By Marley

Any 90’s teenager/young adult will tell you who the Springbok Nude Girls are. Some of today’s teens might tell you that their dad listens to the Springbok Nude Girls and they grew up with their music. I on the other hand grew up holding the vinyl of Springbok Radio with their girls on. “Bubblegum on my boots” guitar riffs was running through my head since last year September and needed to be quite down. The only way I could do this was by going to Up The Creek 2014.

Wednesday 29 January

We landed in Cape Town just after 6pm and for the first time in 4 years I really did not have to stress about almost anything. Quick phone calls home and to friends were made to assure them of our safe arrival and then we were off to our first Long Street experience. Although it felt like I still got “sea legs” while standing on the deck of The Waiting Room I was happy to catch up with some old Nelsparta mates. Rob and I took a walk (about 9 blocks) down to The Ace & Spades to meet up with other Cape Town friends for a quick tequila shot.

Back at The Waiting Room where Sons of Settlers played we were off to The Shack which is in some unknown location to me. Looking at my watch I realized it was just after 2 am and we were desperate for a shower and a bed. We caught a lift with a friend of ours back to our accommodation. We do need our festival beauty rest.

Thursday 30 January

But our “sleep in” was our pre-appointed wake-up call from our friend who was driving with us to UTC. Packing and closing the suitcases, getting the rest of the camping equipment we finally set off to Table View to pick him up. The next stop was in Stellenbosch to pick festival MC, Adriaan and then we made our way to Swellendam. Of course, a stop for supplies is always welcome and we finally were on the dusty road, surrounded by sheep filled fields, that led to Up The Creek (UTC).

After check-in, and an armband later, we found that our friend, Mango, won a big cover tent to place all of us in the shade right behind the bar. This was a most welcome price by the Nelsparta clan. We quickly set up tents and carpets were put down to make our camping space a little more “homey”. It was the first time for Rob to be at UTC (and of its kind) and he was happy to get a taste of his first Titanic, the festival drink. For me, attending my 4th UTC was like coming home for a family reunion. You never stop greeting friends or meeting online friends. Quick introductions were made and soon the merry ways of relaxing at one of my favourite places could begin.

Feed The Wolf
(Photo credit: Royal Lens Photography)
Feed The Wolf
(Photo credit: Royal Lens Photography)

Thursday night started off with Feed the Wolf and they really were the perfect appetizers for opening the renowned (and sold out) Up The Creek. But unfortunately, I didn’t make the rest of the brilliant line- up on Thursday. Starting the festival with a babelas proofed to me that not only is age getting to me, but that sleep was important to survive a full weekend of wicked music experiences. At least Rob enjoyed the sounds of Dave Ferguson (who gave a spectacular show) and Aidan Martin (the legend) just to mention a few awesome names.

Friday 31 January

Friday morning I definitely felt better but that pesky annual flu virus was knocking at my door. A message was sent to the guys about my state of health and some meds was quickly organized. With the sun that rises just before 6am in the Cape province, the sun tends to bake you out of the tent at 8am latest. So Rob and I dressed in our swimming outfits, inflated our pirate theme lilo’s and took a walk down to the river for our first swim. The river was very full, totally drowning the place where the stage on the river at last year’s UTC was. The stage this year however was on the shore facing the river. After our swim it was back up the hill with rumbling stomachs for some coffee and breakfast. The coffee stand did fantastic for a caffeine fix and it then was “brekkie” time. The river stage was opened around 10am by Akkedis and Piet Botha who has become somehow “lifetime contracted” musicians to play at the festival and trust me I’m not complaining. The only problem was no river bar on the Friday (yet). I did overhear Creekers (or Up The Creatures according to Jon Savage) complaining about that and in the end had people staying up by the bar instead of the river.

Friday night/afternoon Gerald Clark and The Dead Men kicked off the festival and drew the crowd closer. By the time he finished the people were ready for a party and I think this is what our fellow townsfolk will never understand from quality music is that you need to support it in order to receive it.

The Plastics also performed, but to me, I’m a little over the whole “Indy music” scene. The front stage was filled quickly with the 2014 MK Award Live Act award winning outfit, Jeremy Loops. To have 2 000 other people enjoy it as much you do makes me sad that we are losing Blue Moon in March.

We set off to quench our sudden dry throats at the bar and it was back to the main stage for The Springbok Nude Girls. It was funny (and I instantly got grey hair) when a kid around 19/20 told me “Oh yea I know the Springbok Nude Girls, my dad listens to them all the time.” gulp But 20 years on, Arno and the boys got onto the stage, dusted the rust off the speakers and rocked the Creek! Despite some vocal mistakes, it took us back right to where STM started, the Blue Moon, high school and finding bubblegum on your Doc Martens.

The main stage lights were out after SNG and it was off to the Jägermeister stage for the Red Huxley – what a band! Dylan Jones, the frontman of the band, looks like aKING‘s frontman Laudo Liebenberg. I kept on wanting to say hello and then saw it’s a Huxley and not a king (both equally awesome). But never mind that Red Huxley certainly entertains the hardcore lovers of rock music and in some songs, I couldn’t believe this band is from South Africa. My feet were dead by now and I took a rest against the wall while watching the crowd go mad to the band. One Creeker however had too much to drink; ended up falling back close to me and cut his head open (he got a few stitches). Luckily the security, his friend and I helped him up to his feet and it was off to the medic tent. After this, I didn’t feel like partying any longer and took a well-deserved shower. The last band on Jägermeister was Good mates, After Robot, who I heard gave one kick-ass show.

UTC Saturday morning in the Breede River 2014
(Photo credit Royal Lens Photography)
UTC Saturday morning in the Breede River
(Photo credit Royal Lens Photography)

Saturday 1 February

This is the main day, the day everyone is there and everyone has a lilo that needs to be pumped up, carried, mastered and of course be used on the Breede River. This colourful line you can start following anywhere from 7AM down to the river. We on the other hand joined the coffee line and had ourselves some shawarma for breakfast. After waking up at 8AM party animal Rob (who got to bed only at 5AM) we decided it was time to hit the sunscreen and the river. What took my breath away was that when you were in the water it seemed like everyone is there with you, but when you look back at the shoreline where everyone is getting in it seemed like there was no end to it. Grassy Spark (a brass band from Cape Town) opened the river stage and the party mood was set. Many different lilo’s, tubes, sunglasses and ways to keep your drink alcoholic was seen in the water.

A river being filled up at Up The Creek 2014
(Photo credit: Royal Lens Photography)
A river being filled up at Up The Creek 2014
(Photo credit: Royal Lens Photography)

Rob and I found ourselves floating in front of the stage with After Robot vocalist and friend, Cliff Bryan. I’ve never seen Beach Party and was eager to see them do a live performance live and I must say again – they were perfect on the line up for the river stage. They brought the beach to us and we really enjoyed shaking our booties. It was time for a refill of refreshments before it was back in the water and hanging out with new friend Ezelle. Naming James, who is from Pretoria, entertained the Creekers with his witty music and the crowd that started small ended up being a big collection of party animals. By then I realized that my legs were somehow turned into a flamingo-pink colour and I needed to get out of the sun. From the shade of the backstage, we watched Al Bairre (who won best newcomers at the MK Awards), Shortstraw and Lyzard Kings before it was time to head up to the tent for some shower time, after sun and a snooze.

We missed young Matthew Mole and Beatenberg (it was a case of going to town and draw cash) but in time for Stefan Dixon. His first time at UTC and I hope not his last, I do enjoy his music at any time of the day (thanks to his CD) and he is certainly a guy to watch live!

Saturday night…

Look I’m going, to be honest, here, I was a little ‘out of it’, but completely enjoyed myself on Saturday night. I blame that fantastic tasting flavoured Red Bull and vodka specials and our own personal bartender Andy who parked at our tent that afternoon for it.

I’m going to jump in and say this, Desmond and the Tutu’s didn’t impress me the second time around. I walked away from their show feeling the need to give Shane a bottle of water after all that screaming and T-rex moves. You can stone me later. Hot Water was an awesome little surprise after a 2-year absence from the festival. Don’t lose that lovely lady in the band, she showed us how to shake our African hips! The Black Cat Bones show … now that was like having New Years in February! Chris with a broken wrist and all jumped, did a handstand, air kicked as always and it was good to have Andre Kriel and Jaco Mans together on stage. And to see Anthony in a rat suit on stage was pretty hysterical (an upgrade from wearing a dress).

But I bet George van der Spuy and his boys thought “Fuck, how are we going to top that?” after the performance The Black Cat Bones delivered. Let me tell you they did, Taxi Violence and it was the performance of the night. George had us singing their songs from start to end including one of my favourites “Devil ‘n pistol”. For 7 years in a row, Taxi Violence has rocked the Creekers and they are celebrating their 10 years of making music this year. I give you guys a high5 for being this awesome, in fact, I think I did give George a high five…

But after that the night got extremely blurry to us, I remember naked streakers with burning newspaper up in their asses and a mini firework show that freaked out our mate Jason. There were guys in raccoon suites, guys without shirts, girls with flowers around their necks, it was pretty hectic. I passed out right away when we finally managed to get back to the tent after managing that jungle.

Sunday 2 February

I’m never drinking Red Bull and vodka again! I was shaking, sweaty and it felt like I was a snake, slithering on the ground. Yes, the campmates thought it was extremely funny, but all I wanted was my bed and breakfast. Rob set out to find our breakfast and Sune my dear sister stood in the coffee line, maybe the caffeine will override the high caffeine in my blood system? Let me tell you it worked for like 2 hours and then it was time to lay down again. I hate this ‘getting old’ shit.

Coelacanth on stage at UTC 2014
(Photo credit: Royal Lens Photography)
We slowly started packing up before it was time to head back to the stage and see Coelacanth live, this is a trio made up of Andre Kriel (Black Cat Bones), Gareth Wilson (Southern Gypsy Queen) and Jaco Mans (Tidal Waves). To this day that performance replays in my head and well-done gentlemen, hope it’s not the last of it. It was time for the Anne Hirsch show live and boy it was extremely funny! She interviewed George of Taxi Violence in typical Anne stalker mode. If you haven’t seen her show yet you should get the video at the bottom of the post – awkwardly funny. We watched our Route 40 festival favourites Kite Rider for the first two songs after it was back to base for a packing mission.

After the car was packed we hanged around till Piet Botha and Akkedis as per tradition closed the festival with their epic performance. A half-hour of greeting everyone like family with hugs, good wishes and thank you’s. And it was off back to Cape Town for some sleep, a hot shower, a good meal and an early bed call. It’s still a long way back to Nelsparta.

A few thank you notes to: Belia Oh Photography, Lupa Photography, Royal Lens Photography, Team Blue Moon (thanks for the organizing), Andy the famous bartender, my crazy friends (too many to mention) and Rob my partner for making the journey so fantastic.

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.