By Vanessa

I’ll tell you this…
No eternal reward will forgive us now
For wasting the dawn – Stoned Immaculate

The Doors

So, we’ve decompressed, we’ve returned to our ‘normal’ everyday lives yet we are still basking in the light of our very first festival since lockdown. Since that fateful day where the entire human population’s lives changed forever. The Misty Waters Festival breathed new life into all who attended and every artist who performed. It literally gave us a new lease on life. Here are my highlights of what turned out to be moments of pure bliss, elevating magic and much-needed love and hugs shared among people who have longed for this for a very, very long time.

Albert Frost and Die Wasgoedlyn performing at Misty Waters 2021 -
Photo credit: Schutte photography
Albert Frost and Die Wasgoedlyn
(Photo credit: Schutte)

Even though this was my first Misty, it definitely was not my first rodeo. I’m a bit of a festival junkie and the fact that we were locked down, unable to dance and express ourselves, hug and love and be merry – that really got to me and I was not the only one. When the news broke that we were allowed to attend a festival, myself and so many other festies felt the exuberance and thrills we had yearned for almost two years!

Misty's amazing festies at Misty Waters 2021 - Photo credit: Schutte photography
Misty’s amazing festies
(Photo credit: Schutte)

Misty Waters Music Festival’s organiser, Dian Rosslee, made some plans. Plans to help us all unroot ourselves from the shackles of a pandemic. Plans for us to be free to dance and hug. Plans for us to sink back into our old fearless selves. Plans for things to happen the way we remembered them. And was Dian the shizz or what?! It happened, people! We had our very first festival outside of the surreal vibes of a pandemic, of all things! We were given the opportunity to see our fellow festies, dance to our fellow festie music and mingle with our fellow festie peeps. And boy, did we fest! Let’s just say that with all of the stellar performances by our favourite South African artists, we were able to leave Secunda with broad smiles, even if only for a while – and it’s up to you how you measure your ‘while’.

Secunda is not a place I know. It was there somewhere on the map but never part of a route that I would use or a place I’d end up in. I knew it was industrial – pretty much like Sasolburg – and that was it. And at first glance on that Thursday afternoon’s arrival, I was indeed greeted by fuming pillars of god-knows-what. In spite of that site, I was greeted by anxious yet enthusiastic festival-goers and every person checking in at the gate was somebody I knew and recognised from a previous fest. In between smog, smoke and ‘samesyn’, I entered into this oasis of down-tempo tunes, laughter, the smell of tribe fires and an overall sense of festivity. It was really happening!

Andre Kriel of The Black Cat Bones performing at Misty Waters 2021 - Photo credit: Schutte
Andre Kriel
The Black Cat Bones
(Photo credit: Schutte)

So, imagine the setting: Secunda – dawn of the dead vibes with flames spewing and factories vomiting all kinds of anti-Greta Thunberg vibes and smack-bang in the middle an oasis with water, music, laughter, sunsets, happy campers, camaraderie, longing for hugs and long-time-no-sees. It was absorbing, addictive and inviting. Settled for the next 4 days of uncomfortable camping for a great cause: for EVERYONE! Dian Rosslee has created a very special spot at Lake Umuzi. A place for us all to enjoy what we love the most, where we feel safe and loved and where we can enjoy all of our favourite music with the best sound and backdrop, dancing and feeling free – and this is why we support these venues.

When you’ve been deprived of good, local music for so long and then suddenly bombarded with the best the country has to offer, it is very difficult to express exactly which moment stood out for you at this fantastic festival. However, I do have my highlights although that is not to say that every single artist who performed, gave their absolute best and was received with so much love and support from everyone in the crowd… Every single band played from the heart and it was truly magnificent. Right here, right now, I’d like to say that the hunger for jamming live was phenomenally apparent and it ensured that the memories of Misty Waters will not easily – if ever – fade from the memories of those who were there.

Arno Carstens of The Springbok Nude Girls performing at Misty Waters 2021 - Photo credit: Schutte photography
Arno Carstens
The Springbok Nude Girls
(Photo credit: Schutte)

Highlights for me:

Wolfgang Marrow’s performance was nothing short of monumental. Sandy Little has a breathtaking stage presence and this was one of the best acts I enjoyed at Misty. The usual suspects – delivering outstanding performances were Albert Frost, Tidal Waves, Basson Laubscher and the Violent Free Peace Band, The Black Cat Bones and of course our old favourite, The Springbok Nude Girls. What a blast to see the Nudies back on stage again with old familiar favourites we all (very loudly) sang along to.

Spoegwolf is a band I’ve been putting on the back burner for some time now for no particular reason, except I haven’t had a chance to see them live. Can I just say that they blew my mind! Lyrical genius, a theatrical performance and definitely a fandom that can be reckoned with. This band has notched up in my list of local favourites and I shall be keeping an eye on them, for sure!

Danie du Toit of Spoegwolf performing at Misty Waters 2021 -Photo credit: Schutte photography
Danie du Toit
(Photo credit: Schutte)

All of the live acts over that weekend left an impact on me. Stellar performances all around by LA Cobra, Murray, Die Wasgoedlyn, Indie Dog, Akkedis, Caution Boy… to name a few. All I can say is that any future Misty Waters Music Festivals should NOT be missed under any circumstances. You want to be there next to the lake, facing a gorgeous stage soaking up the afternoon sun, among your favourite festies listening to your favourite bands.

You want to be there when Spoegwolf’s Danie involves himself in crazy stage-climbing antics. You want to be there when your favourite bands throw t-shirts into the crowd. You want to be there when everyone sings “Suuuuupergirl!”. You want to be there to share tequilas with #SOZLOL. You want to be there when the bonfires are shooting sparks into the evening sky. You want to be there to get to know more festies, more bands and to explore this magnificent venue.

SOZLOL performing at Misty Waters - photo credit Schutte photography
(Photo credit: Schutte)

To Dian and his team: well done on hosting such a memorable festival. Thank you for allowing all of us to come together as one and enjoy the live music you had brought together in one magical space. Thank you for creating a gathering that will hopefully continue to prosper in years to come, because I got my Misty on and I intend on doing so on an annual basis. Smooth-running, flawlessly organised… you can confidently congratulate yourselves on a job well done!

On a final note, we seriously need to give credit where it’s due. This special mention goes out to Jacques Schutte Photography for capturing some mind-blowing moments and for being the designated photographer for the weekend. Thank you for seeing everyone as they truly are and then snapping away to ensure that those moments live forever. So talented and dedicated, this is the guy you want to snap away at your event!

That’s a wrap! If you did not make it to Misty this year, damn son! Be ready to make your plans for the next one, because – trust me – you will be taking that mojo home with you and it will carry you through your tough times! See you next year!

Well the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end – When the music’s over

The Doors
Vanessa is a hippy/gypsy/traveller of the world. A single mom who loves all things music and a complete festival junkie