It was a true labour of love…. 9 months of 900 emails, several meetings, countless calls and WhatsApp’s between Matt Banner – The band’s Business manager and myself and the Marketing team of andBeyond, our PR, the lodge managers and staff and it came together. Thank you to all of you and most especially to Nicole Robinson for finding her way to our family farm, sharing a coffee and birthing this idea with me. I’m so happy it actually happened. Here is the magical letter we received after the event and a few pics to show you that Safari and world-class musicians definitely do go together.
Enjoy the read! Melu
To our incredible Phinda family in one of the most special parts of our country, Phinda Private Reserve, I am messaging you on behalf of the band to say a heartfelt thank you!!
Arriving at the lodge felt like a homecoming for all of us and we were truly taken aback by the breathtakingly beautiful space and the warmth of the hospitality that we were met with. After 18 months of not being able to perform or connect with our audience, we were looking forward to being able to create music in such a unique space and leave the guests with an experience that we hoped would lift their spirits and allow their minds to wander and dream. We hadn’t expected that it would, in fact, be our minds and hearts would be left in the bush and that so many of our own dreams would come to life through our time at Phinda.
We all felt as though we were given the royal treatment every minute of our stay and left feeling so bonded to each of you, as individuals, as well as to the work that you do, the projects that you have created and the team spirit that exists between you. We feel incredibly privileged to have been able to step into your world and create so many once-in-a-lifetime memories which we hope that we can build on in the future, with you.
We first need to say a massive thank you to Melu, for the months of hard work (and screaming at the mountain) that she put into making this dream transform so beautifully into reality. You created something truly exceptional, an event that was both precious and rare. Thank you for everything that you did to bring this into the world. We are forever thankful that we were part of those special few who got to experience it!
I have asked each of the band members to send a short message but firstly we would like to say a few words of thanks. To Clint and Del, thank you so much for opening your homes to us and helping us to create a little piece of magic in the heart of South Africa. You and the entire Forest Lodge Team were pivotal in the success of the event and left us wanting for nothing. Thank you for being such a dream team to work with and making nothing too big an ask, even in the middle of the bush.
To Thomas and your majestic snore, thank you for being such a champion host and for making sure that our every need was tended to with a smile on your dial. You felt so familiar to all of us from the word go and we really cherished our time and chats with you in front of the fire. We couldn’t have felt more at home.
To Jakes and Michael, thank you for your unparalleled service and monkey sling-shot skills. You left us feeling like kings and queens and we will never forget you.
To Kerryn and Jess, thank you for all of your knowledge and wisdom that you shared with us, for all of the early morning mocha-chocca-rulas and for making each of our trips out into the bush, one that will never be forgotten.
To Cebi and her wonderful kitchen team, my gosh. Eating will never be the same again, nor will our waistlines! You wowed us from the very first bite and your dishes and delightful meal introductions didn’t stop getting more delicious from there. Your culinary skills come straight from a fairytale wonderland.
Nicole, Sean, Brigitte, Valeri, Kasia, Tiffany, Andrew, Nikki, Kevin and everyone else, thank you for all of your hard work, calls over the phone and Zoom, ideation sessions and more. We were finally able to pull it off and what a great event it was.
Now that we have slowly reintroduced ourselves back into the world after a magic trip and I can say with certainty that there is one place that we all wish we were right now.