Dullstroom, the quite small town about 40 km’s from Lydenburg. Famous for being a weekend getaway for trout fishing, small town shops and whisky tasting. On 1 April 2017, the town’s sports ground was turned into a colourful display for the 1st ever, Lekkerland Carnival.
When we arrived at lunchtime at Lekkerland Carnival people was hiding from the sun under the little shade trees while Valiant Swart took to the stage. We missed Oh So Serious by 30 minutes. At first, it looked like you would expect at first time one-day festival, a smallish crowd. A quick run between the food stalls and the bar we stood watch. Watch over the picnic blankets to Valiant who was telling his jokes and stories between the songs. “Eyeshadow” is still one of my favourites.
The set up was quite neatly laid out. Stage on the main corner with a VIP area. Across the lawn, there was a line of food stalls selling almost everything – pancakes, biltong, true Indian dishes, boerewors rolls, candy floss…I can continue but I can see you are getting hungry. Some other little nik and naks stalls and pony rides. One stall was for the Epilepsy centre that is situated in Dullstroom, the only one in Mpumalanga. An NPO that needs all the help it can get. Look them up, they are doing great work.
Back to the music…
After Valiant the two beautiful songbirds, Lauren Levine and Josie Field took the stage. Oh man, what a set. Their voices go together like chocolate sauce and ice cream. I couldn’t take my eyes from them. But knowing the midlands by now, we headed off to the Dullstroom Inn that was our base to dress warmly. We took a chill time and missed Riana Nel which we heard was great. When we got back Matthew Mole was setting up. His set up has also grown over the years adding a keyboard and a near full drum kit on stage along with his guitar and awesome smile.
Matthew’s show had the people quickly gathered around the stage where before they were all sitting down on the picnic blankets. King Price made sure that a lot of prizes was handed to the crowd during the shows from big suckers to pens and juggling balls. Matthew, who is really a humble guy, smiled while he played favourites like “Fall down” and “By your side”. It was still early when Die Heuwels Fantasties got to the stage. A few technical difficulties but never the less the people were excited to hear one of the favourites of South Africa.
Opening with “Beloofde Land” they moved through their hit setlist. Just before they performed “Sy” Pierre Greeff called up a couple, Evert Kleynhans and Vianda Huisamen. This young man asked his girlfriend to become his wife, on stage, on one knee in front of a now full Lekkerland Carnival. She said yes by the way. It was a beautiful moment. Die Heuwels went on to perform “Sy”, “LED Liefde”, “Leja” and of course “Klein Tambotieboom”. Before we all knew it, the first Lekkerland was over and it wasn’t even 10 pm yet.
Of course, like most of you know us by now, we must have an after party drink. Which happened at a packed Duck and Trout restaurant. It bought some faded memories back of 4 years earlier when I was there with a few good friends after the Dullstroom Winter Festival. The only complaint we all had is that the restaurants in Dullstroom liquor licence end at midnight. We were asked to leave before then. Which was a downer, since I’m sure we would have kuiered all night between the mist and the lights of the deck outside.
My personal feeling of Lekkerland was it was Afrikaans, family orientated and well marketed. There is room for improvement of course. I just don’t understand why people must bring their dogs to a live music event. It’s not good for doggy ears and sometimes other dogs don’t agree that they are not the centre of attention. Although there are dog-friendly places in and around Dullstroom a festival is not one of them. The bar went smoothly but again since I’m semi-allergic to basic everything, a vegetarian option would have been nice. We did hear complaints of the ATM’s running out of money the previous day but we had no problem on Saturday getting cash.
Thank you to our friends who joined us for one heck of a party.
See you next year Lekkerland!
Here is the engagement video: