I braved my first Bastille Festival in Franschhoek this past Saturday. For the past decade or so I’ve been warned to stay well away, but, being my birthday weekend I thought falling over somewhere other than Lefty’s would be a little more exciting, and I suppose age appropriate.
So I found myself in Franschhoek on a chilly Saturday morning ready and excited for a day of excessive and somewhat irresponsible drinking, washing down a delicious tactical breakfast of bacon and eggs with a glass of Miss Molly MCC. It was a day for bubbles, and perhaps dance. I did feel a little fabulous.
With our stomachs lined we headed for the event, which, although the town is pretty alive with Bastille themed things and festivities, takes place under a closed tent in the middle of the towns biggest traffic circle. Bastille Festival itself, for all intents and purposes, could take place on an abandoned runway in the Karoo. Or in the CTICC, which lesbianhonest would cost us all way less in Uber Rands.
Anyway, don’t let this give you a bad impression of the festival. I’ve been to countless wine festivals, and Bastille is pretty much right up there in the exactly the same department as the rest. This is not to say it’s bad or good. I can’t say that I have an opinion on wine festivals. Or whiskey, or beer festivals for that matter.
Did I enjoy Bastille? I loved it. Do I enjoy beer festivals? Love them! Do I prefer to drink around a table at a venue where things get brought to me, where I don’t have to queue for 20 minutes to pee (look, I went around the corner but countless people queued for ages), or where I don’t feel like God hacked Pokemon Go and placed a lure for everyone I generally avoid right next to me? Sure.
Maybe the easiest way to sum up my feelings toward food and drink festivals is to use the 1st Thursday argument. I love drinking at Hanks. I enjoy a good meal at Clark’s. I take pleasure in walking past La Parada cursing profanities at the partially founded mostly unfair stereotypical assumptions of the kind of person I imagine still frequents the place. Basically, I dig Bree Street.
Which is why I avoid it on the one night thousands of extra people shove themselves directly in the way of the very things I’ve left the comfort of my own home in search of; drink, food, a space at the bar, and the facilities that go with a R50 beer.
Bastille was kind of like that for me. Except that you could actually get wine almost by willing it. Which brings me to my point really. We found a spot at the end of a table that just so happened to remain in the warm winter sun the longest, and with a never-ending supply of just about any varietal of wine we desired, we sat in t-shirts and drank and talked and laughed our Saturday away. Which is what I aspire to every weekend, and Bastille ticked it off rather nicely.
I can’t tell you what happened at the Elephant and Barrel, or the Station Pub, we couldn’t get in. Also, one of our members’ foreheads had a run in with a wine glass. Fortunately his white Bastille scarf doubled wonderfully as a bandage before the doc could close him up with a few stitches.