THERE are not many local music festivals that have stood the test of time. Jägermeister's Up The Creek is an exception being the second longest-running festival in South Africa with this year ringing in its 27th year.
Held on the beautiful Breede River from January 26 to 29 just outside Swellendam, 230km from Cape Town, Up The Creek has a local bands only policy and the organisers run the festival for the love of SA music.
One of the organisers is Suné Halderman who is responsible for compiling the line-up. “We make an effort to see each one live before booking them. Up The Creek is very special as there’s only one stage running at a time so it’s quite tricky to schedule,” says Halderman.
“Some of criteria we look at is vibe, audience participation, social media following and what we think will suit the festival to keep punters happy. We promote new artists but there are the legends such as Black Cat Bones, Albert Frost, Gerald Clark, Akkedis and Piet Botha (Jack Hammer) who, in pure Up The Creek tradition, is the main opening act. One highlight is local blues legend Dan Patlansky who will be playing main stage on (the) Friday.
“We also cater for electronic music fans as long as there is a live element. There is so much to discover this year,” adds Halderman.
One headline act this year is Cape Town’s Afrikaans rapper, Jack Parow, who will hit the main stage at 11pm on the Saturday. Northern Suburbs-born Parow says: “Up The Creek is one of my favourite local festivals. This show is going to be huge and different from my usual performances as I will be teaming up with the Happy Boys minstrels to add a Kaapse Klopse flavour.”
Parow and the Happy Boys have been working closely with Jägermeister events and a local studio on production and choreography to create something special. Parow promises: “My shows are high energy so it’s going to be one crazy jol!” Parow has toured Europe opening for several international bands such as Kings Of Leon, Prodigy and having the honour of opening for Eminem on his South African tour. Apart from working on a new album, Parow has just released his own "bos" brandy called Parow Brand. His message to his fans: “Thanks for the support and I’ll hopefully continue making music to make you and your tjommies proud!”
The food court stage this year sees some of Cape Town’s hottest up-and-coming acts and is the best place to discover your next favourite local artist.
Jeffrey’s Jam Van (a painted Kombi with a stage on the roof) will be back. The Sedgwick’s River Stage will host some great musical talent. One outfit jamming there will be the Joburg-based quartet, Rubber Duc. Frontman Nick Jordaan says: “We started out a few years ago just to jam and recorded a single that hit No 2 on national radio which was a surprise so we did a debut album Secret Sunrise and Rubber Duc grew from there.” Bass player Emil describes the band’s style as the love child of Mango Groove and Mumford & Sons. A must-see is Los Tacos on Saturday (January 28) at the river stage. Founder member Jeronimo De Los Rios explains: “We are a multicultural nine-piece, high-voltage Latino-style band with members from South Africa and Colombia. We started it in a Mexican restaurant and were eating tacos at the time so that’s how we got our name. “Ninety percent of our songs are Spanish but it’s about the rhythm. It’s our first time at Up The Creek so we want to make people dance. It’s a world cocktail. We will be playing a traditional gaita (bagpipe-style instrument), guitar and saxophone, etc.”
Up The Creek has joined forces with Generosity Water, which is an international initiative that seeks to provide safe drinking water for people in developing countries. For every bottle of Generosity Water purchased at the festival, two people in a developing country will receive water for a month. For info, see www.generosity.org
Up The Creek is great for first-time festival-goers and one thing’s for sure, once a Creeker, always a Creeker.
Festival gates open at 3pm on January 26 and punters have to be out of the grounds by 4pm on January 29. Tickets can be bought online at www.upthecreek.co.za and there will be only one ticket type, a full weekend one will cost R970 (no under-18s or pets allowed). For non-camping types ("Glampers"), there’s the Heart Break Motel (see www.heartbreakmotel.co.za).
For more info, see www.upthecreek.co.za, check the Up The Creek Facebook page or get the latest news on Twitter (@Upthe_Creek).