Review: Off the Grid Music Festival

Image by Morne Stevens

The Off The Grid Music Festival is not off the grid in the true sense of the term. For one there is an official green national board indicating its turn off from the West Coast road. Then there’s the signal, better than I get from my kitchen in Parow.

The festival is an annual fundraiser for  Camphill Village and was cleverly rebranded as Off The Grid Music Festival. Camphill Village is a “dynamic community working with mentally challenged adults.”

When one looks at the general set up it looks like any other Cape Town festival: hipster good stalls, a beer garden with Brutal Fruit slushies… and homemade sweet mustard.

The line-up is even more eclectic than the stalls. The festivities kicked off with my personal favourite of the day, the Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble followed by the bluesy Bootleggers with swingers like ‘Big Boned Woman’.

After an enthusiastic introduction by David, one of the Camphill residents, The Stone Jets became the clear crowd favourite. This is not one of those blasé Cape Town audiences that first needs to suss you out of a tree before they’d tap a foot. With cheerful demands for an encore lead singer Given Nkanyane kept it short and soulful with a tear-jerking a capella rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’. He could not have chosen a more respectful and appropriate song for this event.

Because it is a fundraiser for a very worthy cause I am not going to lie that there is a little pressure to give a glowing review. The nice thing is that I don’t have to lie to do that. The sound was excellent. There was a good variety of food (a special shout out to Salty Flames for their nachos). And except for the parking next to the sandy road, the space was well utilised. The Off The Grid Music Festival is a very good family day out. Less so if you’re not child (or parent) friendly.

It might not be very far of the physical grid, but Off The Grid Festival is a very welcome break from big city life.

Jana Stevens

Off The Grid Music Festival took place on 17 March 2018 at the Camphill Village West Coast.

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