Music roars and rocks Omaheke bush alive

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WEST NEST LODGE – The Omaheke region came alive last weekend with the roaring sounds of 29 pure-bred local bands turning the ninth edition of the NamRock music festival at the West Nest Lodge between Witvlei and Gobabis into an unforgettable experience.

Hundreds of Namibians from far and near started pouring through the gates at Friday afternoon to be greeted by the appetite wetter from seven bands who entertained the crowds until past midnight. The opening acts paved the way for the big guns on Saturday whose sweet acoustic sounds echoed from ten O’clock (10H00) through the African bush. And after that, it was the hard rockers screeching away with their guitars, belting out the kind of stuff that had a responsive crowd dancing and head-banging into the wee hours of Sunday morning. By mid-day on Saturday, all available tickets were long gone with people from various destinations still arriving in droves eager to share in the tented camping experience, reminiscent of the famous Woodstock festival in the late sixties. Someone’s prediction of the festival bringing rain to the drought-stricken area came true when cumulus clouds filled the sky as the band Wait for Sundown ended their set list.

With a line-up consisting of Windpomp Boere Orkes, Can’t Fight Fate, John Rock Profit, Off-Shore, Savannah and Shishani, the stage was set for a night of hard rocking with acts like Tonetic, Small Town Tramp, Penilane, The Hunt For Higher Ground, Swollen Revolver and Within Madness still to come.

Chief-organiser and presenter of the ninth Tafel Lager NamRock festival, Mike Ott, started from humble beginnings in 1995 with six bands playing and some 400 people attending. Speaking to Artlife after the hugely popular show, Ott says NamRock has shown tremendous growth over nine years, and it is a given that next year’s tenth anniversary will be the biggest rock festival the country has ever witnessed. “I am very pleased with the way everything went last weekend. It was quite a big task moving the venue to West Nest Lodge, but thanks to my team, we pulled it off in a setting never seen before in the country. People enjoyed themselves thoroughly over two days while listening to the best talent in Namibia. NamRock is all about show-casing the huge musical talent of our small population. It never seizes to amaze me how much talent we have and therefore the sponsors and organisers will keep NamRock purely local. We owe it to the bands and the loyal Namibian following,” he says.

The event has come a long way since its inception at a lodge outside Windhoek. It was moved to the Zoo Park and later on to the Windhoek Show Grounds to co-inside with the annual Windhoek Show, and in 2012, the event was stretched over two days for the first time. It proved popular, but Ott says not everybody attended both days and that is where the idea was born to take the venue further outside Windhoek and have visitors staying over in a tented camp. “This was a bit of a gamble, but we now know we have the recipe because last weekend’s first NamRock at West Nest Lodge showed us that we are on the right track. We are going to fine-tune the recipe and make sure the tenth anniversary will be something to talk about for years to come,” he says.

Festival-goers  spoken to, all agree that the first effort of Ott and his team will be hard to beat as the organisation of NamRock 2013 was simply outstanding. “The accommodation was excellent, so were the food and drinks and the programme over the two days with not one boring moment. The bands really kept everybody entertained and on their toes,” they affirm, promising they will be back next year for another dose of rocking in the African bush under the free skies of Namibia.

  • Deon Schlechter of New Era attended the NamRock music festival last weekend at the West Nest Lodge and captured these images with his camera on and off the stage of the biggest festival of its kind in Namibia with 29 local acts entertaining the huge crowd over two days with non-stop music.

By Deon Schlechter

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