About January every year the excitement begins to build in anticipation of my annual pilgrimage in the name of music, a river and some good times. Up The Creek music festival has a special place on my calendar and in my life and despite no two UTC’s ever being the same; they have all been more than spectacular in different ways.
I am not a festival-fundi by any means, but I have it on good authority that this is one of South Africa’s best and judging by how long it has been running, the quality of bands both past and present and by the people who attend year after year, I can well believe it. Besides, no other festival can beat the unique setting?
The stages and campsite are well laid out, the food vendors excellent, there is never an issue with toilets and you can often get a shower if that is your thing, but what really pushes this one to stellar level really is the ‘creek’.
This is no muddy puddle mind you, but a full on river by the name of Brede!
Unless you have experienced the sublime bliss of floating about in the cool water on a very hot day, drink in hand, friends within bobbing distance; your feet and head nodding to the sounds of a live band who may or may not be staged mid-river, then my friend, you have not lived at all. The music is good but it is oh-so-much-better with the amphitheatre of the Brede River to rock out and strobe lighting replaced with the colours of a thousand inflatables.
Evening time and the move up to the camp site takes place with prime focus on all music. This year I leaned towards the ‘rock’ genre, late nights being the trend; Beast was incredible, as was Goodnight Wembley, December Streets, Woodstock Mafia – all new to me; with some already-favourites just as pleasing – Karen Zoid, Peachy Keen (my fave from last year), Akkedis, Dave Ferguson – so many more!
My weekend winner though had to be the 2 hour set on Saturday night by Taxi Violence ‘and friends’, each bringing something different to the mix. Of course there are elements that don’t hit the happiness bell – the bugs, the odd over-enthusiastic twat with no sense of personal space, that couple having sex in the river during my morning walk, again I say – the bugs!
But any niggling irritation is a minor blemish compared to the immense pleasure and sense of freedom experienced throughout the long weekend. Except that sinking feeling you get as you head back to the city and face the reality that you have a whole year to get through until the next awesome Up The Creek.