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SPLASHY FEN COUNTDOWN (article first published : 2008-03-8)

Start ticking off the days and get ready for Splashy Fen 2008 – the country’s longest-running annual music festival that is once again expected to live up to its reputation as the ‘ultimate outdoor experience’. Happening over the Easter long weekend from March 20 to 24 near Underberg in KZN, Splashy Fen has something for everyone.

Proudly supported by East Coast Radio, Splashy Fen 2008 is geared to offer one of its most diverse line-ups in recent years. Expect a showcase of not only the best in folk, blues, rock, indie and electro dance, but also some of the most exciting new acts to come out of South Africa in a long time. Included in the four-day two marquee programme of over 80 artists are the likes of Tree63, Goldfish, The Rudimentals, Miriam Backhouse, Dan Patlansky, Plush, Gonzo Republic, Redflecks (USA), Kidofdoom, Southern Gypsey Queen, Syd Kitchen, Josie Field, Avatar, Crossingpoint, New Loud Rockets, Napalma, The Arrows and many more.

Just as this year’s line-up is better than ever, so are the choices of where to snuggle up under the Southern Berg stars at the end of each day. The long-standing tradition of staking out a site, setting up camp and settling in for a weekend of fun and fellowship means the general camping areas will no doubt continue to be the first choice for many festival-goers. As always, entrance to these campsites is included in the ticket price and campers can also look forward to improved ablution facilities.

With the festival fast approaching its 20th anniversary, it’s not too surprising that many Splashy ‘veterans now have spouses and children in tow, making the centrally-located, cordoned-off family campsite an option well worth considering. Although it carries a R100 per vehicle surcharge (payable on arrival), don’t forget that entry for children under 12 is free. Also situated in this area is the children’s marquee and entertainment zone, with a full programme of daytime amusements plus an evening child-minding service.

Anyone mistakenly put off at the thought of ‘roughing it’, will be pleased to know that Kreef Hotel will be back at Splashy again this year, offering a hassle-free, comfortable camping alternative. After all, what could be easier than checking in to a pre-pitched and spacious tent, complete with mattresses and linen, to enjoy all the expected amenities of a ‘regular’ B & B at very affordable rates? Situated in a prime position overlooking the festival site, this professionally-run tent hotel is the perfect choice for those wishing to enjoy the ‘ultimate outdoor experience’ without forgoing any of their regular creature comforts. Visit www.kreefhotel.co.za for bookings and more information, and remember space is limited!

Should even this mode of camping not appeal, then the Underberg area offers a wide selection of accommodation within easy reach for daily commuting to and from the festival. Check out the links on Splashy’s website.

Aside from all the great music and fun outdoor activities on offer, festival-goers can also look forward to a bigger and more colourful Craft Market and an even more extensive selection of appetising treats in the Food Court.

Whether buying or just browsing, Splashy Fen’s ‘new-look’ Craft Market offers the widest-ever choice of original handcrafted wares, ranging from aluminium flutes and other musical instruments to pottery, basketry and fine-art, funky local clothing lines, jewellery and accessories. There will also be décor items for the home and garden, hammocks, solar-powered camping gear, goods crafted from pewter, silver, leather, crystals and recycled materials, plus authentic Native American arts, crafts and teepees, complementary health therapies and the opportunity to see one of SA’s top graffiti artists in action. And rest assured, Saswitch-enabled ATM facilities will be available around the clock for when the shopping bug bites!

Prepare to be spoilt for choice in the Food Court, which is guaranteed to cater for all tastes with a range that encompasses everything from Chinese stir-fries to pastas, pizzas, vegetarian dishes, falafel wraps, potjiekos, seafood, Indian cuisine and meals for the health conscious. Some of the country’s biggest names in fast food will also be there, as will the bacon-and-egg rolls and butternut soup that have become firm Splashy favourites over the years! Another welcome addition is a bigger and more extensive beer garden and bar area, operated once again by the Sani Round Table. As is the case each year, a percentage of proceeds will be donated to local charities, an exercise in which Splashy Fen organisers have long been proud to participate.

Tickets are available at selected Game stores (R300), Computicket (R350) and at the festival gate (R400). Gates open at 06h00 on March 20 and the price includes camping until March 24. Entrance for children under 12 is free. No glass/bottles, illegal substances, firearms, weapons, pets or car boot music will be permitted in the festival site and persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information and the latest festival news, visit www.splashyfen.co.za or contact Pedro at 082 892 6176.




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