The first ever Utopia Music Festival, held over the Freedom Day weekend ( 26-28 April ) at Nekkies, just outside of Cape Town looked to be an amazing weekend. The lineup, venue and the weather looked pretty solid to deliver what could be an amazing experience for all that attended.
I arrived pretty early on Friday afternoon, one of the first 20 or so campers to pull into the separately allocated area. Being a “work day” for most people I gathered that the masses would either arrive later that evening or early Saturday to enjoy a day at the river and some good food, comedy and of course the music(again, a line up that couldnt really go wrong) !
6pm rolled on, time to check out McGee at the main stage, passing the BOS tent where some acoustic vibes were happening, hung out there for a track or two then carried on my mission towards the main stage.
Was pretty shocked to see about 20 people mulling around the main stage, again I put this down to “working day, they on their way” , McGee and the rest of the acts that evening all performed to a crowd of around the same amount of people. I kinda felt bad for the event organisers and the bands, even though they all handled it like pro’s, their shows were tight, interaction with the crowd that was right up there and the sound was good, no faulting that at all.
Saturday pretty much followed suite on Fridays vibe, not as many people pulled through as I thought were going to.
Again the bands at the main Phoenix stage played to a handful of listeners throughout the day, Al Bairre getting the crowd moving about around mid day, things were looking a bit livelier than Friday night but the “mass” only really getting together for aKing at 8pm.
I had to roll out after aKings set unfortunately but The Plastics, Fokof (scheduled to play Friday night obviously moved due to crowd numbers) Desmond and the Tutu’s and Zaki Ibrahim seemed to have a decent crowd lined up to play to !
This event definitely has heaps of potential, the staff hired for the event, all friendly and helpful, food stalls were great and the entire layout and concept was solid.
Also, hearing that there was another well established outdoor trance festival (Jungala) over the same weekend and Afrika Burn happening the very next week I think people may have been tentative to dabble in a relatively new festival or to do both Utopia and the Burn.
Well done to the guys at Utopia Music Festival and Hype for starting something that has a great potential, looking forward to the next one.