On 21 September 2020 Anthony or Ant as we called him, would have turned 70. Swinging 70’s but life had other plans and on 28 August I received unbelievable call from good friend, Conrad Jamneck – Ant is no longer with us.

In 2001 I first went to Blue Moon which turned out to be their very first rock show. It featured bands like Not My Dog, Wendy Odefield and a bunch of Lowveld bands. I was matric but I saw Ant and Pete and though ‘bunch of old guys but cool guys’ because at 18 you think 40 is old…But over the years of seeing shows at Blue Moon I got to know Pete, Anthony and Renate a bit more. It was me returning from America looking for some extra work that got me behind the bar that was around 2006/7. To this day I remember the day that Ant and Pete asked their A-Team bar team to join the Up The Creek team down in Swellendam.

Anthony Bumbstead - photo credit Julian Ann Photography
Anthony Bumbstead
(photo by Julian Ann Photography)

So let me forward all of this. Ant was really a boss man, if he asked jump you should know how high already. He was always happy to see one of his friends. With his strange hats and interesting dress sense Anthony became the spirit of the mountain. It took a trip with him and two friends, Frank and Chan, to STRAB in Mozambique to truly get to know Ant. I will forever hold that road trip and festival in my heart. I was still learning to do all of the festivals and learnt a great lot form Ant. The previous year was my first STRAB and I shared a tent with two friends.

I always loved seeing Ant’s mind work when there was a problem or he had to solve a something. Anyone who has organized any kind of event (even a wedding) knows nothing and everything can go according to plan or not. This is how it is and was with UTC and Blue Moon events. Our ‘Picnic in the Garden’ concert series had its problems logically since you basically had to take everything and the kitchen sink. But somehow between Ant, Pete and their team they made it work. The Prime Circle sound disaster I saw Ant and Pete chat, sitting on the grass behind the bar. We all felt so powerless especially towards the band because they walked a long way with Blue Moon. I asked Ant what now and his answer “Nothing. It’s over and done. Nothing more can be done”. It was a lesson as well in a sense. Some things are just beyond your control.

Anthony Bumbstead and Frank Guy STRAB 2016 - photo Christine Rossouw
Anthony and good friend Frank Guy at STRAB 2016
(Photo: Christine Rossouw)

It was Ant who listened to me as well when I came with a broken heart to work. Pete gave hugs as well. The two of them encourage me to study events management. When I told them I’m starting Small Town Music they were super keen. And as I learnt from Ant the stories to be told seems never to end. Ant in fact said to me now I can tell stories as well since I was No One’s Arc best (and only) band aid.

For the past month or so I have been wrecking my brain as to the last time I saw Ant. It might have been STRAB or Woodcrock. But either way when he saw me, he pushed people out of the way to hug me. And didn’t matter if I worked in the bar or not I was his bar lady. He loved his bar team – Eddie, Anne-Marie, Minette and I. He wore one pair of tights at UTC the one night, I will keep them forever. I will miss him pulling my arm asking me about a band that’s playing or help him fill the gaps in his stories. I will never forget him and the late Piet Botha sitting outside by the house back door telling stories forever and ever. Piet with his pipe and Anthony bumming smokes from whoever was nearby. And the coffee runs being the thing between whoever. Anthony taught many of us. He treated us like family and it’s true you have family that isn’t blood related (FOPK).

Anthony Bumbstead, Beanie and Piet Botha - photo credit Arthur Dennis
Anthony, his daughter Beanie and the late Piet Botha
(Photo credit: Arthur Dennis)

To me Ant was almost like a dad figure, an uncle figure, an amazing boss and of course telling stories. I still see his signal to us in the bar for a drink. I still his smiling bearded face. I still see his favourite red hat. Hear his announcements ego over the kopje of Blue Moon. Some days I smell his aftershave. I fucking miss him. And I am so thankful for his role in my life. I don’t wonder where I will be without Blue Moon but I know that is my place in the world.

Anthony Bumbstead and No One's Arc at Blue Moon Nelspruit. Photo credit Marley van Wetten
Anthony chatting to No One’s Arc at Blue Moon
(Photo by: Marley van Wetten)

To Ant’s kids and Renate – big bear hugs. When I see you, you will get them. To Pete I thank you for taking a chance on this animal and showing me a different world. I miss you way too much. To my Blue Moon family that extents all over the world – wear your hat and never let the truth get in the way of a good a story.

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.