Splashy Fen, giving musicians their big breaks since 1990

Words: Leah Solomon
Images: Sourced


Splashy Fen Music Festival, will be celebrating its 26th birthday in just two weeks. This veteran music festival has had its fair share of publicity, whether it was about the mud fights during the particularly rainy 2008 Splashy, or the implementation and the removal of the Uber Cool Dance Valley. Needless to say, everyone knows about Splashy, whether you’ve been to it or not. One aspect of Splashy Fen that can’t be overlooked is the role it has played in the careers of so many musicians.

Due to Splashy being a relatively large music festival that chooses not to play into the need to host international artists, it allows for more local bands and musicians to have the chance to showcase their talents. These up and comers can do so without the worry of international competition or a festival with an elitist reputation.

Splashy Fen also makes a conceited effort every year to up-play the concept of family fun, explicitly stating their many facilities catered to children

One of South Africa’s most talented and renowned musicians was once unknown too – getting his first real break when he performed at Splashy in 2002. Dan Patlansky, blues extraordinaire and guitar god, played his first big gig at Splashy and said that it paved the path to more bookings, more exposure and more success. He always gives credit to the festival for giving him the opportunity, so much so that he has been back to perform year after year, this year being no different.

Every year Splashy hosts a battle of the bands competition, the winner being able to perform at the festival. Last year’s winner was Mickey Burns, a five piece band from Durban. The band opened for the festival, an impressive feat for such fresh meat. This exposure catapulted them into the South African music scene. They have radio chart-topping tracks off their album ‘Recovery’ and will be returning to the Splashy Fen stage this year.

Here are some artists you should definitely look out for while you’re in the beauty of Underberg:

Howie Combrink

This multi-talented individual will be making his debut at Splashy with his debut solo album, Eat It While Its Hot. This guy deserves all the attention because he made this album entirely – from playing all the instruments to producing it. He received two SAMA nominations for Best Newcomer and Best Adult Contemporary Album. This Joburger is one to watch.

Die Wolwedans

This four piece bands is just 6 months old but not foreign to the music scene. Previously The AK Massive, Die Wolwedans expect to be just as successful.

Moonchild Sanelly
This former Durbanite now Joburger will be sure to tantilise your auditory senses with her unique “fusion of jazz, R&B, pop, rock and poetry”. She performs with the support of a five piece band, making her sexy underground vibe that much more riveting and captivating.

Splashy Fen will be from 2 to 6 April at the Splashy Fen farm in Underberg, KwaZulu Natal, hosting more than 80 of SA’s best acts today. This festival has everything you could possibly need; food stalls and market, craft beer, drum village, bag jumping, dirt boarding, and of course, the beautiful river.

Tickets are available from Computicket.