SAGGY STONE BEER AND MUSIC FESTIVAL 2019

It was that time of the year again and this year Bryn, Natasha and I decided to be environmentally friendly. We met in Durbanville and hopped in Bryn’s car for the two-hour drive to Saggy Stone. Saggy Stone is an established brewery in the Nuy River Valley between Worcester and Robertson. Each year they host a one day music festival and this year there were to be 13 bands performing. You could feel the excitement as we drove through the Huguenot Tunnel.

Once again this year we had booked in to the amazing Nuy Valley Guest Lodge – there is a camping and “glamping” option at Saggy but being seasoned festival junkees, we prefer the comforts of a warm bed after a long night of beer and music. Nuy Valley Guest Lodge is massive and can accommodate up to 100 people in well decorated rooms or in the backpackers which is a converted cellar. It is an ideal venue for a wedding as we were to find out much later.

We checked in with the ever so friendly and efficient Elisia who managed to find two next door rooms for the three of us – again this would prove convenient much later.

The drive from the Lodge to Saggy is about 10km on a very good dirt road. We parked in a field about 500m from the entrance and as usual there were tractors and trailers waiting to take us to the venue, which is nestled in the very picturesque valley. We felt like 7 year olds as we excitedly climbed into the rickety trailer full of eager music fans.

At the gate we were met by efficient and friendly staff who quickly scanned us in and informed us that because we had early bird tickets, to help ourselves to a complimentary festival lager – and so it began. The first three hours until 1pm, beers were just R20 for a 500ml draught so there was no hesitating. In fact it felt like a race!

We caught the end of Crosscurrent who sounded pretty good and then settled in to our chosen spot under the shade of a bedouin tent in front of the stage. I had seen Josh Kempen perform before, as the support act to Just Jinger. I think his roots are in Australia, he sounds American and lives here. His music was perfect and mellow, easing us slowly into a long day and night of great music.

This year Saggy had arranged a selection of drinks, so it was not just a beerfest. There was pink gin and tonic on tap, red and white wine, rum and coke and Jack Daniels had set up a stand where you could partake in their famous brew. Natasha had a few festival beers and then switched to wine. Bryn and I stuck to beer. There were several varieties on offer – the Desert Lager, Dark Horse Lager, California Steam Ale, Rocky River Pale Ale and even a Big Red Ale. We tried them all – all were delicious and perfect for a steamy hot day. My favourite was the Desert Lager.

Manny Walters is a blues rock singer guitarist with long dreadlocks. When he took to the stage I though we might get some reggae but it was solid blues rock and excellent. It was the first time we had seen him perform and I will be looking out for his future gigs.

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By now it was 2pm so the “happy hour” was over and an extraordinary band then took to the stage. Hellcats are a two piece down and dirty rock n roll band. For me this was the performance of the festival. Aless on drums and vocals was simply mind blowing while Warwick on guitar was outstanding. I have never seen a vocalist play drums and it must be quite difficult to do. I know we should never compare bands to international acts, but Hellcats reminded me of Wolfmother. They have an album out called The Hex and the Healer. I’ll be buying it.

We had seen Southern Wild many times before. With Dave van Vuuren, a past Idols winner on lead vocals and guitar, this is a solid rock band. Easy Freak were not my “cup of tea” but the younger generation seemed to enjoy them.

Opposite the Other is another band that we have seen many times before and they are absolutely great. With Sam Burger on lead vocals and keyboards, he really got the crowd in the mood for the evening session. We were up off the grass, singing and clapping along to their great pop/rock melodies.

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By now it was time for some lunch which we decided to do while Freshlyground were playing. This year there was a vast selection of food trucks – we started off with some deep fried sticks from the macaroni truck and then I selected a fillet steak roll with chillies while Bryn and Natasha went for the burger and chips. All were absolutely delicious. We were a little disappointed that the pizza had again run out (last year was the same) but such was the selection of other food, that it did not matter much.

Time to get another Desert Lager and back to the main stage for a crowd favourite – Karen Zoid. She certainly is an entertainer. She started her set with the well known “Aeroplane Jane” which certainly got the crowd into action. The rest of her set was excellent as she strutted her stuff on stage.

The sun had now set and it was bit cooler. Thankfully the wind did not blow this year so it was not cold and there was less dust around. Shortstraw are also a crowd favourite and I love watching them perform. They played all their hits but the one I really enjoyed was a song I had never heard before – all about the Synthesiser. Must try to get it.

By now 11 hours had passed since we had consumed our complimentary early bird beer at the entrance. Francois van Coke from Fokofpolisiecar leapt on to the stage. He was excellent and again got the crowd rocking and singing along to his Afrikaans songs. We decided it was time to leave so unfortunately missed out on Jack Parow as well as The Kifness and Matthew Gold.

Back at the Lodge the wedding was in full swing and we popped in to see what was happening. Before we knew it, we were invited onto the dance floor and made friends with the bridal couple and guests. We even had our requests played by the excellent DJ. Eventually well after midnight we headed back to our shared patio for a final beer and some snacks consisting of chocolate and chips! Did I mention all the cigars?

Once again Saggy did not disappoint. An amazing setting in the Valley, delicious beer and food, and most of all a great line up of fabulous SA musicians. Saggy, we will see you again in 2020!

https://www.facebook.com/SaggyStone/

https://www.facebook.com/events/148448166016954/

http://nuyvallei.co.za/

https://www.facebook.com/Hellcats.Official/

https://www.facebook.com/oppositetheother/

https://www.facebook.com/mannywalters/

https://www.facebook.com/karenzoidofficial/

 

 

 

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WONDERboom ON THEIR #BoomSummerTour – CAFE ROUX – JANUARY 2019

We were still in the holiday mood, so when I saw that WONDERboom were to perform at Cafe Roux in Noordhoek, I knew it was a must see show. Their latest single “Praying Mantis” off their new album, is my current favourite radio song and in my opinion, the best song WONDERboom have ever put out.

We invited Peter and Dehbi to join us and decided to have a sundowner at Cape Point Vineyards on our way through. Sharon and I had never been there and we were taken aback by the breathtaking views from the restaurant. We sat outside on a near perfect evening, sipping a glass of their stunning Savignon Blanc. I opted for one of their home-brewed lagers – delicious.

We headed to Cafe Roux for a delicious supper. Peter and I had the rump steak, while Sharon and Dehbi opted for the pasta. The quality of food at Cafe Roux is always outstanding – it is a simple menu but all the dishes are top class. Cafe Roux is also one of the best live entertainment venues in Cape Town and one where you can get up close and personal with the performers. The restaurant was packed to witness WONDERboom’s last show on their #Boom SummerTour. They intended heading back to Johannesburg soon after the show.

I was excited, but even more so when I saw one of my favourite Mix 93.8FM presenters arrive. Kerry Anne Allerston hosts The Hangout on Mix FM on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. She is a high energy DJ and often has interesting guests in studio who perform live. She also hosts Balcony TV show. Needless to say we shared a few Tequilas and Jaegermeisters as the evening progressed.

WONDERboom have been rocking SA audiences for the past 22 years. They describe themselves as SA’s longest running, ass-kicking, live rock band and have recently released their new album entitled “Rising Sun”. Needless to say I purchased my copy and the band obliged with their autographs!

Their live show is seriously ass-kicking. After starting off with “Trippin” next up was my special request – “Praying Mantis”. Well that really got the crowd in the mood. WONDERboom are Cito on vocals and guitar, Martin Schofield on lead guitar, Wade Williams on bass guitar and Jonathan Bell on drums. All four are great guys and easy to talk to.

Their first set included the eVoid number, “Shadows” and a cover from a band I recently saw at Kirstenbosch Gardens – The Pixies “Where Is My Mind”. In the second half they really upped the tempo playing their well known singles, “Great To Be Alive”, “Oo La La” and “On The Radio”. By now Kerry Anne and I were on our fourth shot and out of our chairs, dancing between the tables.

For the encore they played two great SA classics – Rabbit’s “Charlie” and Juluka’s “Africa”. It was truly a memorable evening at Cafe Roux and possibly the best live show I have witnessed at this great venue.

https://www.facebook.com/WONDERboomBand/

http://www.wonderboom.co.za/

https://www.caferoux.co.za/

http://www.mixfm.co.za/

https://www.facebook.com/thehangout938/?ref=br_rs

 

 

VERTIGO DEBUT PERFORMANCE AT CAFE ROUX

We had the privilege of being invited to the debut performance of VeRTiGO at Cafe Roux in Cape Town. We invited our friends Bronwen and Garrick to join us, not really knowing what to expect.

VeRTiGO is a musical collaboration between Carina Bruwer and Mauritz Lotz both renowned musicians on the World stage. Carina is well-known as a member of the award-winning instrumental pop trio, Sterling EQ and a world-famous flautist. She is also famous as an open water swimming champion being only the third person to ever cross False Bay and is ranked in the world’s top 50.

Mauritz Lotz is an acclaimed guitarist and music producer. He has performed alongside the likes of Chris De Burgh, Dave Matthews and most recently Crash Test Dummies on their recent SA Tour. He has opened with other SA artists for Joan Armatrading, Eric Clapton, Sting, the Bee Gees and the Rolling Stones. Impressive credentials! He also produced the Sterling EQ’s albums.

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Carina has discovered the slide flute and is one of only a handful of artists worldwide that play this instrument. She loves it and says that it lends itself to rock and pop – and so a collaboration with Mauritz was a “no brainer”.

They kicked off their performance with the Pulp Fiction theme song by Dick Dales and this really got the audience in the mood. This was followed up by an amazing rendition of Carlos Santana’s “Europa” which built into a crescendo of guitar and flute playing in unison.

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Throughout the evening the tempo moved from upbeat rock to gentle melodies such as the famous Sting track “How Fragile We Are”.  I was in for a surprise as I was not aware that Carina had such a beautiful voice as she and Mauritz were both on vocals for this Sting classic.

They also played one of Mauritz’ own compositions “Paradox” which was definitely not a lullaby and also did a wonderful version of the Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Carina on vocals and the slide flute.

I had noticed that the other members of Sterling EQ were in the audience and we were in for a surprise and a real treat. VeRTiGO were joined on stage by Ariella on the cello and Luca on the violin for just one song and they had such fun playing together – the crowd were delighted. In fact Luca commented that they had stolen the show – well almost!

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Before we knew it, time was up and after playing a Pavarotti track and the theme from Gladiator they finished with an encore of Latina and Spanish dance music.  We had had such fun and clearly so had Mauritz and Carina especially, as she was beaming from ear to ear.

I hope to see a lot more of VeRTiGO on the local music scene and wish them every success in their venture. Thanks for a wonderful evening.

http://carina.co.za/

http://www.mauritzlotz.com/

http://www.sterlingeq.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sterlingeqofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/events/876652212508488/

ALCHEMY OF ROCK – KALK BAY THEATRE

If you haven’t yet been to a show at the intimate Kalk Bay Theatre then this may be the one for you. Alchemy of Rock is a high energy, song and dance show celebrating classic rock across the decades. Written and directed by Ash Searle and Vanessa Harris the show features the directors as well as Brad Searle, Liam McDermott, Hannah Hishin and the ever popular Lucy Tops.

It was the best way for me to celebrate my 60th birthday. Kalk Bay Theatre has a small upstairs restaurant with a simple delicious menu. I had the seared trout which was amazing but you can also order calamari, sirloin steak or pasta. After a few glasses of red wine we were in the mood for dancing and singing along to some classic rock music.

The show started with all the cast on stage and Brad on the decks. We were treated to some hard rock such as ACDC, Nirvana and Guns n Roses before mellowing to tunes from Dire Straits, U2, Pink Floyd and the Doors. There must have been over 50 songs featured in the show – every one easily recognisable and we were able to sing along. I must say that the lighting was incredible and contributed to a most enjoyable and entertaining experience. Fleetwood Mac, The Knack (My Sharona) one of my all time favourites, Aerosmith, The Cranberries, The Beatles and so the list goes on!

We clapped. We tapped our feet. We laughed. We cried and we sang at the top of our voices. Brad was great on the keyboards and acoustic guitar while young Hannah enchanted us with her deep sultry voice. Of course Lucy was on top form and this was to be her last show with Alchemy of Rock as she is starting a new play at Fugard Theatre. She will be difficult to replace.

For the encore, Vanessa invited everyone to  the tiny stage to sing and dance with the band. We all obliged and I got to sing a few verses with Lucy – I hope the microphone was turned off! What an evening. What a show. If classic rock is your thing then this is the show for you but it only runs to 2 June – so get there soon and be ready to rock!

https://www.facebook.com/thenewkalkbaytheatrerestaurant/

http://www.kalkbaytheatre.co.za/

 

STERLING EQ PAINT CAFE ROUX RED

We have seen Sterling EQ perform on several occasions but never at the intimate venue – Cafe Roux in Noordhoek. And the electronic trio did not disappoint! Once again we arrived early to enjoy a delicious meal – this time I had the amazing Cheddar Burger and Sharon had the Pulled Pork along with the usual Jack Black Lager and a Citrus gin and tonic. It was going to be a great evening.

Sterling EQ consist of three stunning young ladies who play instrumental pop. They were introduced onto stage by the delightful Matre D who explained that he was not sure whether his eyes or ears would enjoy the show more! Sterling EQ arrived on stage in their signature short red dresses looking sophisticated in high heels, sparkling earrings and bangles. Carina plays the slide flute, Ariella the cello and Luca the violin. I was surprised to see a set of keyboards on stage – obviously there was to be a guest artist!

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They started their set with instantly recognisable Johnny Clegg music including Impi and then moved on to the famous Mike Batt song – Caravan. The three take turns in chatting to the crowd and introducing their songs and move around the stage, each taking a turn at centre stage. What I really love about their shows is the fun they seem to have on stage. They are always smiling or laughing, clearing loving what they do – well we love what they do too.

My favourite on the night was when they played Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”. During the course of the evening they were joined on stage by keyboard player Jaconel Mouton which brought another dimension to their already amazing sound.

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Several of the songs that they perform are of Celtic origin and they also performed a beautiful song composed and written by the extremely talented Luca Hart. Both Luca and Ariella are music teachers. Another song I loved was written by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull who brought the flute to popular music back in the 60’s.

Towards the end of the evening they played a Handel song that is over 300 years old – quite amazing – and finished off their set with the well known Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Once again Sterling EQ had wowed the audience with their professional, high energy and visually stunning performance. They are celebrating a decade in the industry and have a new album out to commemorate the occasion. It’s called 10 years and includes three new tracks.

Thanks so much Carina, Ariella and Luca as well as the venue, one of the best music venues in Cape Town, Cafe Roux in Noordhoek.

https://www.facebook.com/sterlingeqofficial/

http://www.sterlingeq.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/357095418128409/

https://www.facebook.com/caferouxCapeTown/

TAILOR – 1000 MILES – CAFE ROUX

Three time SAMA nominated Tailor is one of my favourite SA artists and she has just returned to South Africa after a lengthy tour of the UK. Sharon and I arrived early to secure the perfect table in front of the stage and then had a delicious meal – I had the Sirloin steak with roasted veg and Sharon the steamy winter soup accompanied by my favourite craft beer, Jack Black Lager.

Tailor is unique – she has managed to find something that differentiates herself from other indie rock artists. She immerses herself in her music and displays many emotions during her show – from tears to shaking, staring and only occasionally smiling. I found myself captured by her music and haunting lyrics. She sings beautifully and then screams. She bangs not only her drum but also the stage and the walls. Tailor has amazing stage presence.

She has released three albums to date, her first in 2012 entitled The Dark Horse which includes my all time favourite track – “Wolf” which she played towards the end of her set. Then in 2014 she released Light and in 2016 her latest album “Trust Part 1”. I hope that implies we are soon to have the pleasure of listening to Part 2.

She played a selection of tracks off all three albums including “Why Don’t You Love Me” and “Shaped Like a Gun” off her debut album. She also introduced us to a few new tracks including one called “Cocaine”.

 

The Tailor live show is a real treat as it’s not just about the music – there is drama and acting which is extremely entertaining. She was joined on stage by a guitarist and keyboard player who had to follow Tailor’s lead which he did to perfection. Before we knew it the show was over and Tailor was there to meet the guests and sign her new merchandise including tee shirts and Tailor post cards with personal messages.

Thanks for a fabulous performance Tailor and Cafe Roux for the great venue and food! See you soon. Catch Tailor on her 1000 Miles Tour at a venue near you.

https://www.facebook.com/thisistailor/

https://www.facebook.com/caferouxCapeTown/

http://thisistailor.com/

 

WATERSHED PLAY CAFE ROUX- CBD

My school friend Victor was down from Johannesburg and he invited us to see Craig Hinds and the guys from Watershed perform at Cafe Roux in Cape Town CBD. Watershed are a hugely successful band who have been around a long time – strangely I don’t recall ever seeing them perform live despite the fact that they have performed at Kirstenbosch Gardens on several occasions.

Watershed are an acoustic folk rock band with a country influence and comprise lead singer Craig Hinds with his unique and distinctive vocals on acoustic guitar, harmonica and keyboards, James Sunney on bass guitar, Howie Combrink on acoustic guitar, ukulele and bass drum, and Gideon Botes on lead guitar and vocals.

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We had never been to Cafe Roux in town so were looking forward to something different. The venue is much more modern with tables tiered on two levels for easy viewing of the band. It is a small venue and tonight is was packed to capacity creating an amazing vibe. The menu mainly consists of pizza and pasta – my pizza was excellent. They also serve a variety of cocktails as well as craft beers.

Watershed rose to fame in 2000 with the release of their signature song INDIGO GIRL which they played along with other of their classic hits. My favourite Watershed song of the moment is THE RIVER SONG. They played for an hour and 45 minutes with Craig switching between his acoustic guitar and keyboards. He had the crowd mesmerized with his lyrics and by the end of the evening we were all out of our seats and dancing in the aisles.

 

They played two covers, HALLELUJAH by the legendary Leonard Cohen, recently deceased and MR JONES by Counting Crows. Both were outstanding. At the end of the evening I managed to purchase their 2015 CD entitled WATCH THE RAIN which the band signed for me. Watch out for their new album due out in April 2018.

“How about a picnic in the sun, how about the movies in her eyes, or how about if I just stay inside and watch the rain! How about the new born baby girl, how about some music for the crowd, or how about if I just stay inside and watch the rain!”

We had an amazing musical experience and will certainly be back to see Watershed some time again soon. It was an amazing venue and great catching up with old friends.

https://www.facebook.com/Watershed/

https://www.watershed.co.za/

https://www.facebook.com/caferouxCapeTown/

 

 

STERLING EQ PERFORM AT KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS

It was a prefect evening for a picnic at Kirstenbosch Gardens and one of my favourite groups were performing under the shadow of our beautiful Table Mountain – STERLING EQ.

 

 

STERLING EQ are an all woman classic crossover group playing instrumental pop and consist of  CARINA BRUWER on flute, LUCA HART on violin and the stunning ARIELLA CAIRA on cello. Carina is an accomplished swimmer holding some South African and international swimming records while Luca is a qualified sound engineer. Together they hold several degrees in music. They formed in 2008 and have since performed over 900 live concerts across 13 countries and have been awarded a SAMA award. They have released several successful CD’s including PULSE in 2012.

 

 

Today they looked stunning on stage in similar matching outfits. Carina in an African pattern mini skirt and black leggings, Luca in matching tight-fitting longs and Ariella in a matching blouse and flowing black lace skirt. Gorgeous! The show is always high energy and fun and the ladies full of smiles. They play to an upbeat back track and their music is extremely diverse. Each member of the three-piece speaks to the audience, introducing the next songs and they interchange their positions on stage with each of them taking a turn to lead the performance.

 

 

Tonight they played a selection of music ranging from classical Bach to Johnny Clegg covers and even Jethro Tull’s Bouree. They also performed the theme song to Mission impossible. An hour of such fun!

We thoroughly enjoyed our family time at the high energy show while we soaked up the sun, enjoying our Cape red wine, cheese and biscuits.

It was then time for Carols by “glow stick” at Kirstenbosch with an all male choir and orchestra – getting us in to the Christmas spirit.

Thanks Kirstenbosch Gardens and the lovely ladies of STERLING EQ!

https://www.facebook.com/sterlingeqofficial/

http://www.sterlingeq.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KirstenboschSummerSunsetConcerts/

TEXAS – GREATEST HITS TOUR – CAPE TOWN 2017

Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the best venues to watch live concerts. The botanic gardens are situated at the base of the majestic Table Mountain one of the modern wonders of the world. The beauty of a live concert in the gardens is that you can take your drinks and snacks to enjoy while appreciating the music. Our MC for the night was the gorgeous Top Billing presenter, JADE HUBNER.

We decided to go as a family and packed our beers, gin and tonic, and wine accompanied by a selection of cold meat, cheese and biscuits. We managed to find a picnic spot reasonably close to the stage and were joined by our friend Chris.

Texas had two support acts which was a treat. First up was EMILY CAPELL a singer songwriter from North West London. Dressed in a short yellow mini dress and beehive hairstyle, Emily had a bubbly and fun stage presence. Her songs were upbeat, almost country and she easily interacted with the crowd and made me chuckle from time to time.

Next up was an SA band that I have not heard of for a while. HENRY ATE fronted by Karma Ann Swanepoel were a popular band in the 90s but split up in 2003 when Karma relocated to Florida. She now lives in Oregan I believe. It was great to see them playing some of their 90s classics including “Hey Mister”. Later in the set, they were joined by one of my favourite SA guitarists, ALBERT FROST. Karma was absolutely thrilled to be performing at Kirstenbosch Gardens – it was a dream come true for her, and us of course!

And finally it was the turn of TEXAS. Texas are from Glasgow, Scotland and are fronted by stunning Sharleen Spiteri. Texas were founded in 1986 and have released 10 studio albums including their debut album in 1989 called “Southside” and their 2017 album entitled, “Jump on Board”. Sharleen has also released a solo album.

They kicked off their set with a track from their new album called “Let’s Work It Out” but the rest of the set were all from previous albums. We seemed to know all the songs with classics such as “I Don’t Want a Lover”, “Summer Son”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “Say What You Want” and “Inner Smile”.  Sharleen loved chatting to the crowd in her broad Scottish accent and promised to return one day soon. She had the capacity crowd on their feet from the start of the show with everyone clapping and singing along.

They finished off their set by playing a song that Sharleen said we all should know from the first two chords – it took me a bit longer than that, but it was a cover from……….let’s see how long it takes you!

It was probably the best concert I have seen at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Sharleen and Texas, thanks for coming to visit our beautiful city. See you again soon.

http://emilycapellmusic.weebly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/emilycapellmusic/

https://www.facebook.com/henryate/

http://www.texas.uk.com/

https://www.facebook.com/texastheband/

 

RIVER REPUBLIC MUSIC FESTIVAL – NOVEMBER 2017 – ROUND THE BEND

A while ago, Bryn and I decided to do at least one music festival a year. We did River Republic in 2015 and then earlier this year we were at Up The Creek so this year we decided to return to River Republic which would be it’s third year.

Both River Republic and Up the Creek take place on the banks of the beautiful Breede River near Swellendam in the Western Cape. It is about a four hour drive from Cape Town. Peter and I traveled together. Just before Swellendam we turned on to a dirt road and headed down to the beautiful valley and the winding Breede River. River Republic takes place at the Felix Unite camp at Round the Bend.

We were greeted at the top of the valley and handed a complimentary Savanna. Savanna were sponsoring this year’s event and have brought out a range of flavoured ciders – rum, tequila and the lite version. It was going to be a long weekend so I opted for the lite.

Round the Bend have five luxury houses and we were accommodated in Langeberg. The houses sleep four in two en suite bedrooms on either side of a spacious lounge and kitchen. All houses are equipped with DsTV – full package. The large double sliding doors lead on to a wooden deck with our own private swimming pool and braai area looking over the river. Each bathroom has an outdoor shower which is really special. We were able to bring our own liquor to the house as well as our food although we could not take this down to the concert area.

The concert area was a short 10 minute walk from the house, easy to get to but the return journey up a rather steep and sandy hill became quite tricky late at night and after a good evenings entertainment.

There are also smaller A Frame chalets that you can hire for the weekend, or do as most of the music lovers did, just bring your own tent and camp. There was food on sale – pizzas, burgers, and Portuguese rolls as well as fully stocked bars.

We arrived on Friday in time to braai a few boerewors rolls on the fire and quench our thirst after the dusty drive down camp. Sir Sean Young (or so he calls himself) was first up doing the DJ sundowner session. There was a pop up gin bar from Woodstock and so we took advantage of testing out the beer, wine and tequila infused gin while enjoying the 80’s DJ set. Sean played some classic 80’s including Dire Straits and Madonna – a prefect way to start off what would be a superb weekend.

River Republic is a chilled music festival with probably only 500 guests so you start recognising faces and of course make new friends such as Gabriel and Iryna. The weather was superb and the concert goers were there in their swimming costumes, paddling in  the river or lounging on the magnificent rolling green lawns.

The Friday evening’s line-up included “Bam Bam Brown”, “Mobbing Bali” and my personal favourite on Friday – “MT Seas”. Most of the music was folk or rock but there were a few bands that played reggae and of course, later at night the DJ’s played.

We headed back to our house at around midnight with our new friends, Tash, Gabs and Iryna for a nightcap and snack and then a good nights sleep.

We woke up on Saturday to another peachy Africa day. After rustling up a full English breakfast we were ready for the day that lay ahead. First up was Emma-Jean, a cute young lady from Cape Town. She played acoustic folk on the patio while everyone nursed their sore heads with a strong cup of coffee. Her music eased us slowly into Saturday and she did a great cover of Bruce Springsteen’s – “Can’t Start  a Fire”. We then headed back to the house and spent the rest of the morning lounging by the pool on our colourful lilos followed by a delicious braai of rump steak that we had bought on our way through Riviersonderend. After the braai Peter chose to float down the river to the main stage in his inflatable boat.

My favourite act on Saturday was Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions. Ben Dey has an amazing voice and the rhythm guitarist is so talented. I also enjoyed BRYNN. I didn’t stay for the late evening acts – Nomadic Orchestra as well as The Kiffness but I believe the Kiffness were outstanding.

Between the acts, RR had set up a big screen TV in the bar area and so a few of us watched the Springboks give Italy a bit of a lesson in rugby.

We partied on our deck until the early hours of Sunday morning, woke up to another great English breakfast, and amazingly a little rain – I enjoyed my outdoor shower while the rain fell gently around me.

It had been an amazing music festival – everyone was so friendly and chilled, the bands were great – over 25 bands and DJ’s. We had such fun and are already planning our return to River Republic in November 2018.

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Thanks Caitlin and the River Republic team!