Splashy Fen, South Africa’s oldest music festival, has been named one of the top 300 festivals in the world. When you experience the live music, street food, array of drinks available, relaxed atmosphere, the ice cold river with the abundance of people on inflatables, the fun activities in between and the funky/hippie fashion; you’ll totally get it. It’s really something to take in. Here’s a bit of what happened… sit back, because there is A LOT to share!
This year’s Splashy Fen festival attracted around 6000 people from all over South Africa. I think the incredible artists that played this year had a huge part to play in this. We had to do some serious planning each day to make sure we all got to see the artists we wanted to go see, and in between that we also discovered other sounds we probably never would have heard before. Mango Grooves made their first appearance at Splashy Fen. They were one of my highlights along with Splashy veteran, now on his 15th year, Dan Patlansky!
If you didn’t get it from my last Splashy Fen post, I really love Dan Patlansky’s music and more so watching him play. Although when watching him play this year, the crazy ladies jumping and screaming “We love you” next to me, made me realise I’m not the only one! Luckily I was able to have a few minutes to take a selfie and ask Dan “The Man” Patlansky a few quick questions:
- Having played at Splashy for 15 years, how has the music festival changed in your eyes?
On stage it feels the same. I know Splashy has had its ups and downs but I’m happy it’s still around. South Africa needs these festivals; specially to embrace the different cultures from these festivals.
- What brings you back to Splashy Fen year after year?
It’s a great atmosphere; there is also a lot of great sound and energy.
- Where will we see Dan Patlansky play next?
May/June I am on the Europe tour, however after June you can possibly see me play at Botanic Gardens and the Barnyard.
A Toti local band, the Gus Brown Band, are not new to the Splashy stage (well maybe the new River Stage). They shared some time to take a pic with me before performing and answered my quick questions.
What brings the Gus Brown Band back to Splashy?
“The vibe at Splashy has always been a big pull for us and with KZN being our people it gives us a chance to perform for the people we love and that show us so much support. A massive thanks to Stu Berry and his Splashy team though for bringing life back to such an awesome South African institution.” – The Gus Brown Band
The Food & Drink:
Before I start up on the food, because it’s going to take a while, I have to first give a cyber fist pump to the Splashy team for thinking ahead. You may be wondering, what I am going on about… When purchasing tickets everyone was given instructions not to bring beer/cider bottles to the event. On arrival, we were informed if we did have, there was an SAB tent swapping the bottles for cans. How brill is that? Good on ya Splashy team.
Flying Fish was a sponsor of the Splashy River Tent and when you arrived down there, you were handed a free can and informed of the specials going (there were hats and inflatables a part of the deal). I must say Flying Fish was soring with Splashy-Fenners. I was really impressed that you could swap your warm unopened can for a brand new cold one. Making life pretty convenient for those lounging in the sun by the river or the stage.
Craft beer also had its own section at the festival. Shane went for a watermelon flavoured craft beer, while I tried my very first craft G&T from the Standeaven Brewery. Nothing quite refreshing like those cold brews on a hot summers day.
Now, let’s get onto the real serious talk… the food. I did tell you the food is pretty awesome at this event and I was not lying! Here is just some of the ‘nummies’ we got to devour – all at pretty reasonable rates.
I also got to have a quick interview with a few of the stalls:
Abdul’s is one of the longest standing vendors at Splashy, and is run by Charlie and Gardia Major (who also own the Major Adventure business in Underberg).
- How did Abdul’s start?
It has been running since the first Splashy Fen, so it’s 27 years old. It started with another family, who ran it for the first 9 years in a partial hut with an open fire.
- With it being a built in vendor now, what do you do with the building when Splashy is finished?
When Splashy is finished it serves as a place for animals or herders to stay. This last year we had goats. Other years there have been cows and herders.
- What are some of the popular meals you’ve sold so far?
The first egg and bacon roll was served here. Our burgers are homemade and we use locally sourced produce.
- How did the name come about?
It was the name of the family before and we thought to keep the name going.
Band support for this stall came from the Stone Jets; “Marley Coffee and Abdul’s were good to us.” – Stone Jets
The Diggs is a Durban food vendor run by Talton (owner) and James (business partner).
- How did the Diggs kitchen start?
The Diggs Kitchen started 1 year 3 months ago. We were sick of promotions so they started the business. With my chef course and James’ BCom; together we made a great team.
- Do you attend many festivals?
We do lots of events on weekends, markets, festivals and our private catering has also taken off.
- What happens after Splashy?
In May we plan to open a proper restaurant with tapas meals and craft beers, with a pizza oven and much more.
- How has the response been from your initial Splashy in 2015?
Our first Splashy was actually our first month being open. This year we have been really popular and have had loads of support.
- Why come to Splashy?
Splashy is awesome! It’s also a little get away, we get to see headline acts and overall it’s a great vibe.
Ever wondered what some of the bands got to eat while at the festival, well here is what the Gus Brown Band had to say about the Diggs Kitchen.
“Without a doubt the best food place for us was “The Digs Kitchen” boys, not only is their food phenomenal but it’s always epic to see such young guys working so hard at something they are so passionate about. A very close second was the bunny chow guys, cause at some stage you’re gonna need to do a massive soak up inside your body and you can’t beat a bunny for a little self-medicating.” – Gus Brown Band
Burger Express is one of the main reasons Shane and I come back (apart from all the other awesome stuff). I have never in my life had such a huge burger bursting with ingredients. I was able to have a quick chat to the vendor on the last day and this is what she had to say.
- What is the most popular meal you have sold this Splashy?
The legend burger. (She didn’t have to say more – we understood it)
- Why do you come back to Splashy?
Splashy Fen invites us each year to come back. They love our burgers and bacon; nobody piles on the bacon as much as we do. People love bacon! (WE AGREE – we LOVE bacon).
The Everything In-between:
I think I’ve made you read quite a bit now… here is more of the experience in picture form