Under new ownership and management, the farm of Splashy Fen and the event itself has undergone a lifetime of changes since its very first festival held in 1990.
Words and photos by Haidee Visser
The Splashy Fen of today has seen a major revival and brought with it a modern yet completely authentic festival experience, which Splashy has always been well-known for. Splashy Fen has always been about the music, and featuring a plethora of both main stream and up-and-coming South African artists, and an international act to boot, the festival truly delivered on its promise.
If you find yourself at a loss In-between music acts at your next Splashy Fen festival, here are the top five things to experience to enjoy the authenticity and creativity of KZN’s most famous festival…
1. Explore the Tree-House Stage arena
Truly reminiscent of the ‘old’ Splashy days and for all things hippy and earth-inspired, make your way to the Tree-House Stage and discover the quirky nooks of this beautifully creative ‘zen’ area of the festival. With morning yoga sessions, Digeridoo workshops and performing artists such as Calan Watts, Nibs Vd Spuy and other up-and-coming South African artists, the Tree-House stage brings heart and authenticity to the festival.
For health food fans, vegans and vegetarians- get your fix at the various organic food stands, while interactive arts and crafts, hand-made installations, and the iconic Splashy Fen bonfire and drum circle evenings add to the magic of the Tree-House stage arena.
2. Kick back at Marley Coffee
For the genteel early morning wake-me-up (which you might be looking for after a late night or two!) or super chilled afternoon wind-down, Marley Coffee is truly worth waiting in line for! With its laid-back and comfortable set up, sip on responsibly sourced coffee and relax in the lounge area against hay bales and on fluffy carpets, while listening to live reggae.
3. Watch artists in action
Found in the centre of all the action is the live artist’s graffiti wall, where crowds gather to watch graffiti art take a live form. With the artworks changing daily, make sure to catch true talent in action – one of the most on-trend and modern installations to be added to the festival.
4. Nab an iconic Splashy shot
Do it for the memories and make your way down to the river at the entrance of Splashy Fen. Here you will find the Hollywood-inspired Splashy sign perched upon on a hill with the striking mountains of the Underberg falling into the background. While you’re there, set up a picnic beside the river and bask in the fresh mountain air and glorious sunshine (if the weather permits!).
Tip: Make sure to time your photo opportunity for mid-morning, and not get caught in silhouette in the afternoon light.
5. Take a meander
Splashy Fen isn’t called South Africa’s ‘friendliest festival’ for nothing, and can be proven by simply taking a walk. Peppered throughout the festival grounds you will find creative installations, happy campers welcoming you to join in for a drum circle, food, arts and crafts stalls, gorgeous scenery of the Underberg and maybe even a new friend or two! Part of a quintessential Splashy Fen experience is walking the festival flat, so pull on your gumboots and take a meander.