SA Artists in London
IT'S LIVE GYM
The KWV Ukkasie Kunstefees/Arts Festival, Stevenage, 19 - 21 July 2002
The Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre was the venue for this year's KWV Ukkasie Kunstefees/Arts Festival. Aimed mostly at the Afrikaans ex-pat community, the festival boasted some top names in Afrikaans entertainment such as Laurika Rauch, Theuns Jordaan and Steve Hofmeyr. However, the main drawcard for this Rock Digest correspondant had to be the appearance of Die Mystic Boer, Valiant Swart.
Valiant was the star of Friday's opening Gala evening, which took place in a large Gym hall and featured speeches by the various sponsors and Mathews Phosa as well as some songs by Lucas Maree and London based Piet Planter. A lone figure on a rather large stage, one couldn't help feeling occasion demanded his band to give the show a solid blast, however, Valiant played a great set which was warmly received by the audience. He introduced us to his new guitar, an Afri-can guitar made from an old BP Oil can. It's quite amazing the sound that can be obtained from an old oil blik. Playing old favourites and material from his new album 'Maanhare', the Mystic one made numerous new fans, including one Mathews Phosa. After Valiant, most of the audience took their leave to indulge in a bit of sokkie with Ollie Viljoen en sy Boere Orkes, while a few die hards stayed to watch Dorp. Despite numerous technical hitches, the band performed professionally and gave their all.
Saturday saw the festival start in earnest. On offer from the various stalls was all those things that ex-pats miss, Ouma's Rusks, Mrs Balls Chutney, Boerewors Rolls, Sosaties, Bunny Chows, Castle Lager and Fanta Grape, to name a few. On the music front, I caught a bit of Steve Hofmeyr's show, and despite not being a fan of his music, I must confess I was impressed with his stage presence, showmanship and strong voice. He had the crowd eating out of his hands. The other show I saw some of was Laurika Rauch whose band included Wouter van de Venter whose album 'Donkerkant' was recently in the Rock Digest Album charts. Laurika also delivered a slick professional show and was much appreciated by the audience. Both these shows were in another large Gym hall.
Valiant Swart had another show in a smaller more intimate venue, and it was another quality show where he had the audience enraptured, especially for the final song 'Die Mystic Boer' a song which every time I've seen him play it live, has had a profound effect on the audience.
All in all, the festival seemed to have been a success and judging from the reaction of people on the train heading back to London was thoroughly enjoyed. My personal opinion was that, given the evergrowing pool of quality Afrikaans Rock artists, perhaps we could have seen more of these. However, this is only the second year of the festival and hopefully as it grows we will see more of these artists.
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