By Marley

With a little help of my friends…

We managed to Save The Strat. On Saturday 04 February 2017 will go down as the day that a community of people came to do what they love to do: make and watch music. It seems that the Lowvelders are hungry for live entertainment and we are speaking about original music here.

Save The Strat which started as just a passing thought became THE event to attend the past weekend. If you don’t know the full story you can just view Join the revolution, save the strat post. Anyway, where do I start? Probably due to the fact that I’m still completely exhausted might be a good indication of how much went down behind the scenes. But I’m here to tell you what you missed.

The weather couldn’t be more perfect, it was hot and sunny with the typical Lowveld humidity. But it’s quite oraait, we are used to it. First up was Keri Culver, this upcoming artist is really making her mark on the local scene. She did a mixture of covers and originals which the small afternoon crowd loved. Next up was Lydenburg’s country outfit, Moonshine. Look I’m not the biggest country music fan but Louis and Francois Fourie’s voices are just heaven. If you are into your old school country sound then you can’t afford to miss this band. Who knew Lydenburg was hiding this little gem?

Latecomers to the line-up is a new outfit, Duende. Gugu Mamba and Morkus (GoatnHare bassist) are an acoustic setup. The couple, in real life, produced a chilled outset. The nerves were quite visible but they did fine. Would love to see them again after they played a bit longer together. Johnny and the Latin Blues Express were another unexpected welcome. For a band who doesn’t practice together (but play in other bands together), you just love their Latin blues. The crowd grew as the day cooled off and many came back from the Sabie Tube Race. 

Flash Parade at Save The Strat - photo by Small Town Music Blog
Flash Parade
(photo by Small Town Music Blog)

Flash Parade was also the last minute change and just love their cover of “99 Problems”. Monkey Queen which drummer, Caryn-Leigh Lombard was the seed planter of this event, got the crowd talking. Many people were impressed with Stefan Lombard’s voice, asking when their next gig will be. The Acoustics which are no strangers to the Lowveld had the crowd singing with but I miss their colourful tambourine player, Sally on stage. She’s a real firework, beautiful and loud on stage. Perfect combination.

Mike Average who has opened for many big acts in South Africa also delivered a wonderful rocking set. Hans, along with the famous Stratocaster, joined them on stage for a song. Next up it was Line Of Sight which Blue Torch, is also a part of. It was soulful blues rock, Hans and his boys played from their hearts and everyone looking at them like they’re seeing history in the making that evening. Gibraltar who has been going since 1995 is the one band that will always pull everyone together, some of us grew up with their shows while others only discovered them now. And that brass section is just so awesome, makes me miss No One’s Arc.

Line of Sight at Save The Strat - photo by Small Town Music Blog
Line of Sight
(photo by Small Town Music Blog)

GoatnHare again had the youngsters at their feet and hanging from their lips. Sunny Principe showed off his guitar shredding skills and had the photographers in a frenzy for a while there. The last band was from KomatipoortBack Stage. They are slowly making way for themselves in the Lowveld music scene and is busy with their first all original studio album.

The whole day and evening it was clear that Hans is a well-loved person. So many people complimented The Pub on their food and drinks. And again I must admit the pizza at The Pub was top quality. Our waitress, Lientjie, needs a special mention. She took care of us, made sure we were well fed and our drinks never empty. The fans that showed up who either came for one band or the full line up. The parents who supported, the families that were there and kids who played around between tables, all of you were a part of something so special. Not enough words of thanks can go out to you. You had fun!

Save The Strat - photo Small Town Music Blog
Thank you Hans! We save your Start
(photo by Small Town Music Blog)

Once again, here are special thanks to all involved, especially the following people and organisations:

Caryn-Leigh Lombard for planting the seed.

All the 12 bands and their families involved.

Melani Davids and family of M & M Productions for organising the event.

Etienne Coetzee and his staff from The Pub in Nelspruit for his amazing venue and set up.

Renee de Wet of Momento Photography for her photos, media and support.

Michael White of P3 Productions for the sponsorship of the stage, lights and sound.

Radio Laeveld 100.5FM for their continuous support of local music. Thank you for all the interviews and mentions.

Lowveld Media for your printed articles before and after the show. Thank you for getting behind the local music, we love you.

Oasis water for quenching the thirsts of our hot bands on stage.

Klipdrift for your continued support and prizes.

Hi-Q Nelspruit for your support and prizes.

Martin Davids for going beyond being just the MC of the day. You were such a breath of fresh air.

The Small Town Music Blog team for their support and our families.

Save The Strat - photo Small Town Music Blog
Saved the Strat
(photo by Small Town Music Blog)

Foot note: We were asked to do this annually and by the rock gods, we will try. Your continued support of local bands is noticed and appreciated. The more you guys go out and watch these bands the better for everyone.

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.