September 5th 2015, marked the second year of the now annual, #plushyfest, a charity event created by Hybrid Entertainment SA in 2014, in order to collect donations of toys and sundries for two children’s homes in Gauteng, namely Jacaranda Children’s Home in Pretoria, and Johannesburg Children’s Home in Johannesburg.
It’s no secret that charity events are on the rise, and rightly so, but there’s something special about local bands clubbing together to rock out for children in need. Particularly special in this case, as the cold front which broke on Thursday, brought in a series of rain showers leaving many events over the weekend, almost rained out. However, Plushyfest was the place to be in an icy Joburg, with Smugglers Pub providing a covered outdoor stage, warm fire, great food and open hearts in the spirit of charity.
The event was hosted by HIT Music this year, with Jack Rahme facilitating the logistics and final line-up. I must say, he did a stellar job. The line-up was nothing short of spectacular….and the crowd, loved every minute of it (this reporter included).
In my honest opinion, (and strictly in my own opinion), Plushyfest is one of the most down-to-the-nitty, raw, good-time, good-heart charity events of its kind, and I say so not to discourage the attendance of other charity events, but to honestly encourage the attendance of all. There’s no better feeling than giving back, and why not do just that in the company of great entertainment, where you’re quite honestly spoilt for choice. There’s a lot that can still be done to increase the scale of this event, and subsequent attendance, but there’s definitely not much lacking as far as entertainment value or crucial logistics. This event is maturing and, like a proud parent – Let’s say this kid is going to go far.
Cold beers, food stall samoosas and good laughs were the order of the day, amongst many other things, including a box of free t-shirts sponsored by Gee., which were given away to the crowd. The spirits were high, and the glasses raised.
Donations rolled in by the bag, and I’m proud to have seen a substantial collection of goods raised for the children in need this year. Well done to all, it’s very heart-warming to see so many dig deep and deliver for those less fortunate.
As far as the bands were concerned, I’m at a loss for words. It’s so hard to review an event when there was so much to enjoy, and when you basically enjoyed every hour of it.
I have opted therefore to give a brief summary, in the form of a highlights list, as I saw it.
Bands I had never seen, and would highly recommend (in no specific order):
- The Great Fernandos – Truly outstanding, must-see three piece funk rock band. I am officially a fan.
- Outside The New – Absolutely brilliant, high-energy rock band, with minor hints of Linkin Park - as we remember them.
- Match – Loop pedal toting acoustic duo that got the feet tapping. (And any unhappy couples to stop arguing)
- Gevoel van Veiligheid – Rock-punk-infused acoustic band that are almost too cool for 2015. Funny moments, great songs and a band I wish I had seen ages ago.
Most energetic (in no specific order):
- Made for Broadway – The energy exuded from this punk rock band was electric, right from sound check.
- Amber Light Choices – The most high energy performance of the night, in fact, lead vocalist Victor was mobbed by the ladies, almost literally.
- The Apollo – The band that got the most people dancing all night and made us party like no one was watching.
- State Society – There’s not much that you can’t love about this band. They’re talented, fun and so remarkable on stage, it’s hard to resist instant fan club recruitment. Plus, there’s Mike Pocock. If you’ve met Mike, or seen him perform, you’ll understand. If not, please do.
Best Acoustic Act:
- Stanley June – This talented muso is blessed with one of the most powerful voices I’ve heard in years. See him live, soon.
- Quietly Concerned – An artist to see. Gentle folk melodies and acoustic craftmanship.
Best Return Artists:
- Danielle Zinn Band – We saw her at the first Plushyfest last year, and were quite taken aback by her. This year she blew us away.
- Phoenix Turbine – This band surprises me every time I see them live, at this performance was no different. Supported later in their set by a rapper, these boys were one of the highlights of my evening.
- Roland Albertson – A new take on some big hits, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
- Pacawa – I’m still humming “Play that funky music white boy”.
- Mad Haddon – Best rendtition of Green Day’s “Time of your life”, ever.
- Kildare – Darren Kildare Horne is a natural entertainer, and albeit a little rough around the edges, his passion is evident. Catch him on a stage soon, he’ll give you the giggles.
- Acoustic Groove Machine – I have always loved this band, and will continue to for years. Their energy is amazing and they grab you right from “The Soundcheck Song”.
Guitar Heroes: (The catergory says it all).
- Andrew Proome
- Give Him Jesse
Loudest band of the night:
- Something October – A young and vibrant rock alternative outfit that were by far, the loudest of the night. Good one, boys.
All in all, the event was a blast and is definitely on the rise.
I was fortunate to get a glance at the collections, and I must say generosity was at a peak. The homes in need will certainly appreciate the aid.
In summary, it’s an event to attend, and it will more than likely continue to grow from strength to strength in the good spirit that it was created in.
See you next year Plushy, I’ll be there.