I attend my very first Up the Creek thanks to Sedgwick’s

by Karisa

I love a good music fest.  I’ve done most of the big ones (and even a very big 5 day one abroad), but the one that always seemed to escape me was Up The Creek.  I had heard from friends of mine, over and over again, that my life certainly wouldn’t be complete if I did not at least experience it once; and I knew in my heart they were right…

Then enter the awesome folks at Sedgwicks, one of this year’s main sponsors.  These fantastic people gifted me and a friend a free ticket each to finally experience all the festival awesomeness.  #High5ToThat

Now Up The Creek happens every year around this time at a location close to Swellendam.  It’s a bit of a drive (about 2h 30min), followed by a stretch of dirt road which was a little hairy for my tiny Mini, but she at least made it there OK.  You might be thinking “Hmmm, that seems like a lot of effort to get to a music fest… why would you do it?”  Well because at the end of that dirt road, it’s not just the bad-ass line up of great local bands that awaits you, it’s also the chance to spend your days doing this:

Photo by my friend Darryn van der Walt

Photo by my friend Darryn van der Walt

Yup, at Up the Creek, you spend your days on the river while enjoying live music at the River Stage (which this year was brought to you by Sedgwick’s).  Then as the sun sets you move on over to the other 2 stages which this year was sponsored by Hunters & Jagermeister.  The most important Up The Creek essential therefore becomes anything that floats really, and it’s quite freakin’ fantastic…

The festival takes place over 4 days (this year it kicked off on 29 Jan and wrapped up on 1 Feb), but I was only able to make it from the Fri eve onwards.  The first two days of the fest were scorchers, thus making it perfect for a whole lotta river chilling.  Unfortunately on the Saturday we were rained out…  Everyone kept saying how in all the years this fest has been running it’s never ever rained before… then they looked at me, like I was the only “new” factor thrown into the mix, which of course meant that I brought the rain… well maybe I did 😉  But at least I still hit the water!

Cause I’m a trooper… and I also felt bad about bringing the rain…

At least the organisers also made a plan by moving the river stage up to a dryer spot, and the guys from Sedgwick’s was sharing the warmth (literally) with their undercover chill zone:


I’m happy to report that by the Sunday the weather had cleared to beautiful blue skies again, so at least my rain of bad luck (see what I did there), was only temporary.

My favourite music session was without a doubt the Saturday evening.  Lots of cool bands I already knew & loved, plus a mix of new, exciting bands who definitely got themselves a new fan.  The line up included: The Nomadic Orchestra, Qadasi, December Streets, Shortstraw, Hot Water & The Black Cat Bones.  Seriously, if you don’t recognise any of these names, do yourself a favour by checking out their websites, listening to their stuff on Youtube and then purchasing some tunes.  Local music is where it’s at people, without a doubt.

Night time prep & dodgy blue drinks… #FestivalAdventures

The Nomadic Orchestra

Hot Water


The Black Cat Bones

Other highlights included the BEST damn gourmet hot dog I’ve ever had in my life, ever (I won’t divulge how many of those I went back for).  I also really loved that compared to a festival like Rocking the Daisies for example, this one is rather small and intimate.  With only around 3000 people (well that’s the number I heard), you don’t really get any of the hassles associated with massive crowds.  There was lots of space to roam around, and you never really queued for anything for too long.  Also, the cleanliness of the camping area when compared to Daisies was a refreshing change.  They even sent people around on the last day to come and collect your rubbish.  Now why can’t all festivals be like that?

Now that I’ve ticked this one off my bucket list, I can happily say that it’s a definite must.  If you’re a music lover, Up The Creek should definitely be on your to do list for next year,   so start looking out for the perfect lilo to complete your river look.


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