Up The Creek Music Festival: 30 Facts That You May Not Know

In case you did not know, Up The Creek Music Festival is turning 30 years old in 2020!



Many of you reading this article has not made your way to the that infamous farm on the banks of the Breede River, so you probably don’t know much about the festival (especially those of you who don’t live in the Western Cape).

Up The Creek - South African Music

I was very lucky to attend this amazing festival in 2012 and 2015 and I will never forget how awesome it was. I’m not able to make it in 2020, but if you can make it there, do it, you won’t be disappointed.

It’s a fact that that Up The Creek Festival has a rich history, let’s delve into a it a little bit…

Here are 30 facts that you might not have known about Up The  Creek Music Festival:

1. Up the Creek will never sell more than 2,500 tickets for the festival

In 2015 the organizers sold 2,900. It was just too much, the organizers prefer a small intimate feel with little to no queues.

2. They are trying to erase single-use plastic from the festival

This includes festival bars, traders and all other operations. They are also encouraging punters to do the same.

3. 137 people are employed by the festival every year

This includes organizers, bar staff, stage managers, sound peeps, etc.

4. The Blues Broers played at the first edition of the festival

This year they are opening the 30 year reunion festival on the Main Stage.

5. Albert Frost has been to every single Up the Creek Music Festival so far

That’s impressive. Especially if you add that he’s also been to every single edition of Oppikoppi festival (since it’s inception in 1994).

Albert Frost Live

6. The organizers have been to a lot of Up The Creek festivals

The three main people in the production team have attended a combined total 30 Up The Creek festivals. Now that’s experience if you ask me!

7. This year’s edition will feature Ghetto Sessions

This is great news! Talented musicians from townships will be playing on their first real stage at their first festival this year.

8. It’s always been at the same venue

The festival has not changed venues since it started in 1990.

9. It was initiated as a surprise birthday party

Anthony Bumstead was the lucky recepient!

10. It’s the second oldest music festival in South Africa

That makes Splashy Fen the oldest and Oppikoppi the third oldest, right? #AskingForAFriend

Up The Creek Music Festival

11. There used to 2 editions of the festival every year

In the beginning, the organizers ran two festivals a year: 1 in Summer and 1 in Winter. They stopped the winter ones after about 3 years. They were the best parties but impractical (think festivaling and camping in the rain and mud…).

12. They used to feed everyone Spitbraai on the Saturday night

This happened in the early days of festival. Local farmer Andries (provider of spitbraai) resigned when the organizers asked him to do a 1000 pax! After Andries resigned, they hired a chef, who had a nervous breakdown an hour before dinner was due! They lost the tradition after that as no-one could get their head around it!

13. Up The Creek Music Festival has hosted two weddings

I remember one of them in 2012. Piet Botha was the MC at the wedding. There was also 1 near-wedding. Sadly, minutes before the ceremony of this wedding, the bride ran away with the grooms best friend and the puppy, bearing the ring, pissed on the red carpet. This was a very dark moment at Up The Creek.

14. There wasn’t a river stage until about 2010

Before this, everything happened on the hilltop. Now, the organizers can’t imagine not having the river stage!

15. There has been LILO rage at Up The Creek

This is thanks to their Anything That Floats competition.

16. VIP’s used to sleep in ox wagons

In case you did not know, there were 8 restored ox wagons surrounding the farmhouse.

17. The stoep of the farmhouse was the main stage

Energetic musicians like Josh Hawk used to bang their heads on the stoep roof and complain bitterly.

18. In the early days of Up The Creek, Albert Frost used to come along with his parents and watch his Dad perform

Frank Frost was the drummer of The Blues Broers. The organizers remember Albert as a young boy. He must have been around 12 years old and was occasionally invited onto the stage to play guitar with the band.

19. Conrad Jamneck is one of the Up The Creek girls

Just kidding. The core Up The Creek production team are all women. They are ably supported by the most amazing men.

20. Although the festival’s roots are predominantly rock, it has celebrated many different Arts genres

This includes African, Classical (String Quartet), Ballet (who will ever forget those gorgeous UCT Ballet students), Jazz, Blues, Pop, Indie and Comedy.

21. They support local bands only

On the odd occasion, an international act has made an appearance at the festival, but other than that, the festival is for showcasing our amazing local talent.

22. Their motto has always been “less is more” and “quality over quantity”

The festival never wants to get too big!

23. Their bathroom cleaning crew are amazing

The festival has had the same cleaning crew on duty for the past 7 years!

24. The festival has a neighbourhood watch system

This was introduced in 2015. There was a need for more eyes in the campsite. Security is a priority for the organizers, so they employed a group of people from Swellendam.

They are the Neighbourhood Watchers and they look after their own area every night from 6 PM to 6 AM. They report directly to the site manager with any issues.

25. They’ve been using the same electrician since 1990

This is amazing! Evans Coetzee has spent 30 years keeping the lights on and the music going at Up The Creek festival.

26. The festival goes through a lot of toilet paper

They go through rougly 2400 toilet rolls every single year!

27. It takes 10 days to get the venue festival ready

Respect. This is done by a small setup crew of only 6 people.

28. One year the river stage washed down the river

The river stage was found several meters from where it originally stood.

Up The Creek Music Festival: 30 Facts That You May Not Know 1

29. A float that was built for Jeremy Loops, sank

Luckily he wasn’t on it. It is still at the bottom of the Breede River. Somewhere.

30. The Savanna stage was welded together by Conrad Jamneck and James Frost

And is still holding up. Good job boys!

Well, there you have it, 30 facts that you might not have known about Up The Creek Music Festival.

Up The Creek Music Festival: 30 Facts That You May Not Know 2

This year’s festival is happening from 6 to 9 February! The line-up is amazing, featuring acts like Basson Laubscher, Southern Wild, The Blues Broers, The Kiffness, Albert Frost & Tubatsi Mpho Moloi, Bombshelter Beast, Gerald Clark and Hot Water (to name just a few).

It’s definitely a jol, and if you don’t have your tickets yet, you should get yours HERE NOW, before they sell out!

Watch this space for updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Raphael

    Those were the greatest 30 facts I’ve ever read!
    Thank you for all the great info looks like a great party
    I better get my tube ready
    Thank you have a great day

    1. Henno Kruger

      Thanks Raphael 🙂

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