It’s not every event where you go from watching Shortstraw, to Boargazm, to PHFAT, to Mr Green in the Rave Cave. Hell, most events don’t even have a Rave Cave. Or a nice dam surrounded by grassy hills. Or a boutique festival vibe, with minimal crowds and queues, fancy food stalls, warm showers, and more than enough camping space. That’s why The Republic of Mieliepop is something special.
PHFAT has always been a relatively hard-to-describe group. Bassy beat-driven electro hip-hop, I think. Though their Facebook page simply says “RAP MUSIC” – in all caps like that. Then last year the duo split, with Narch Beats carrying on as an independent producer while Smooth Mike carries on as PHFAT. It’s pretty well established that they/he/it is from Cape Town, at least. And that they’ll be performing at The Republic of Mieliepop this year.
Hellcats is a local rock ‘n roll band that exudes energy and contagious enthusiasm. They’re shows are great to watch, their music is great to listen to, and their members are fun to talk to. Before they release their next EP and head out to play a set at The Republic of Mieliepop, I managed to fit in a chat.
King of the Communes is the party promoters/dance floor curators behind some of Pretoria’s coolest gigs recently. They’re also a DJ duo called D&S, and this March, they’re heading to The Republic of Mieliepop to introduce the brand new Cool In The Pool poolside jol area. We asked them for the secret herbs and spices that go into a King of the Communes party.
Last year, Mieliepop Festival had everyone talking afterwards. Its boutique status means no overcrowding, its location means luxurious, lush, peaceful surroundings, and the organising team means a tightly-run ship and a diverse, kick-ass lineup of some of South Africa’s best bands. There’s no reason to think Mieliepop 2017 will be anything less. See more details below, and enter our competition to win a double ticket to this event!
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term “music festival”? If you’re from Gauteng, it’s most likely dust. And crowds. And drunk youths. But then there’s Mieliepop.
Beforehand, it looked like bad weather might intrude on the weekend. But the sunshine arrived just on time. A simple, 270 km/3 hour drive from Pretoria leads you to the beautiful Tolderia Resort – a real majestic, beautiful, peaceful, green hilly area in the middle of nowhere. The trek into the resort was slightly rough after the rain, and arriving there in the dark isn’t recommended – though that really applies to any festival.
You’re already familiar with December Streets. Especially if phrases like “Won’t you put your feet back on today, love” or “Stay by me – everybody else can leave” sound familiar, or the homegrown, ska and reggae influenced, trumpet-featuring, infectious earworm Indie pop rings a bell. I spoke to the lead singer of the band, Tristan Coetzee, ahead of their return to Mieliepop Festival this year.
“I think that is definitely something that was a natural thing back when we started,” says Tristan of the foot-stomping, singalong kind of gigs they are well known for, where a rapport with the audience is a crucial part of the show. “That kind of music lent itself to the audience getting involved and everyone jamming and having a good time and partying. It is a very important thing for any musician at a live show to get crowd interaction, because that is the foundation of a good performance – not actually how good you sound.”
Lindsay Lohan starred in a movie in 2004 as a homeschooled girl, who comes to an American high school after having lived in Africa for 15 years. Her character, Cady, semi-relucantly joins the clique of popular girls called The Plastics. We spoke to Pascal Righini of The Plastics (the band) about Lindsay’s career.
No, you won’t be able to buy a beer from them. However, says Ryan McArthur of Capetonian folk-punk duo The Shabeen, if they did sell alcohol, the beers would be “as cheap as they could be, you know… so we could all just have a good party together.” Ryan accompanies previously established solo folk-punker Jon Shaban on upright bass and additional vocals, and I spoke to him about folk-punk as a genre, the launch of their new album, and folk music’s appropriation into pop.
While the band was formed in 2012 as an extension of Jon’s solo act, it has since evolved into a legitimate duo, where even the songwriting involves both members. “We both work on songs for The Shabeen,” Ryan explains. “Whoever brings an initial idea, we’ll work on that together. Jon is obviously more of the songwriter, so more of the initial ideas come from Jon, but we definitely work on the ideas together.”
A new band launches. The number one question on everyone’s lips: What do they sound like? Well, apart from their first gig at Arcade Empire’s Halloween party last year, the Pretoria-based Art Snakes have finally released the first taste – their debut single, “Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango”. We spoke to them about the band and the song, and you can read all about it here while listening to the song.