Mieliepop is hosted in one of the most magical areas this country has to offer with festival grounds putting the shire almost to shame. With new management on board, the fest has grown in leaps and bounds in the last two years. They cater to an astonishingly wide demographic and continue to improve and expand the infrastructure to insure one of the best festival experiences in the country.
Even though the festival has not reached capacity yet, they came prepared. Overflow camping stood ready along clearly marked roads and spotless bathrooms. The biggest addition this year is the Cool in the Pool dancefloor deck. The name says it all. Chilling in the rocky pool or dancing on the deck halfway between paradise and heaven while DJs entertain you to your heart's content.
Mieliepop always strives to bring you the best possible line-up and this year was no exception, only bringing back about 15% of last year's acts. The festivities began on Friday night (17th) with only acts at the bar floor as the stages only opened on the Saturday. This line-up was so well planned that it was almost possible to go see every single act, time slots were created in such a way that nothing was overlapping or playing at a different stage at the exact time slot – this was pretty amazing planning.
There were two stages where the bands could play – Main stage and the Willow Tree stage. Both stages hosted some incredible acts but to me the Willow Tree stage took the show. Situated right next to the Maizey Stray camping and decorated with huge tree like daisies. This stage hosted some of my favorite acts such as Gerald Clark, Crimson House, Greg Geordiades & Ultra Natives, The Oh So Serious, Jonathan Peyper, Tidal Waves, Hello Beautiful and the incredible Medicine Boy. This was also the stage where the majority of bands played which I found odd as it is not the Main stage. I found that the main stage was not as popular this time round; could this maybe be due to a lack of big popular acts?
Mieliepop started off in their earlier years by hosting big acts (I mean have you heard of a little band called Uriah Heep?) and they seem to be down grading in this sense. They definitely did not make use of this stage’s full potential. There were a few popular acts that did play there – Hot Water Duo, Desmond and the Tutus, Naming James, Hellcats, Grassy Spark and off course Heazer who had to be stopped for almost breaking down the stage with its explosive sounds. Big ups to them for taking a chance on some more "alternative" acts though. #hailbacon. There are never enough chances to squeal along with Boargazm.
If you fancy watching a laptop there were always the rave cave which was hosted by Fiction Nights, Toy Toy and Science Frikshun or the Cool in the pool deck which was hosted by King of the Communes, Uber Cool events and Future Youth, both providing electronic goodness. One of the main attractions at the fest is the 30-45 minute ferry ride and this year it went together with a comedy act entertaining the crowd each time.
Be sure to pack your beanies and scarves next year as it was quite chilly (you are near Ermelo after all). But one thing is for sure, I am a Mieliepop convert and will be dancing my feet to the bone on those hallowed grounds for many years to come!