The Best Kept Boutique Fest Secret: Mieliepop 2016

Photos by Christelle Duvenage Photography (@StellaTeleur)

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As I’m writing this, I also actually want to write another review, titled “Reasons To Skip Mieliepop Fest in The Future”, because let’s be honest – if we keep the good reviews to the minimal, there will be a bigger chance that next year, Mieliepop will still be a pretty fest without bar queues, with clean toilets (including clean porter-loos) and enough of everything for everyone – even the yoga retreat people.

This wasn’t my 1st Mieliepop Fest (actually, it was my 3rd…or 4th…).  One thing that has always been special about the festival, is that the festival was full of familiar faces.  Be it Pretoria people (Pretoria peeps are always up for a camping and festival experience – STRAB and FORR are mainly 012 peeps).  The festival was always beautiful since Tolderia farm in Lothair is just one of the prettiest places – boasting with forests, a dam, waterfalls and even a cave.  The general festival attendees at Mieliepop are always super friendly (I think it has to do with the beautiful surroundings).  As the years progressed, some things got better with time – like the girl’s loos got lights fitted, the food and craft stalls expanded – I mean we even got to see Uriah Heap and Men Without Hats live at Mieliepop.

I recall the festival when Henk van der Schyf also fell in love with Mieliepop, and being involved in Hot Box Studios, Park Acoustics and many other events and gigs – Mieliepop would be an amazing fit for them to also be part of – and it was.


Rambling Bones - photo by Christelle Duvenage

Rambling Bones – photo by Christelle Duvenage


This year was a bit more organised – with special bathrooms built for the campsite which were kept extremely clean throughout the festival.  The organisers also nipped as it was raining until JUST before Friday, and this festival is at it’s best with heaps of sunshine.

Getting there pretty late, but never too late to party on Friday – I had to unfortunately miss some great acts like Bye Beneco and Gerald Clark.  But I was in time to BONS with Bittereinder, and enjoy some HAEZER.  The party was split between the ‘Rave Cave’ and the ‘Top Bar’ where the music was pumping on both sides, but I think the bar won with some amazing oldies and songs we crazy danced to.


Shortstraw - photo by Christelle Duvenage

Shortstraw – photo by Christelle Duvenage


Mieliepop boasted with a fresh line-up celebrating old and new musos, so Saturday and Sunday was spent between the stages, trying not to miss any of the bands whilst curing the evening before’s hangover.  Saturday bands that stood out without a doubt was Grassy Spark, BCUC which put us all in a trance, The Nomadic Orchestra and Napalma which were performing on the Willow Tree Stage which I caught by surprise looking for a late dinner.  Saturday night wasn’t as hectic at the bar as I think most people tried to heal the wounds after the Fuzigish mosh-pit and also tried to keep some energy left for ‘The Big Night’ which was Sunday.


Grassy Spark - photo by Christelle Duvenage

Grassy Spark – photo by Christelle Duvenage


Sunday morning our friendly neighbours had a braai feast that we shared in before the day kicked off properly.  But let’s say from Go Barefoot on the Willow Tree Stage and Urban Village on the Main Stage, I hopped between the stages to not miss one single band.  The line-up was just too good and I got to see half-sets of about 16 bands!  I was also super happy to see treats like Coelacanth, Rambling Bones, Georgetown, Blomtrein, The Oh So Serious, Albert Frost, The Moths, Black Cat Bones (which had a very emotional set no doubt), New Academics, Art Snakes and also a super treat from Mr Cat & The Jackal with their End Of An Era set bidding farewell to Pierre-Arnold Theron.


Art Snakes - photo by Christelle Duvenage

Art Snakes – photo by Christelle Duvenage


That evening we tried to swing it a bit with Michael Lesar and N-Chant, but the Top Bar was calling and the awesome Bobbejaan DJ’s didn’t stop until the wee-hours of the morning with their amazing set.

Mieliepop, you are an amazing festival and I am truly impressed how great everything (especially that hard-to-beat line-up) was this year.  Well done to all the organisers – new and old!  Already looking forward to the next one.

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