Ah, Splashy Fen 2017; my festival of festivals.

I’d write you a love song, but I feel as though you’re just like every other woman who has come into my life, stolen my heart, and then ended up running away with it and the kitchen sink.

But I digress. Splashy 2017 started like every other one ever has: with the pitching of a tent, and the cracking open of a cold one. You could tell this Splashy Fen would be different however, by the mere fact that we actually read the weather forecast and realised that snow was a very real possibility. That, and the fact that Splashy Fen goers were now the proud owners of material armbands! Yes, my festival attending amigos, no more paper bands to get scrunched up and thrown away. We’ve now been given a little bit of the Oppikoppi-esque free stuff we always wanted.

Splashed Up Improvements

Splashy Fen also most notably now played host to no less than six stages:

  • Black Label Main Stage
  • Acoustic Stage
  • Flying Fish River Stage
  • Red Square Vodka Electric Boma
  • Tree House Stage (NEW) (Said to have been made by one of the main engineers from Afrikaburn)
  • Massey Ferguson Tractor Stage (NEW) (I’ll be honest… I never saw this one)

Last year I spoke of the amount of detail that Splashy Fen Management went into to create an experience like no other, and I think this year they’ve continued with that trend.

There were oodles of little treats and details to be found. Books hanging in trees, man-made mushrooms sprouting from the ground, detailed road signs and loads more. Seriously, you can see that Splashy Fen has given the finer details a ton of thought. Plus, the porta loos were constantly being cleaned, and were always in the most usable condition which is a massive step up from last year! Good job!

Getting Splashy With It

The line up this year included international artists such as: The Temper Trap, Rodney Branigan,  and Michael Franti (who is an awesome guy – interview coming soon). Local acts featured: Jack Parow, Jeremy Loops, Rubber DUC, Veranda Panda, Springbok Nude Girls, Parlotones, Desmond and the Tutus, Shortstraw, December Streets, and a host of others. All in all, I think the mix of music was simply superb. One or two musos played more than one set, and it was great to see how the different settings of the different stages changed the atmosphere completely.

Going Backwards and Forward

But I’ll be honest here, it seemed as if the second-time-on-the-job Splashy Fen Management Team were constantly putting out fires. Stages running late (the River Stage ran at least one hour late every single day), not enough heaters/ fire places/ warm things to go around, no pre-determined interview slots, and weddings having to move locations (no jokes, an actual wedding took place). It just seemed that with every two steps forward the new management took, they had to take at least one step back. They just couldn’t find their groove. But I trust this will become less and less of a hassle as the team gains more experience running a world class music festival.

In closing I’d like to state that I think Splashy Fen is most certainly an up and coming music festival in South Africa. Which is a bit ironic to say, as they’ve been the longest running festival in the country. But with a few minor tweaks here and there, a little more experience in the management of the festival, and I think they’ll be just fine. Check out my 30 favourite moments from Splashy below.

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