Me: This is the best Bushfire yet!

Andrew: Oh wow, really. Why?

Me: It’s the first one where I’m completely myself.

That exchange was the last day of Bushfire 2018. Sunday evening on the last weekend of May. Andrew and I were waiting in the crowd for the Africa Tribute from Salif Keita, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Yemi Alade with our friends Jackie and August. It just hit me what an amazing festival this particular one had been and how much better it was that I could be my authentic self the entire time. Wigs, printed palazzo pants, statement tees, silky kimonos, ripped pantyhose, the shortest of shorts and just living my best life!!

It’s no reason CNN named it one of the 7 best African Festivals and it continues to be recognised as the most responsible one of the bunch for it showcases themes of environmental sustainability, education, sexual health (seriously there were condoms on everything), human rights and from this years theme of “Rainbow Fire” focusing on the visibility of the LGBTQ community. Goodbye code-switching. Hello queer-festivity. It’s not all perfect but it’s one hell of a good start. For my sixth Bushfire, I’ve watched it grow and improve to make it more than just going to stand in front of a main stage.

Oh my… well now that I’ve started at the end, let me go back to the beginning. 🙂 Waking up at 5:30 am to beat the border rush is ESSENTIAL. We flew through the normally excruciating border experience. 25 minutes tops. Since Swaziland is full on bordered by South Africa, it has all the shops we know and love… and they take Randelas. Grocery shopping, booze top up and straight into Malkerns Valley to check-in. Wristbands on. Car offloading to our campsite. Real estate is everything at a sold out fest. Last thing you want is to be meandering through hundreds of tents that all look the same to find yours. A cute sweaty Swati man by the name of Chester in green overalls helped us get all the loose crap we managed to stack up in the boot and flattened back seat of Onika. Camp set up. Castle Lites. *clink* and Coals on the braai.

You never want to peak early but I only went to bed at 8am the next day. Mess. I wouldn’t change anything about that though. Highlights for Day 1 were silver draped Nakhane giving me all the life and queer pride performing tracks from my fave album of 2018 so far. Swazi native Velemseni giving us jazzy neo-soul and rock vibes – loved! A fresh electric surprise from accordionist Mario Batkovic and Reunion Island singer Nathalie Natiembe who seemed like she teleported herself somewhere else during her barefooted performance. Gorgeous. Ooooh! I need to do a Spotify playlist of all this goodness actually. Will share soon!

After barely sleeping, I managed to squeeze in 3 hours. Got up and got straight back into it. Sleep when you’re back in Jozi I’d say changing into my day lewk after just washing my face, brushing my teeth and reshuffling my nappy pillow hair. Saturday shower missions are not a real thing if you don’t wake up ridiculously early. I saw y’all queuing while I drank beer in front of the Campsite Cafe fire at sunrise. There’s nothing like that sense of being where you are and not thinking of anything or anywhere else.

Day 2 was good fun. For the main day it kind of failed in comparison to Friday and Sunday. I spent loads of time at the Firefly Stage which only had performances from Swati and South African DJs. Gqom, Kwaito, old school Hip-Hop, 90s R&B just a delicious pot of good music. You opt in and out as you wish, but it was always a guaranteed nice time on the sandy dancefloor. The main stage saw Samting Soweto doing his usual. He’s got a heck of a voice but there seems to be a trend of always using the same artists at these things. I guess it’s not their fault I go to basically every festival out there. Awks. Dear Ribane gave us all the robotic futuristic mastery they are known for. Manthe tears any stage up, I really admire her commitment of giving to get. I need those vizers they wear! By the time it got to Kwesta, Sho Madjozi and DJ Lag I was FINISHED. My body came to call collect. 3 hours of sleep could only get me to midnight. I was content. Most of Saturday night were SA acts I’ve seen a bunch of times. I slumped into bed and that was that.

Sunday was a nice and easy vibe. In the past you’d usually wake up around 10/11 to find that half the campsite had ghosted. The scramble to beat the border rush. Nope. Everyone was still there! It’s almost as if we all decided we were staying put. The rain came down. We stayed put. It stopped and we hit the main stage for the main event that was the Africa Tribute to Eswatini. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a national treasure y’all. Hearing and seeing them makes you think of home, wherever that may be. Obvs everyone went completely bonkers for Salif. He only did one or two songs but that did the trick. There was a feeling of a great sense of pride and unity at this point and in the distance behind me someone was waving a massive flag. The rainbow. It doesn’t really get better than that.

To my best Bushfire experience. Thank you. It was wild. It was even sweeter having the people I grew up with also there experiencing their first fire. This lot have been there through every nickname from uBoom-Boom to uChaklas. Mad love for you cuzzies. This year has re-energised my love for this festival. The organisers understand growth and improvement. I’m just really glad those damn paper coupons are not a thing anymore. Cashless baby! The bar has been raised and so will Bushfire’s global footprint as Africa’s best.

ALNgoes., ALNthrowbacks.

The Fire Was Brought

#ALNgoes. My snaps, selfies and summarised account of my sixth and best visit of MTN Bushfire 2018.

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Bushfire Style

The fire was brought and of course this was an opportunity for me to play dress up. Not that I need a whole music festival to do so, but it certainly amplifies everything because other people make an effort too. It’s no Afrika Burn, although some people did try take it there with their outfits.

Friday: I spent the 4 or so hour drive down to Swaziland in this (minus the kimono). I really should’ve worn something for the trip and then changed, because setting up the campsite was a sweaty exercise. I wore this vintage styled Levi’s cropped tee with red ankle length pants, holographic silver platform shoes and a custom crop robe from .ing. The kimono did all the work to be honest. When it gets sun it just shows off all sorts of detail on the colour morphing fabric.

bushfire-style-1

Saturday: This was a day of wigs and nip slips. Mama got a new wig and Monicah came out to play in military green realness. I was in an olive green short jumpsuit given to me by a friend who happens to have a man who makes amazing clothes – thanks Siphosihle Masongo! I’m so bummed I didn’t do a pic of the back because there was more detail and the word ‘Future’ in gold. Bad ass short brunette bob, brown boots and moon bag to finish off the lewk and hit the main day of the fest. Gag!

Bushfire Style 2018

Sunday: I was actually going to do this lewk on Saturday but really glad I didn’t. It just worked better as a “mellow” Sunday vibe – I mean those pants are totally church service worthy! I had them made by Fashimo Styles for an event last year and re-used them this time with a white Style Collusion tee, black wool beanie and tan Palladium boots. I had a few people ask me what “AF” meant… It happens. This day was the funnest one and I loved hiking up my pants to carry them up stairs like a ball gown. Small joys.

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All very different lewks to throw together, but the weather allowed me to do the most and I obliged. Saturday night was the only day I did a whole other outfit, but I didn’t take any pics. Would’ve been nice…

All the travelling, partying, camping, boozing and cruising left me spent so I’ll try have the pics and festival lowdown out this week. Until then, have a fab rest of the week. Hey June!

xo

ALN.

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Corona Sunsets Are The Bestest

With two stages, a ridiculously good line-up of local and international acts – Corona Sunsets Music Fest has definitely become a fave! I went to the first one last year and had THE best time. This year may have been even better. First of all the festival was moved from Muldersdrift to Val Bonne Country Estate in Modderfontein which honestly was a win for everyone. Who even knew this place existed, but it was an easy breezy Uber ride away from most places in Jozi. It also helped to have a special Uber drop off and pickup zone into the fest. Parking looked like a total mission. Second of all cashless bars rule, I’m so glad every festival is now adopting this and saving us from crazy queues, paper bills and card machines that are eternally “attempting to connect”.

Even with all this efficiency in place, there almost wasn’t a sunset to speak of thanks to the heavy afternoon rainfall. I spent a good 20+ minutes camped out at a food truck for shelter while stuffing my face with dim sum. Great trade off tbh. But true to Joburg rain, it moved away quickly and the sun came out in all it’s glory. DJ Maphorisa was doing his thing on the Griffin Stage welcoming the sun with his hits. Between him and Jullian Gomes on the Crown Stage, I naturally opted for him in particula. See what I did there. *wink* This man had us doing ALL the voshos! They are only enjoyable when you know you can spring back up. Somehow my knees are still intact right now.

There were plenty of food options that kept peeps going into the night. If you were into spirits there were bars just for that and a bar that just stocked coronas and corona cocktails. I don’t think I cared to find out what those were about, if you had some lemme know. At some point a friend mentioned that they actually liked corona now – mission accomplished for them I guess. I think they incepted me last year already. I’m very much into it.

Shekhinah got us swaying to all our favourites from her into the sunset. After her most people moved over to the other stage which was a fun dose of dance electro. During the sunset the main Griffin stage started spewing out fireworks from the stage with what was said to be a dance performances from the Corona goddesses. I don’t think I missed anything. The fireworks looks really cool though. The highlights of the night came through consecutively starting with Masters At Work who had everyone letting loose, DJ Fresh who played all the old and new house jams accompanied by a drummer who gave his set an exciting performative feel and Euphonik who mixed up electro with house perfectly.

Running up and down between the stages sounds like it would be a bit of a nightmare, but I really enjoyed it. It was even more fun in a skirt. Camelphat played out the last performance on the Crown Stage and whoever was around at that point ended off the night to an amazing and thumping set from French DJ/Producer Kungs. This certainly isn’t the music I listen to on a day to day basis, but it makes for a great party on an large estate.

There were thousands of people who came to enjoy themselves and did exactly that.  Corona outdid themselves with this one and the organisers planned everything to the t. Not even the rain could stop the music. You know what to do next year folks! Also I wonder how many times I used the word corona in this post?! Whew!

 

 

 

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