Review: Utopia Festival

It’s a bold move to name a festival ‘Utopia’. The name implies an ideal world, a somewhat tall order to fill when you have a few thousand potential festival goers to keep happy.

The Utopia Festival at sunset

The line up was like a mixed tape made for a girl you like, but you’re not sure what will impress her. A few bands with radio-friendly hits such as The Plastics and aKing. A few newcomers on the verge of breaking out in the form of Red Huxley and Wolftown. Will she be offended by the frankness of Fokofpolisiekar and Karen Zoid? Best you make your intentions clear by including the alternative electro Moving House: one listen to Andre Gideon Montgomery Pienaar’s bedroom voice and she’ll know!

fokofpolisiekar at Utopia’s Phoenix Stage

Fokof was worth the trip out to Nekkies by themselves. I could even appreciate their new tune ‘Dag Dronk’ simply because it is just such an appropriate song for the event. Van Coke Kartel’s guitarist Jedd Kossew stood in for Hunter Kennedy and, being a much livelier performer than Kennedy, Kossew added an extra dimension to the set.

Desmond and the Tutus… what fun! Even the Plus One – who dramatically turns off the radio every time that they come on – had a blast. This is not a band that you listen to from a distance. You need to be in the crowd, dancing like an uncoordinated white boy.

De Wallen on the GoBos stage Photo: Bos Ice Tea Facebook page

The ‘Go Bos’ stage is an open mic platform for anyone with a voice, a musical talent or just the confidence (delusion?) of an Idols contestant. The stage was at the entrance ensuring that most festival goers would stop by. On arrival we caught half of De Wallen acoustic set. The Kuils River natives had a rather cute drinking game where someone in the crowd picked a card from a deck then everyone drank. I am not sure about the rules but I liked the direction it was going.

Sandwitches

Clearly the organisers of Utopia have been to other festivals, with clipboard in hand. Some elements of other festivals, such as shade and lifeguards for the river, had not only been included but significantly improved upon.

The Oasis (electro) stage

The Oasis (electro) stage

The only thing I missed was… other people. According to the sandwich lady, the organisers expected around 1500. With my grade 7 maths my guesstimate is that the turnout was closer to 700. We had that awkward movie moment when the music stopped and we were still having a screaming conversation. Think Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You’s club scene.

The Phoenix (main) stage at Utopia

However this also translated in no queues – anywhere! In fact I have never seen a barman so happy to see me. Although considering the amount of barmen (and bars) the queue situation would have been under control even with three times the amount of people.

Eagle

The Phoenix stage’s eagle trying out Denzel Washington’s Flight moves

Ideal world? Not far off. It will be interesting to see where they will take the Utopia festival next year. A solid foundation has been set.

Photos by @glanskind

      This post originally appeared on WhatsoninCapeTown.com

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The Kooks #5GumExperience

5 Gum is hands down one of the coolest brands in South Africa at the moment. Every few months they give a few thousand people the kind of super special exclusive experience usually only reserved for the cool kids bloggers and socialites.

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We have been lucky to have attended all the events thus far. And by lucky I mean absolutely spoilt. It’s gotten to the point that we’re no longer impressed with the idea of being bussed to a secret venue hosting an international act.  Who am I kidding I’m not a blasé blogger I’m still insanely impressed.

The venue was in a film studio warehouse in Salt River. 5 Gum pimped up the place with the amazing lighting that they have become a signature for this event.

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The Kooks where amazing. Rumour has it that during Seaside one hipster was so taken by the lyrics that he promptly called a taxi to also have a shot of falling on and in love at the seaside. Powerful stuff. The Kooks’ new material would have been better on another band. It did not have that same mellow rusta vibe that makes you long for a road trip as their older stuff does.

Oh but what a set!  The Kooks crawls into every fibre of your eardrum and just hangs out.

The organisation of the event is so precise it will make a German blush. The queuing situation was a bit of a mess (someone actually pushed me out of the way to get to a stall) but this was due to the high number of First Timers. With First Timers I’m not referring to people at their first 5 Gum Experience, it’s those people who seem to be at their very first event with people who are not in their immediate family.

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I hate leaving a show early to “miss the crowds” but this crowd is one you want to miss. At the 2 Door Cinema Club 5 Gum Experience we saw the insane queues for the busses so I sacrificed Naive and saved ourselves the near riot (according to Twitter accounts) that broke out over the busses.

I woke up this morning smell of 5 Gum Watermelon on my pillow. Those 5 Gum organisers….they don’t miss a single detail.Image

Photos by @glanskind

DIY Revamp: Camouflage Shirt

The ever turning wheel that is fashion has stopped on camouflage again this season. A camouflage shirt is the little black dress of over shirts. It pretty much works with everything.

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Mr Price camouflage shirt

I found this rather loud camouflage shirt (talk about an oxymoron) at Mr Price which was so close to perfect save for a few minor details. For one the embellishment had to go. The original buttons were actually not that bad, but I had something better

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A new perspective on mass production clothing

For the past few months I’ve been collecting buttons with a crown design from the Milnerton Market at R1 a pop. I like that even though they are completely different there’s a level of uniformity.

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Buttons from the Milnerton Market

One episode of Justified later and I had a completely new look.

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Trinity the Mannequin rocking the camouflage shirt

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The golden rose broach is another Milnerton Market find

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My favourite button

I saved all the buttons and embellishment for the next turn of the wheel, apparently Dolly Parton chic is all the range next season…

Cape Town’s Cheat Sheet

After the love letter of a blog post for Cape Town last week, this makes me feel like a total hypocrite. Instead of savouring the best of the Mother City on the scenic route I took the highway straight to the Taste of Cape Town. It’s the ultimate cheat sheet to the tastiest eateries, wineries and brands in and around the city. It is not a cheap outing but after a stop at the Honey Jack stand you won’t care (that much).

You have to drink the card that you're dealt

You have to drink the card that you’re dealt

Used to the rocky terrain of rock festival grounds we were very in awe of the even turf of the Greenpoint Cricket Club. Is this how grownups spend their weekends? It’s rather nice.

Almost as nice as the girl at the Acqua Panna stand who didn’t give me a dirty look when I used her spotless white stand to plak down the The Plus One’s  Signal short rib for a few minutes while he went to get Beefcakes burgers for the kids.  Their lemonade is highly recommended by the 8 year old and the bottles are freaking adorable.

Another tasty dish was the duck risotto from the newly opened restaurant at De Grendel. De Grendel is one of my go to places to take visitors because of their comprehensive wine tasting and the amazing ocean and mountain views.

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The Cape Town Angel’s with Princess Pop

Paired with crystallised strawberry bits Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is absolutely divine.  While the Plus One got stuck at the Bain’s stand I visited The Cape Town Angels.  Their benefit stage was a buffet of the Cape Town music scene ranging from a drag queen (Princess Pop) to the brother and sister folk duo Janie & The Beard.

I thought it was rather funny how the City Press had a VIP area on the day that they printed their big “exposé” on the meet scandal. What’s a chunk of donkey meat between some very important people, right…right?

Canapé

The Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience

The best value for money was The Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience. For 5 crowns (R15) we made 3 gourmet canapés paired with 3 white wines.  I don’t know who enjoyed it the most, the kids or Joanne and myself who have both been banned from the kitchen by our respective partners.  For half an hour we had the ability to effectively use deep fried basil leaves on a dainty canapé and the wisdom to used vanilla spate instead of vanilla essence in dessert. Our cheese cake mix looked expert in the mini fish bowl. And the best part, after draining the kids’ wine glasses we could just leave the “dirty” kitchen behind.

The Eleven Year Old at The Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience

The Eleven Year Old at The Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience

Living in Cape Town: A permanent travel story

As a child I was very spoiled with super extended holidays away. We went to the beach, the bushvelt and the big city. I can’t remember a holiday that was less than 2 weeks. Before the picture of a spoilt princess starts to form in your head (before you promptly go back to reading the real Cape Town blogs) I should probably mention that these holidays were on a VERY tight budget. Most of the accommodation we stayed in was on loan from contacts of my parents/squatting at family and we saved all year for rest.

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Initially it was a rather rude awakening when I realised that there was no way that I could have these stretched out breaks after I moved out of the parentals’ place. I am just not likeable enough to befriend folks with second homes along the coast.

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The Cape Town tourism board will like you to believe that you don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town.  Where does that leave those who have made CT a permanent residence? A million little breakaways each weekend! (The weekends that I’m not having a Game of Thrones/Smash marathon that is.) We live a few minutes from the winelands and 7 minutes from the City Bowl if my Plus One is driving. This city is ours to devour!

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