So we heard about Mieliepop Fest via twitter and looked into it, we hadn’t heard about this one before so were a bit intrigued. Keeping track of the goings on from earlier in the year… Noticing that Uriah Heep was going to headline, we paid a little bit more attention.
Leaving it all to the last minute, Tait and myself had been umming and aaahing about making the trek up there for quite some time, eventually we said lets make it happen. Now bear in mind, Tait had recently moved to Cape Town and myself being in Durban, logistically this was quite a feat. With little planning Tait arrived in Durban, we organised his brothers car (thanks junior) and that Friday late afternoon we made the 550 odd km drive from Durban to Mpumalanga. Neither of us having been that way before it was all a bit foreign.
Following the trusty Google Maps we made our way up and through the winding roads, saw some amazing landscapes lit up by the golden afternoon sun. It was cold, to say it was windy was an understatement, but we stopped a few times to snap off a few photos and move on through.
Google maps said we had over 7 hours in the saddle till we reached our destination. What else can you do but grab a bag of trail mix and turn up the music.
Thankfully we cut that 7+ hours down to a little over 5 hours and drove through Ermelo just as it was starting to get dark. A turn onto a dirt road and we could tell we were close. Heading through the darkness into the relative unknown, we saw the rock faces and the stage lit up with spot lights.
On arrival I must say the IQ level of those telling people where to go seemed to drop from entrance through ’til we reached our final camping spot. The guys just didn’t seem to know where we were supposed to be heading, in hindsight it could be that they spoke Afrikaans and we… well… don’t. Needless to say we found a spot to pitch tent and crack open the first beers, thanks &union 😉 they were great.
We could hear the band playing in the background and beer in hand we grabbed our gear and headed to the stage…
I must admit, I hadnt heard of the majority of the performers this weekend, bar the likes of Dan Patlansky, Jeremy Loops and of course… Uriah Heep. And there were a number of Afrikaans artists which performed. Regardless of the fact, we heard some great music this weekend.
Shotgun Tori was a definite highlight and one of the first artists we came across. Unfortunately we were so involved in the whole vibe we missed most of the Band names. Jeremy Loops once again had everyone up and jumping about with some great vibes. On Saturday morning while gathering our thoughts and finding something to eat, Tait and I were discussing roadies and listening to the guys doing soundcheck, thinking these roadies are pretty talented musically, soon after we realised it was actually Uriah Heep setting up on stage and getting their sound sorted, it wasn’t long before a crowd of followers and gathered around the stage, mesmerized by Uriah Heeps impromptu taster which set the mood for the rest of the day. Some of the lucky few managed to get their old LPs signed just after the guys headed back to their Chalets. It goes without saying that that evening, Uriah Heep were phenomenal. They were on stage for probably close to 2 hours, non stop classic Rock melodies ringing through our ears.
Something quite nice and a little different was ‘The Cave’ as it seems to be dubbed. A cave like area where everyone migrated to once the bands were finished, this is where the DJ’s kept the night going with a little outdoorsy dance floor situated in a.. you guessed it… a cave.
Onto the nitty gritty, the toilets were clean, there were PROPER toilets and really good portable toilets (not the usual green plastic things). And of course there were showers with HOT water, albeit small, but enough to throw some soap and water and make oneself smell a little more presentable.
The venue was outstanding, a beautiful setting, set alongside a dam and having heated pool surrounded by chairs and fire pits and luscious green grass to plonk our tents.
Having only found out a day into the festival that this was only the second Mieliepop Fest, we were thoroughly impressed, bar a few small hiccups which are really not even worth mentioning, the event was well put together, as mentioned the venue was stunning and the people we met and partied with were awesome.
A huge shout out to Tracey and the rest of the Mieliepop crew for hosting us and we look forward to seeing you next year!!!