THE SHOW chats to River Republic’s Caitlin Hanley about getting past the hump of establishing (hopefully) a new, permanent fixture on the local music festival calendar.
Round The Bend Lodge
THE SHOW attended the first ever River Republic. Even then, it was clear that it had the potential to become something quite special. Smaller than its peers, perhaps, but no less capable of delivering the time of your life, if you let it. Caitlin Hanley spoke to THE SHOW about its coming of age:
River Republic is in its third year – it has been very well-received by those who have been – are we seeing the birth of another long-running festival in the making?
We really hope so! We know from starting Up The Creek that birthing a festival is not easy. Up The Creek took many years to become what it is today. River Republic is slightly different in that we launched it when there were a lot of young festival start-ups entering the market and, although we all offer something different, we all play in the same field, so our audiences have huge variety to choose from.
What – if anything – has changed from the original concept the team might have had to now?
We ultimately love live instrumental music (bands) but we recognised the change in the local scene. Electronic-style music was becoming more and more popular and the smaller day festivals were appealing to that market. So we wanted to curate an event that could potentially play in both fields.
But since the first festival we have decided to stick to what we know and personally enjoy, and when booking the DJ acts we choose them based on the fact that you don’t have to love EDM to enjoy these acts… for example The Kiffness and Lt.Fizzer.
Many festivals battle with timing in terms of the year… What makes RR work so close to Up the Creek, in relative terms?
We’re not so sure yet if it ‘works’ so close in timing to Up The Creek, but our venue of choice (Round The Bend Lodge) is situated on the Breede River and you only have a small window of opportunity to take advantage of the warm summer weather and warm water that comes with it.
For example, in October it can be really cold, rainy and windy. And then in February it becomes far too hot. Then you’re playing into Easter and school holidays, and as a festival 2,5 hours drive from Cape Town we have to be considerate of the fact that we’re asking punters to really commit to coming out to enjoy the weekend.
We also don’t have a large cross-over between our audiences, River Republic is family-friendly so it can appeal to those who can’t attend Up The Creek (UTC has a no kids rule), and not many people can afford to attend a festival at the end of November, then make it through the Christmas holiday season and come out smiling the other side with enough funds for Up The Creek.
Of course there is some cross-over, but I would say it’s only about 30% of our River Republic attendees.
Fair enough – still… two major festivals in such a short time must be quite… interesting… for an organising team? Do you miss sleep?
We have such a great team who’ve been working together for quite a few years now so we’re pretty much glued together in all the right places. A lot of the work can be done ahead of time but then of course the three week run-up to each is busy but it’s a fun time and it’s really why we do it.
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