, it’s not a different planet! There are lots of tourists that go there. Even some Americans survived it last year with us. You might have difficulty understanding the Afrikaans pop singers but if you park yourself at the Coca Cola Rock Stage you might find some English singing bands, totallyworth it.
“What can I expect to pay for a week at Innibos?”
It depends on how much you want to drink. You can drink during the day because it’s usually all nice and hot and sunny. In the evening you drink because it’s all dark, cold and busy. If you are planning to come the whole week best to buy a Week Ticket for R 400 or buy tickets for the you want to attend.
Tickets for Wednesday & Thursday cost R90 (up by R10 from last year). Tickets for Friday cost R125 (up by R5 from last year) and tickets for Saturday cost R160 (but that excludes golden circle access at the main stage because that is priced differently separate ticket). This gate price includes access to the main festival terrain where there is about 7 stages, the Bosmall, the joyride park and so much more. KKNK charges per stage where Innibos doesn’t do that all. It’s definitely a bargain.
“My friends have gone before and they didn’t like, I’m still in decisive.”
Look, if your friends jump off a bridge without a bungee cord will you do it as well? Most people don’t have the same taste, something you enjoy might not impress them as much. The same goes for Innibos. If you are fan of music and festivals and arts and stuff then you should go. If you don’t like big crowds, standing in line at bars or meeting new people then don’t come. At night is when Innibos gets alive with the buzz – during the day it’s a lot of kids running around with their parents. I say try it one night at least, if you don’t like it sell your ticket and go to Stoep restaurant across the road from Innibos for a dop.
“What are a few ground rules?”
- “Don’t be a doos”: Take note that on the roads we are not used to your Gauteng driving style. This is our turf and we drive like Slowvelders. Don’t look for shit with anyone wearing khaki, they will beat you up and don’t dance with a girl unless you have full permission from her boyfriend/husband/lover/brother – those khaki guys will corner you and probably moer you.
- Not all Nelspartans are idiots so don’t speak to us like we don’t know where your city or town is. We do get out a lot and meet a lot of new people. If we speak English with an Afrikaans accent then remember the song “Dis hemel op die platteland”.
- Keep it clean. You’re bound to find some weed (because we are close to Mozambique and Swaziland) but the cops still rule and they will lock you up if you try anything stupid.
- 2 AM is the cut off time. This rule applies even at the beer tents. They sommer tazer you outta of there, my bru, so behave yourself.
- Don’t grab a girl’s butt or do cat talk. If you want to see my human turn into the calm, cool and rocker girl that she is, then randomly grab her ass or do some cat talk. She will cut you quicker than Bruce Lee on a ninja high. Girls still need to be respected and 90% of guys forget this at a festival. I’m blaming the double brandy and coke special and the guys in Khaki.
- Beware of Stables. Let me warn you of this evil, name burning place. This is Nelsparta’s only “night club” and we locals have a saying “Pay R50 and get a free fight, you might be either be in the fight or a witness to it.”. They’re also pretty expensive, so don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.
- Watch your drinks! Yes, there are assholes who spike drinks at Innibos ladies, so be vigilant.
- If you experience trouble, then go to one of the security officers. I got lost last year and my human found me via the security company. They gave me coffee, a blanky and a sweet to suck while I waited, very nice guys.
“What SA bands will I know?”
So if you are like me and not really into the whole commercial pop scene then head off the Coca Cola Rock stage. Here you’ll find bands from 6 PM in the evening that will make you sweat, scream and sing. On the line up this year are SAARKIE, Cortina Whiplash, Karen Zoid, Van Coke Kartel, Habit to, K2 Band, Bittereinder, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Dan Patlansky, ISO, Gangs of Ballet, Tailor, Matthew Mole, The Black Cat Bones, The Jonathan Peyper Blues Band and a few others.
The Coca Cola rock stage is such an improvement over last year’s line-up, even though I couldn’t complain: I was drooling over aKING. This stage is probably the only one you will find me at. Die Heuwels Fantasties are going to play on the main stage as well but if you don’t want to burn your ears with pop music, then the rock stage is also where you can find them.
Innibos is a 5 day festival (if you want to include Sunday) that is hosted in Mpumalanga’s capital city. Visit your Lowveld friends, find me and my human for a drink and I will eat your pancakes. You can find food, cold drinks, mampoer, a range of local artists’ paintings and the smaller stages hosts all kinds of other musical talent. Don’t miss our friend Adriaan van As’ production of “Dam Duikers” at the Boma Kuierteater. There is so much to see and do here at that time you will want to come stay in the Lowveld. And you know there will be some other parties, but the only one I will take you to is to Stoep. This place has a funky vibe that will have you knocking drinks back till you fall over. There will be live entertainment in case you didn’t have enough already to keep you busy.
For more info, check out Innibos website or their Facebook page. If you like to see the day to day stuff from my human side then check her blog Facebook page.
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Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.
*Photo courtesy Vasti Lourens Photography.