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White Mountain

White Folks Mountain Festival

by Mr Paloi / 01.10.2009

I consider myself a seasoned festival goer and can smugly drop names like Glastonbury and Reading even though the memories are hazy. Where once I could party 48 hours and feel nothing more than a stiff neck, I now consider camping chairs an essential packing item and get stiff all over from uneven ground. So the idea of a folk festival in the Drakensberg sounded incredibly appealing – laid back hippy/hill-billy music set in one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural assets.

The festival was fairly small in terms of crowd, dribblings of people exploring the grand surroundings that included the White Mountain lodge, a dam and g’dam beautiful hills – an ideal setting for any music festival. The program was somewhat alarming; the need to point out 24 hour medical care over and above anything else taking place seemed a little unnecessary. Worse still was being confronted by a morning itinerary that included a colouring in competition, a treasure hunt and the cricket! I was disappointed to have left my crayons in Jozi.

White Mountain Folk Festival

Tequila and kisses from my girlfriend and someone yells, “not in front of the kids!” We decide to park far away from the other campers and go to suss out the music. A barrage of murdered cover songs to an audience as excited as George Bush at a peace conference. Friday morning was about the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen at any festival anywhere in the world: joggers, cyclists, hikers, people with fishing gear all setting off while I stood coughing over my first cigarette and trying to taste the stain on my shirt. No trip has ever come close to being this surreal. When they said folk festival I hadn’t realised it was more a festival for my folks. There were kids everywhere: right across the valley, setting out on the day’s adventures. I looked around for the rainbow and lambs frolicking then realised it was all very real. A music festival aimed at family campers. And I’d forgotten my crayons.

The last thing I heard before setting off on an unplanned trip to the East Coast was someone with a Tequila bottle asking where all the drunk people were? The unplanned trip to the East Coast makes it difficult to comment on the rest of Friday, but I’m sure the kids had fun. Anyhoo I’ll fill ya in with a bit of Saturday, the likes of Rambling Bones, the beautiful Laurie Levine and an upbeat musical journey from Farryl Purkisss went a long way to meeting my expectations of a Folk Festival. A soaking of Tequila and a bit of mountain cabbage helped too as did the ample stalls flogging hippy essentials such as poi and crystals.

White Mountain Folk Festival

Some day, when I’ve 15 dirty hippy children and can remember where I left my crayons, I hope to return to White Mountain Folk Festival. Until then I hope that they work on the line-up so that those of us without kids have a better reason to go. With South Africa’s abundance of talent and depth of folk music on offer this should not be too difficult.

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RESPONSES (8)
  1. Silent Bob says:

    fucking folkies

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  2. Orange Rhymes With Syringe says:

    Thank god I’ve never been. A music festival even tamer than Splashy Fen? Dear gods in heaven, wherever you are, and I know you must be up there cos every now an then you fuck me over and there’s no other explanation other than a bunch of laughing bastards sittin on clowds –

    Please let me never, ever go to a ‘festival’ like this. And please let me continue to go to jols in the bush where chicks rip their tops off, superdodge hippies are selling ketamine and and I wake up with no money but great memories of near-death experences.

    ‘Festival’? What the hell’s so festive about White Mountain?

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  3. Still cool says:

    Dudes, just cos I’m a bit older, with a wife and child, doesn’t mean I need to sit at home and braai wif my neighbours. White Mountain was billed as a laid-back family friendly acoustic fest and lived up to what it promised. I saw only a handful of hippies the whole weekend and people of pretty much all ages, so perhaps Mr Poloi had one tequila soaking too many? Also curious as to why you’d go to an event – any event – without first checking out what the line-up was?

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  4. Mnandi says:

    Good folk i dont really believe the criticism is at the children or familial culture – that culture prevails at any good festival. More so, that the watery line-up and compensation with colouring in and following the dots is a little silly.

    Incidentally i just saw on facebook’s notifications that “Pedro Carlo changed the name of the group “White Mountain Folk Festival” to “White Mountain Festival”

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  5. Happy Hippie says:

    It’s what you make of it. Life. Festivals. Sick of this ‘entertainment on demand’ generation. We had a awesome time there and just chilled the ‘folk’ out! Late nights at Tom’s Tavern. Deep fried man. There was lots of stuff happening behind the kids backs.

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  6. Festival nut says:

    Happy Hippie you are absolutley correct – its what you make of it – I would rather be sitting at some festival in the reeds rather than sitting at dodgy clubs like the Blues Room and similar in towns where you know you will be harrassed by the local ‘spietkop’ on your way home.

    Personally i prefer the smaller intimate festivals rather than festivals like Oppikoppi and Woodstock where you get lighties so broken and causing KAK and stealing your stuff so they can afford some change for a quick fix from the local dealer selling shitty ‘goetes’ anyhow.

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  7. JKG says:

    It was my first WMFF but I will definitely return in the years to follow!

    4 days of amazing tunes, good people and well looked after toilets!!!!!

    Thank You Pedro for what you’re about! Pedro is on it!

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  8. Lopez says:

    You gotta be kidding me…

    Get a life people, WMFF is a smaller splashy with less underage drunk kids running about and the lineup still sucks like splashys and JKG, if you knew Pedro you would not be thanking the two faced capitalist pig who cant pay bands what they are worth but would rather rake in the cash while bending artists over a barrell…

    thanks…

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