by Mark Hardie
(Durban, South Africa)
Splashy Fen 2012
Splashy Fen 2012 South Africa
5-9 April 2012
Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Good music, good beer, Outdoor leisure activities, awesome vibe
From its early beginnings back in 1990, Splashy Fen has evolved into one of South Africa’s premier music festivals which nowadays sees thousands of people making the annual pilgrimage to Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal for what is regarded by many as the ‘ultimate outdoor experience’.
Over the years, this much-loved festival has built a strong reputation as being a financially viable, responsible and well-organised event that continues to reinvent itself so as to stay relevant. Although continuously adapting to changing trends, Splashy Fen has nevertheless managed to retain its unique character and appeal; that special ‘something’ – the people, the vibe, the sense of family – which has allowed it to endure for two decades to become the longest-running music festival in the country.
Today, Splashy Fen prides itself on offering festival-goers a total entertainment ‘package’ that goes beyond great live music performances to include a wide choice of outdoor leisure and adventure activities for the whole family, as well as a multitude of different food and drinks outlets, colourful craft stalls and a children’s entertainment marquee and crèche. Also on offer are much-improved camping facilities, a separate family campsite and even a tent hotel.
Ferraz is quick to point out, however, that although efforts are continuously made to introduce fresh ideas, the basic formula of providing a therapeutic break from the real world coupled with top-quality entertainment, remains the same.
“Nobody can ever say that Splashy Fen is the same old thing year after year. On the contrary, we are always on the look-out for new ways to enhance the festival but never at the risk of losing the special ambience that is unique to Splashy and sets us apart from other festivals.”
Lessons learned and expertise gained over the years means that attendees can expect only the very best in terms of production and event management, which is now slicker and more professional than ever before.
Infrastructure has also been built up to support the growing festival.
This includes Eskom power and stand-by generators, public telephones, permanent and temporary ablution facilities and a marquee ‘village’ to accommodate the different stages, bar areas, security and medical services. Tons of sound, stage and lighting equipment is assembled each year to ensure that the quality of the sound matches the quality of the music.