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SPLASHY FREE STAGE (article first published : 2007-04-3)

Thanks to noteworthy developments surrounding this famous launch-pad for new talent there are now even more reasons for unsigned bands and solo artists to head for the annual Splashy Fen Music Festival in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal from April 5 to 9 2007.

To begin with is the opportunity for performers on the SAMRO-SAI/Futurenet Free Stage to win recording time with a producer, which will ultimately result in a three-song, mixed and mastered EP – complete with artwork and design – delivered in a professional, enhanced multimedia CD format. This incentive to practise harder than ever and play a spectacularly tight set is worth more than R10,000 and comes from the combined resources of Face Studios and Kablooey Studios.

Contenders will be narrowed down over the four days of the competition, with the finals taking place on the Sunday afternoon (April 8). Not only will the winner receive recording time and a prime slot at Splashy Fen 2008, but KulumaTV will also offer a music video to the winning band or performer. This will be a one song production to be produced outside the festival (terms and conditions apply).

In addition, a talented female guitarist will walk off with an Epiphone Emily the Strange lead guitar plus an Epiphone Firefly 30 guitar amplifier to the value of R6,500 in the Marshall Music Hillcrest ‘Girls-only’ Lead Guitar Competition also being held on the Free Stage. Plus, each of the Free Stage performers will be entered into a lucky draw, where they stand to win a Tanglewood TW28 Indiana Dreadnought Sunburst acoustic guitar valued at R1,100. This prize is also courtesy of Marshall Music and the draw will take place on Sunday afternoon.

Joining the Southern Africa Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) as a co-sponsor of the Free Stage this year, is Internet service provider SAI/Futurenet which has increased its involvement from generously hosting the official Splashy Fen website to hands-on participation in discovering South Africa’s music stars of tomorrow. The company’s Des Ramsay says that SAI/Futurenet has “always supported local music in general and emerging artists in particular, offering free web-hosting to those without the means to generate this important form of exposure”.

The Splashy Fen organisers are also pleased that SAMRO has agreed to extend its patronage of the Free Stage for another year. New players in the music field would be well advised to seek expert advice from SAMRO – a society of composers, lyricists and publishers which licenses their music for broadcast usage, public performances and diffusion services, then distributes the royalties back to the rights holders. The organisation’s presence at Splashy is a means of both promoting new talent and making unsigned artists aware of the considerable benefits to be gained from joining its collective.

The SAMRO-SAI/Futurenet Free Stage will operate from morning to early evening in the Splashy Fen marquee, giving those artists who manage to secure slots, total access to full backline equipment and professional sound engineers. Registration will take place each morning (Thursday to Sunday) and bands or solo artists are encouraged to get there early as competition is guaranteed to be fierce! For more information contact Free Stage Manager, Casey Gill at 082 586 0077.

As for the rest of the festival - artists performing in the Grant Erskine Marquee include the likes of Tony Cox, Chris Chameleon, Lark, The Parlotones, Sitter, Tidal Waves, Jack Hammer, Bed on Bricks, Harris Tweed, Jim Neversink, Josie Field and New Academics.

If hard rock and alternative music is more your thing, then catch acts like Taxi Violence, The Hellphones, Japan and I, Sheep Down and The City Bowl Mizers in the Splashy Fen Marquee, where funny-man Glen Bo will also crack you up with his stand-up comedy show. A limited edition CD compilation featuring 21 of this year’s artists will also be on sale at the festival.

Splashy Fen tickets are available at selected Game stores in KZN (R285), Computicket (R310) and at the festival gate (R350). The price includes camping and entrance for children under 12 is free.

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




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