Return To The Source: a boutique, desert, arts + music fest

Return To The SOURCE

Return To The Source: a boutique, desert, arts + music fest

A boutique, desert, music & arts fest
Tankwa Tented Camp, R355, Calvinia South Africa

Return To The SOURCE: a boutique, desert, arts + music fest

Video + mixes: 30+ DJ acts, pyrotechnics and 13 spirit animals to move with you in the desert

Last updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2022

DON'T MISS: The star-studded Timeless Festival, coming March 2023


A vast desert, you and 799 like-minded spirits.

Plus a world-class soundsystem, laser show, pyrotechnics, 13 mechanised spirit animals that dance to music ranging from dub and reggae to funk, downtempo, electronica, nu-disco, house, techno and various sub-genres.

You’ll be entertained for 3 days straight at this incredible dance experience in the desert. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography

And 30+ live acts and DJs, featuring The Kiffness, Felix Laband, day-time shows, all-night parties, playful installations and informative workshops.

In the words of the organisers, “Original content guaranteed.”

That’s just some of what you’ll experience at Return to The SOURCE boutique, desert, music and art experience in the Tankwa Karoo. The festival takes place from 20-23 May 2022.


Part of what makes it so unique is the production value. “We conceived and built this beast ourselves, and so we continue to strive for authentic, original upgrades to the community experience and theatre that resides within this train,” - founders Mike Kennedy and But Corpaci.

Look for your spirit animal at this boutique dance and art experience. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography

There are laser shows and 13 spirit animals (with Lobo, the mechanised wolf that leads the pack) – including monkeys, an owl, a rabbit and birds – that are independently manipulated to move in real time. There’s pyrotechnic displays and art everywhere. 

The founders are a creative visionary and an engineer, so for them only their imaginations set a limit to what they can create. Besides a collection of good-hearted souls, this festival is a feast for the senses.

One of the animatronic creatures created for the festival. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography


For May’s event there are 5 live acts, including The Kiffness and Felix Laband. They are just two of over 30 acts selected by the founders, who went through the choices with a fine-tooth comb.

Wide-angle theater and a monster, crystal-clear D&B sound-rig will guarantee sweat-soaked socks by the end of it! Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography

The sound curation is built to seduce the listener, covering multi-genres, all of it infinitely danceable. Mike describes how you’ll ease into the morning with some unplugged/acoustic sounds juxtaposed with creative workshops, morning dubbed-out reggae vibes, moving into midday downtempo and funk, afternoon/evening disco, house and techno (and their respective, various sub-genres).

There is something for everyone to enjoy at this dance and art experience. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography

There are 5 live electronic acts,15-20 local DJs, and 5 drawcard artists from Berlin, France, Belgium, the UK and Mexico. You will find the beats you like, for sure.


Here’s a trove of mixes from Oliver Koletzki, Vander, Dandara, Piccaya, Bellville, Seth Schwarz, Miyagi, David Mears and plenty South African talent:


The Wolf’s Lair is a welcoming morning space (thoughtfully nestled between the breakfast and coffee stand) where you might find yourself sipping on a cappuccino soothed to the sounds of a double-bass guitar and lyrics by Sarah Blake (and others) and engrossed in relevant, informative workshops covering audio, philosophy – and perhaps the combination of both.

There’s also a swimming reservoir adjacent to the daytime stage, so you can stay cool in between all the fun. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography


You may be yanked from your daily reality and spanked upon arrival in another dimension, and you might need time to readjust to normality. Watch out for the “ice-breaker'', the Tankwa Rise and Shine.

This boutique dance and art experience is the perfect place to connect with old friends and new friends alike. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography

The energy is palpable, as reported by many committed fans. The crowd is limited to 800 and the festival has garnered attendees from as far as Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, England, Kenya and beyond. Supporters range in age from 25 to 60. “It’s quite an eclectic, mature crowd and a  safe space. We encourage and curate a very safe space for adults to behave like kids.”

Who can say no to that? 

Meet kindred spirits and find your tribe and dance the nights away. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography


Want to vamp it up and glamp? Or are you the DIY type? Whichever it is, there are options to suit your style and pocket. There are permanent cabins and A-frame tents under shade. You can choose your accommodation type based on the earthly element symbols: earth, fire, water, air.

Opt for a Water ticket, one of the better, non-permanent glamping tents for two with sponge mattresses and linen, heaven after hours of dancing. Or the Double + Single Spirit tickets that cater for the BYO festival-goer. Find the options here and the travel advice here.

Whether you camp or glamp, you'll love the experience in nature. Image: Joffrey Hyman Photography


Mike Kennedy recommends 5 mixes to get a feel for the music across the festival:

  1. Here’s a fantastic way to start your day:

  2. Jump straight into some downtempo vibes:

  3. Eclectic, fresh flavours:

  4. Some easy listening and mid-tempo vibes: 

  5. A mix from a resident dj and all-round favorite:

  6. Time to lift the mood:



Return To The SOURCE is on: 20-23 May 2022
Find it: Tankwa Tented Camp, R355, Calvinia
Book: Note: tickets go live 12pm (midday) Tuesday.
Contact: or
Find them on social media: Facebook, Instagram
Cost: Tickets range from R1 600.00 (1 person) - R12 500 (4 people)



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