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Huge anticipation surrounded the inaugural Large on the Lawn day festival that took place at the end of January 2017 at Golden Harvest Park in Johannesburg. For a very long time, the City of Gold didn’t have a set monthly music event to look forward to, but now all of this has changed, thanks to a joint venture from Parklife Festival and BreakOut. Starting this event series with a sold out show says a lot – pretty impressive to draw a crowd of 4 000 people to a first-ever festival!

Only announced as the official opening act one day before the festival, Yannick Meyer (who also fronts the Cape Town band, Native Young) was an interesting and daring choice from the festival organisers. Mainly unknown by the masses, Yannick and his band’s African-influenced music, was well received by the audience. It just comes to show that giving lesser-known acts a big platform is highly beneficial to help grow this industry and is a tactic that should be implemented by more festivals across the board.

Matthew Mole recently released his second studio album, Run, and graced the Large on the Lawn stage as one of the festival’s headliners. This guy’s public appeal simply seems to grow exponentially with every new release. Starting off with his two latest singles, “Run” and “Holding On”, the singer almost magnetically drew a massive crowd in front of the stage. Although his stage name should more aptly be Matthew Mole and The Laptop because of all the backtrack elements, the inclusion of Josh Klynsmith (of Gangs of Ballet) on drums is a pleasant addition to his overall performance. Mole also enthralled with his keyboard playing and his very impressive drum playing on top of the crowd – literally! It’s good to see that his stage presence has grown and that he looks much more at ease as when he just started out. The crowd could literally not get enough of him and his music. His selection of old and new songs was cleverly selected, apart from the inclusion of The Chainsmokers’s hit song, “Closer”. It appeared like Mole only decided to add the song to his set because of its popularity and he barely sang any of the lyrics, letting the crowd chant along to a backtrack identical to the original. With so many great original songs, this was a rather peculiar choice to make.

Jeremy Loops has succeeded to establish his authentic brand of music to a worldwide audience in the last couple of years. So much so, that he hasn’t performed in Johannesburg for almost a year! He decided to embark on a Home tour in SA while taking a break from recording and touring overseas. The Large on the Lawn crowd was therefore even more enthusiastic when Jeremy set foot on stage for what would become a definite highlight of the day. His extensive stage experience has made him super comfortable and every musical element in his live set, no matter how intricate, is handled with the utmost focus, yet coolness. With his surfer good looks and genius talent, Jeremy manages to draw the crowd into everything he does. Every song has a story to tell and a beat to jive to and the crowd was putty in his capable hands all the way through.

Organiser Damon Forbes has achieved a winning formula with Large on the Lawn: accessible, top quality musical entertainment in one of Jozi’s most beautiful nature spots. The event was brilliantly executed with security out in full force to make sure that all festival goers were having fun, but in a secure environment. The event generally ran smoothly and minor logistical hiccups are bound to be ironed out by the next event.

Be sure to catch Francois van Coke and Jack Parow at the February installment of Large on the Lawn! These two class Afrikaans acts are bound to ensure another pleasurable day out in Johannesburg.

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