The Easter Weekend calls for a getaway to Clarens with the 3rd annual LUSH Festival, presented by OFM and KykNET, taking place from 29 March to 2 April 2018.

Life is all about experiences. Savouring beauty. Finding hidden treasures. Soaring to new heights. Doing something crazy that makes your heart pound with excitement. Creating memories with family and friends. This year’s Lush Festival showcases some of the most amazing experiences imaginable that will leave your soul spellbound.

Taking place from 29 March to 2 April on Linwood Farm in the town of Clarens (an easy three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Pretoria), Lush offers something for everyone.

If music ignites your senses, you’ll relish in Lush’s live music line-up including American rock band Bowling For Soup, Dave Depper (from Death Cab For Cutie), Kyp Malone (from TV on the Radio), Laura Burhenn (from The Mynabirds), Pierce Brothers (AUS), as well as a wealth of top South African talent including Anton Goosen, Fokofpolisiekar, TiMO ODV, Jack Parow, Goodluck, Dewald Wasserfall, Monark, Albert Frost, WONDERboom, and many more. There’s also delicious food on offer for those hungry to try something new and don’t worry about the trip back home every evening after your musical feast. An array of different accommodation in and around the Festival ensures you’ll settle comfortably for the night whether you’re an independent traveller who prefers camping or a glam packer who wants a boutique B&B to recharge in.

“The farm, after 3 years of grooming and infrastructural support, is becoming an incredibly beautiful gem and somewhere beautiful to just be with friends – next to the river, under all the willow trees or in the poplar forest. Festival attendees will be able to make use of Mountain Bike Trails in the area and there will be a 5km fun run with a fancy-dress element taking place on the Saturday, 31 March, with various prizes for the top three finishers and those best dressed,” says Damon Forbes, Festival organiser.

Now a 4-day festival, organisers have ensured there’s ample accommodation for guests, who can make use of the self-catering hotels, B&Bs, backpackers and lodges as well as guest houses, guest farms and country inns available in and around the town. There will also be a number of ‘tented hotels’, erected by Harambee, who are famous for their camps at festivals. Each tent will have beds, power points for charging phones and will also include creature comforts like private showers, a restaurant catering for breakfast (included) and its own bar. By having these different facilities, festival goers can choose where to stay depending on their specific needs.

While Lush itself will take place on Linwood Farm – a well-protected farm – there will also be a frenzy of activities in and around Clarens itself. A sight-seeing hub, many of the homes, restaurants and shops in this century-old town were crafted from sandstone, contributing to the town’s appeal. Art lovers will marvel at the number of galleries, design studios and art markets, while shoppers will delight with an endless assortment of crafts and curios.

Lush promises to be a world-class festival and a fun escape for locals and international visitors alike. After all, it’s about living for today and enjoying every moment.

With all of that said, I had a chat with Dave Depper ahead of Lush and Garden State.

Introducing Garden State – event details:

Date: 7 April 2018

Time: Doors Open at 4pm

Venue: Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town

Tickets: 

Phase 2 Early Bird tickets R420.00
On Sale from Friday 2 March / Ends Midnight Thu 15 March

Final Phase – General Access tickets to be announced
VIP Packages Are On Sale Now – Extremely Limited (for the Ultimate Fan): Includes a mystery meet & greet with international acts and access to our VIP area at the show with complimentary welcome drink & canapés.

Hey, thanks for having a quick chat before Lush Festival and the Garden State launch event.

My pleasure!

You’ve played with various artists and bands such as Laura Gibson, Fruit Bats and Death Cab For Cutie before going solo. Who did you enjoy collaborating with the most and why?

Oh, it would be absolutely impossible to pick a favorite. I love all of my collaborative efforts equally; there has been knowledge and experience and friendship and fun gained every single time. That said, as somebody who’s been a fan of Death Cab for many years, touring and recording music with them has been very gratifying indeed.

One of the many bands you collaborated with is Dear Reader, originally from South Africa, on their album ‘Idealistic Animals’. What do you think of South Africa’s music scene? Have you listened to some of the artists’ music that you’ll be sharing a stage with when you’re here?

I love Dear Reader and it was such a pleasure to work with Cherilyn! I must admit that I’m not as up on the S.A. scene as I should be. I have enough trouble keeping up with Portland’s music scene! I saw Spoek Mathambo live last time I was there and that was an incredible experience. I was hipped to Black Coffee a few months ago and have loved what I’ve heard. I’ve been incredibly busy for the past few months but I look forward to delving into the festival lineups and giving everybody a good listen.

As I understand, you’ve been in South Africa before. How does it feel to finally come back? Are there still some places that you want to see and things that you want to experience while you’re here?

I honestly never thought that South Africa would be on the list of places I’d be able to see in my lifetime. I really can’t believe I’m going to be there a second time! I’m really looking forward to seeing Clarens – it sounds amazing. I didn’t get much time in Cape Town last time I was there and I look forward to spending more time hanging around like a local. I’m also looking forward to exploring the Garden Route. It’s such a gorgeous country and I am deeply excited to spend more time there.

Seeing that it would be the first time for the majority of the crowd to see you do a solo show, what can the crowd expect from your performance? How would you describe your live sound?

We’re all going to find out together! Back home, my solo project has a live five-piece band. As budget wouldn’t allow bringing anybody else, my challenge has been to put together a compelling show that avoids the extremes of either being a solo guy with a guitar, or singing along to karaoke tracks! About half the set will be fairly faithful electropop versions of tracks from the Emotional Freedom Technique record. The other half will be more stripped-down arrangements of some of those songs, hopefully, a new song, and a cover or two. I’ve also recently become obsessed with a musical gadget called the VoiceLive, which is this incredible device that creates harmonies as you sing, and there are a million different ways to use it. That little guy will be a part of the set too.

I’d like some more insight on one of my favourite songs from you, ‘Never Worked So Hard’ from your solo album ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’. I know it came from the “20 song game” (where musicians challenge themselves to write and record 20 songs in 12 hours) but what inspired the song?

I’m flattered you’ve checked it out! That was the earliest song written for the album, and was, therefore, the closest to a fairly traumatic breakup that sort of spurred the songwriting process for the whole record, though this is the only song that ended up referencing that particular relationship. At the time, I felt that I’d poured everything into saving something that the other party simply didn’t put any effort into, and this was sort of my raw response to it. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize that I was an equal party to its demise, and so I feel slightly immature and disingenuous when I’m singing those lyrics – but that’s what growth and learning are all about, right? I still love the song.

You’re a multi-instrumentalist, who recorded and played all of the instruments on your album by yourself, with the help and vocals of Laura Gibson, Sarah Versprille and Heather Woods Broderick. What was your favourite part of recording ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’ in this way?

I am a recording geek, and obsessed with learning new skills, so I very much enjoyed the learning process that went along with making the record. There were so many things I discovered during the process of making this album (how to record drums/how to play drums/how to program a synthesizer/how to treat my recording room for vocals/etc/etc/etc) and I can listen back to it and hear all of that with great satisfaction. I literally had no idea how to make an album before making this one, had no idea if I was even capable of doing it – and hey, I did it! That’s pretty amazing!

‘Emotional Freedom Technique’ took several years to complete because you were touring a lot and the whole idea of the album is to portray someone who travels a lot but still feels alone. So finally, I have to ask (from cat person to cat person) – What happens to your cats while you’re away for so long?

Ha! This is an excellent question. My Rolodex is very long and full of quality house and cat sitters.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expect another solo album from you someday?

Death Cab-related activity will be dominating much of my life over the next year or two. I’ve collaborated on another stellar Laura Gibson record and am excited to see that come out soon. I’ve been recording lots with a bunch of my musical friends and peers on their various projects. And yes, I’ve definitely got lots of headway made toward a new solo record. It’s exciting to begin recording knowing more or less what I’m doing, rather than figuring it out as I go along. I’m really excited about what I’ve recorded so far and I’m looking forward to sharing it.

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