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When I saw the line-up for the Park Acoustics September 2018 edition, my heart skipped a beat. Such a top-class selection of acts - all on one stage! And the ticket sales did the talking - the event was completely sold out a few days beforehand. With spring officially in the air, Pretoria boasted with a glorious hot day, to complement the hot acts on stage.

Upon arrival a massive line of people greeted us at the foot of the hill, but this event’s sleek organisation had us in a bus and settled in on our picnic blankets within no time. Charlie Finch was up first and I managed to catch his last few songs. I was pleasantly surprised by his rock vibe, as I was expecting something a little more commercial. His voice is smooth and super easy-listening, but with a touch of rawness, to keep the surprise alive. It was his first time playing Park Acoustics and I’m hoping he’ll be back.

Photos by Stanley June

Bad Peter has truly proven their worth in the last year or so, with their popularity constantly on the rise. Usually everyone chills on their picnic blankets for the first few acts and things only become rowdy much later, but not this time. There was a massive crowd in front of the stage the moment Bad Peter set foot, with many screaming out every lyric. Alwyn and P.G. are a combo made in heaven - every melody and instrument are perfectly placed and they always look so happy to jam together.

Grassy Spark always bring the party and this time was no different. They aren’t new to this day fest, but always bring something fresh and exciting to the table. Playing songs from their highly acclaimed album, “Enter the Portal”, as well as spicing things up with brand-new songs, they gave the crowd a jol of a time. Simon Ackermann (keys and sax) even threw in some vocals, so fans are definitely in for a treat with the new material. Their new songs sound sizzling and I look forward to a new album/EP release from these lads soon.

AKING is always legendary and wowed with quite an old-school set of hits, including “Know Your Bones” and “The Runaround”. Laudo’s voice remains incomparable and the band is ever tight and powerful. I look forward to new releases, as I do feel their relevance in a fast-changing music industry is becoming a little doubtful. Hennie van Halen sounded a little pompous whilst asking if people were excited for Spoegwolf, seemingly questioning why AKING was opening for Spoegwolf and not the other way around. I hope Hennie watched Spoegwolf’s set, so that he could answer his own question.

To say that the crowd went ballistic for Spoegwolf would be an understatement. Amidst all the hype and ever-growing fame, they remain the humblest musicians ever with a true passion for what they do. They pulled out all the stops musically and frontman, Danie du Toit, is a showman of note, always finding new ways to engage with and entertain the crowd. They were the highlight of the day and rightful headliners of the event!

Ending off with DJ beats and comedians, Park Acoustics proved again why they are a monthly highlight for so many. One thing I noticed and also heard from quite a few people on and after the day, is the fact that random (usually very young) fans just sit on or even climb up the stage, with no security consequences. This became rather annoying, as people pay to see certain acts do their thing, not hear a screeching fan girl shout out the words next to the musician (even sharing the mic at times!). This happened quite a few times during the day and I hope this will be something the festival will look at going forward.

The next edition promises to be top-notch as per usual. Catch Boo!, The Narrow, Fuzigish, Hellcats and more on 7 October 2018!

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