Every year it seems as if Innibos builds up like a summer storm in the Highveld. You see the storm clouds brewing; feel the electricity in the air and the wind blowing in your hair. You know it’s coming, especially if it’s been a hot humid day. Just like the build up to the storm, Innibos changes the energy around town. It rains down with art, music, laughter, good red wine and then just disappears. Poof. Gone. After months of preparation and hard work it passes, just like that.
Innibos is hosted on H/S Bergvlam in Nelspruit and it’s so much more than just the music. There is art, a flea market known as the "bosmall", a fair ground with some crazy rides and 7 stages at different locations on the festival grounds. Around the town of Nelspruit other things are happening too, like stage productions, an art gallery especially for the festival, and so much more. I had to work until 5pm during the week, but come 6pm it was me and my festival shoes.
I had a week ticket and my time was mostly spent in front of the MK Stage, which was situated behind the main pavilion and what a good spot it was. The last few years the stage was set up at the bottom of the festival grounds and by Saturday night it would turn into a marsh land. The bar staff were friendly and you could get a drink quickly.
Wednesday evening started off at the KMIA stage where our very own mysterious Quintero, a Spanish style guitar player, was doing his rhythmic guitar tapping. But he wasn’t the only one I went to watch, his lovely wife Raquel (of In Unity We Drum), joined him on stage for a song with her djembe (that is a drum by the way).
At the MK Stage I got to see ekhouvanjou, okay! but I must say I'm not a fan. This was also their last performance together as a band and good luck to them for their future plans. Next up was Tailor, the performance as always, left me breathless and I still get goose bumps thinking about it. “Indian”, “Shape like a gun” and a few new songs left everyone in awe. After a double shot of tequila, Die Tuindwergies came on, and I was glad because I haven’t seen them since Avontoer. It was good to catch up with them in their musical and personal lives.
Thursday evening was spent between the Bosmall and the main stage area, but I was back at MK for The Centrefolds. What an interesting band. SAARKIE was next and the girls rocked the stage. Adele Fouche’s guitar solos made us scream for more. Then Jan Blohm came on and I was so glad to see his fans fill the front area of stage very quickly. His guitarist Jonathan Peyper is a local Nelspartan, and old student of Bergvlam. After Jan’s show I went to the main stage for Freshlyground and my, what a show! Zolani (highly pregnant at the time) was rocking it baby bump and all. Black, white, old, young, we all danced and sang together, despite a lot of people leaving before their show. They were my performance of the evening.
Friday came and finally I could stay up all night long (which did happen). I was looking forward to the Friday line up at MK since they announced it: ISO, The Black Cat Bones and aKING (just 3 of a fantastic line up). We haven't seen Laudo and the boys in Nelspruit since 2011. After a much needed drink at the MK bar I bumped into the Black Cat Bones. I've known them since 2003, and haven't seen them since STRAB. Chris van der Walt and I chatted about his recent trip to Europe and the funny fur hat he was wearing.
Eventually it was time for the ISO slot and oh my goodness! It seemed like everyone enjoyed it - confetti and all. ISO delivers a visual and musical performance, and they have come a long way. I hope that Nelspruit finally woke up to ISO’s vibe. The Black Cat Bones rocked every person in front of that stage. The boys never hold back on stage and it was Kobus’s signature high jumps, Chris’s hand stands and Andre’s heavy guitar performances. With Jason all you see is blonde hair going up and down behind the drum kit. After a BCB show you feel like you can go on for hours.
After them it was time for aKING, I love their music, especially Laudo’s voice. They had everyone singing along, had everyone hanging onto their lips and fingertips. It was fantastic to see them again and I really hope they come back soon.
I was off with my friends to one of the after parties at Stoep and the night was filled with laughter, shots with musicians, fantastic music and never ending memories.
Saturday came, the last day of the festival. It's always the biggest and the day with the most fun. I got to the grounds just after 2pm and went to watch Luna Paige at the KMIA stage. Also at Innibos were the people from Second Chance Wildlife Rehab Centre, whom are part of a fantastic tiger program. There were 3 little fur balls, which had people in awe and were just playing around in the special section set up for them. People were educated by the volunteers about the importance of keeping wild life safe, to support anti-poaching units and the significance of not keeping wild life as pets.
In between finding something to eat at the many festival stalls, my friends and I settled to wait at the MK stage. We watched One Crown and Jack Parow do their sound checks and also just enjoyed the company of other festival goers. By the time the sun set we were eager to watch some bands, but I missed a few because of the long ques at the stage bar. Then again what is a festival without its bar ques? My first show for the night was Van Coke Kartel (VCK), they were just in town in May, but everyone was packing in front to see them. As always it was typical Van Coke and it rocked, I always have a good time at their shows. After VCK, Die Heuwels Fantasties (DHF) performed, and I was sitting there with goose bumps again. I don’t think I can ever have enough Heuwels, and what a show it was – as always! "Pille vir Kersfees", "Leja", "Klein Tambotieboom", "Rofstoeigreep" and "Die Volkslied” was on their set list, the crowd screamed for an encore and they got it.
Jack Parow was next and Jack’s shows are truly his own. His full band was there with him and he had the crowd jumping up and down. Pierre Greeff of DHF joined him for "Tussen Stasies" and between the swearing and typical Parow talk he also had Francios van Coke on stage with him for the hits "Dans dans dans" and "Hard Partytjie Hou". I don't own a Jack Parow CD but I have seen him about 5 times live and I can say, not one show of his is the same. Jack connected with his fans just as much the previous acts did, and those who don't like his music, waited elsewhere till he finished. After an encore of "Hosh Toklosh" it was the end of the MK stage at this year Innibos.
But the party went on all over, on the main field, at the bars across the road from the school and in the VIP area too. I have to say I had a wonderful time this year at Innibos and well done to the organizers. The MK stage line up this year was a huge improvement against last years, even the location of the stage was an upgrade.
Thanks to all the friends who supported my judgement when told about musicians they had to watch. Also, to everyone who made the week possible.
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Vasti Loures - photographer/photo credit: Facebook
Photo of Laudo Liebenber photo credit: Marley van Wetten