Anthony Bumstead and co. decided to throw a party down by the river in 1990. It was such a blast that with a small dash of commercialisation, it’s happened every year since, making Up The Creek one of the oldest music festivals in SA.


Driving from Cape Town, the anticipation becomes unbearable as the number of bird of prey sightings increases proportionately as the scenery melts from city to countryside and farmland. After an obligatory stop at the charming Dassiesfontein farm stall on the N2, you’re practically on the doorstep of the truly spectacular spot on the Breede River. Up The Creek 2016 kicked off on Thursday 28 January, but my friends and I only arrived on Friday afternoon. We set up camp in the grassy area and checked out the atmosphere and layout of the festival.


The bar reinforced the jovial atmosphere, with signature drinks like the ‘big blue’ Titanic, the Life Raft, and the new Rubber Duck; a mix of vodka, Sedgwick’s and orange juice. Plenty of awesome freebies from sponsors, Jagermeister and Sedgwick’s did the rounds.

December Streets’ Friday performance of Addy fortified everyone’s rationale for the weekend: ‘We’re never growing up.’ Shenanigans ensued and set the stage for the utter debauchery that was to follow on Saturday.

We fell asleep to the hum of bass and chirping crickets and woke up to the sound of a buzzing drone capturing the morning-after scene.


As campers awoke, the river invited a colourful menagerie of lilos, from a hot pink flamingo to an inflatable oasis. Everyone was making friends in the bumper to bumper lilo traffic as the River Stage resumed life on Saturday morning to bring some great tunes.

Water pistol fights were the name of the game and Creekers got creative for the Anything That Floats competition, where some fantastical contraptions drifted down the river in the name of good times and covetable prizes.


After a splashy day in the river, everyone was pumped for the night and some incredible music went down. New Cape Town act, Slow Jack put on their second performance ever, which confirmed that they are a force to be reckoned with. The talented band has an excellent presence and vocalist-violinist Jayme van Tonder is a real firecracker on stage. Their fresh blend of rock ‘n roll presents solid beats and groove-ability and their mission to get the crown bouncing was successful.

Saturday night was everything. Up The Creek’s choice to include late night electronic music was on point. After midnight, the vibe on the dance floor got downright tribal in the best way possible, and the DJs fed the high energy levels until late.


Dust encrusted revellers gave thanks for the superb weather, took one last dip in the Breede before the commencement of a mass exodus on Sunday morning. A compilation of sun-kissed, slightly broken, sleep deprived but fulfilled and beautiful happy people departed Never Never Land and travelled back to reality in dusty, obscenity-inscribed cars.

Everyone needs to go at least once, to experience the sweaty, shiny, wet and beautiful thing that Up The Creek 2016 was.

As we left, we received a flyer for their next party, River Republic. Read our blog post to find out what went down at the first edition last year.

When The end of January / beginning of February every year
Where Swellendam, Breede River Valley
Cost +-R900 full weekend pass

Photography courtesy

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