By Marley

Hop, hoppidy, hop

Off to the pop you must hop

Crop your shorts

Put on your flops

It’s Mieliepop you gotta pop

It’s almost time for one of the poppest festivals to happen in Mpumalanga, Mieliepop 2017 – The Republic of Mieliepop.

Mandoza live at Mieliepop - photo by RMAN Photography
Mandoza live at Mieliepop 2014
(photo by RMAN Photography)

About 3 years ago we attended Mieliepop and it was such a crazy time, it was below zero temperatures during the night, shadow melting hot during the day and it would be the only time we would see the late Mandoza do one hell of a show. We thought all was lost with Mieliepop really, and we skipped a few. Our last Mieliepop was really the pill that was a bit bitter. But our friends at Running Wolf’s Rant convinced us to try bite into the mielie again. And we are standing ready with butter and salt, we are hungry for good music.

Mieliepop 2017 - RMAN photography
Lekker vibes at Mieliepop
(photo by RMAN Photography)

Mieliepop is about a two-hour drive from Nelsparta, you drive more or less the same road if you go to STRAB. Just watch out for random wildlife, last time we saw duiker and one suicidal kudu. Instead, you drive to Lothair (we recommend via the Amsterdam road), a small town that is based on timber. Now past this town, into a field you drive at 40 km/h (due to wildlife and the amazing views) on a road that leads what we can only describe as paradise. The beautiful Republic of Mieliepop has hills aplenty, grasslands and a river that you can explore.

Mieliepop 2017 - Photo by Shen Scott
The bridge over the creek at Mieliepop
(Photo by Shen Scott)

But of course you are going for the music and the vibe, maybe you are going for yoga or simply because you are a festival lover. Here is just a taste of the 60+ acts that you can expect during the Pop, just check out the poster below:

Mieliepop 2017 line up
Mieliepop 2017 line up

“But that’s not all!” Yes, we all heard this infomercial before but there is more. The ferry which you can ride at least twice a day just because of the views will have comedians on board. While having a drink and selfie you can have a laugh too. And really that is not all, nope. When one is at the Mielie and the guitar strings are put to rest you can party like a ninja in the actual rave cave. Whenever you are into the DJ’s or not, this is something also I remember the last time from being there. That after party at the party.

Mieliepop 2017
Rave Cave line up
Mieliepop 2017
Rave Cave line up

You can expect some wicked vinyl maestros in the cave, just watch out for Fred Flintstone.

Oh my word the pool, the pool bar…you need to see this. In the extreme heat that can reach the Mieliepop, you need to cool off. You can try the river (we saw people do wired tricks there at the bridge), but this pool is just one happening place. Yes, it’s happening, check why we say so.

Of course, there are cash bars to quench your thirst, food stalls to fill up a hungry tummy and warm showers. Anyway, we are excited. You can join the Yoga team as well, those details you can stretch on the Mieliepop website. Tickets are R650 (add another R50 for a booking fee), don’t buy your tickets ANYWHERE else. Don’t fake it, honey, get the real thing – grrrr.

Being from the Lowveld I can tell you something, it’s extreme heat during the day at Mieliepop and extreme cold during the night. And when I mean cold I do mean highlands of Scotland cold.

Here is a list of things we will be packing and we recommend you look at doing the same:

  • Your festival ticket.
  • Camp basics: tent, sleeping bag, warm blanket (or 4), tent buddy, torch
  • Camp snacks
  • A gazebo for getting out of the sun and shelter from any rain (or frost)
  • Toilet paper – just in case.
  • Sunscreen for the day.
  • Warm clothes for the night: jacket, beanie, scarf, gloves, warm socks, closed shoes – we are not kidding.
  • Your swimming trucks for the rock pool.
  • Peaceful Sleep – because mosquitoes suck
  • Cash – because without it, you are going to be thirsty and hungry for the rest of the weekend.
  • Drive slowly please, there are road works and potholes at the same time on the road from Gauteng. People coming from Swaziland side, you know how the roads are. Keep left, pass right but pass only if it’s safe to do so.

With one wicked line up, with comedy, dance, rivers and the most fantastic views you can think of you can expect one awesome popping Mieliepop. We know we are! Now hand me that ticket…

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.