I had to take a two year break from festivals. Only because the last time I attended one, we only realised as we arrived that we’d left everything but our tent and our clothes at home. I’m talking towels, pillows, sleeping bags, blankets. We spent the weekend sleeping on the hard ground, freezing cold with not even a little towel to keep us warm. It was so traumatic that I couldn’t face another festival… until Sedgwicks invited us to join them at Up The Creek, that is.
We took the day off on Friday and drove up on Thursday night, to check in to Sedgwicks Cove in the Heartbreak Motel. Our luxe Graceland tent had a carpet, two beds with clean white bedding and proper mattresses, a little camping closet for our clothes, a light, table, plug point and of course a bottle of Sedgwicks. My kind of camping! The absolute best part is not having to set up your tent in the dark, or take it down in the blazing sunlight after three nights of barely any sleep. Also, the hot showers and breakfast buffet every morning. Basically, it’s the dream.
We slept warm and comfortably on Thursday night, only to wake up on Friday morning to pouring rain. I’m talking buckets. Cats and dogs. Floods of rain – I mean, the Cape desperately needed it, so we were pleased. We rolled over and went back to sleep, but eventually, we decided to embrace the rain.
Thankfully, it dried up on Friday night and by Saturday morning, the sun was out in full force. You might know and love Sedgwicks as a fireside drink for winter, but they’ve developed some seriously delicious summertime cocktails, and on Saturday afternoon we learned to make some in a fun workshop. I can’t wait to share some of the recipes with you, right here on this very blog!
Up The Creek is all about spending the day floating around on the Breede River, watching bands from your inflatable lilo, unicorn, swan, or whatever else floats your boat (get it). The vibe is so chilled and fun and honestly, it’s my favourite way to spend a long festival day.
Up The Creek is one of my favourite festivals on the South African calendar. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Location, location, location
The location is pretty easy on the eyes. It’s also only just over 200kms from Cape Town, and the drive out is not bad either.
2. Size matters
It’s small in numbers and small in size, so you don’t have to spend the whole weekend looking for your friends. You also don’t have to first have a little cry before turning back if you happen to forget something at your tent. Not to mention that you’re never too far from a bathroom when you wake up in the middle of the night.
3. South African music
The music is goooood. Check out this year’s lineup. It’s a great mix between local blues and rock. Old favourites and new.
4. The Vibe
The vibe is chilled. Like, there’s no pressure for it to be a fashion show. It’s just a riverside music festival. On Saturday afternoon you’ll find people napping in the shade of the main stage. If you need some help getting up onto your giant swan, there’s always someone willing.
5. It’s clean
Because, well, it’s a riverside music festival. Also because there are only 2500 people, so there are enough ablutions.
If you’re into music festivals, you should definitely add Up The Creek to your 2018 calendar.
Here’s my guide to making the best of your Up The Creek experience:
1. Don’t bother packing food and drinks
I actually say this for every festival. It’s just not worth lugging a weekend’s worth of food and drinks up when you could very easily just buy what you need there. The bar at Up The Creek is actually really reasonably priced, and there were food options ranging from pizza to vegan.
2. You need to float
If you forget to pack a floatation device of some sort, don’t stress, they sell a few by the river. But it’s always best to try be as creative as possible with your floatie. This year I bought what I thought was a giant unicorn, but turned out to be fit for a child. It was hard to balance on, but I made the most of it.
3. Get your tickets early
Tickets are really limited and they do sell out fast, so make sure you get yours in time. Like the Up The Creek Facebook page if you want to stay updated on next year’s ticket sales.
4. Splurge if you can
It is absolutely worth staying in the Heartbreak Motel. Not only do you get the whole luxe tent setup, but there are porters to help you get your stuff from your car to your tent, extra toilets, hot showers and this, they even had a pool set up. There’s 24 hour security and enough space for you to chill out in the shade if the sun and the crowds become too much.
5. Make it a long weekend
The festival starts on the Thursday and by the time we arrived, about 50% of people were already there. If you’re camping in luxury and showering when you wake up, swimming when you’re hot and napping when you’re tired, I think you’ll find that three days are better than two at this festival. Also, if you’re going to drop the R5000 for the Graceland Heartbreak Motel tent, and you split in between two people over three nights, it’s worth it at R830 pp/pn. Don’t forget, that includes a huge buffet breakfast.
See you there next year!
Thanks for the amazing time, Sedgwicks!