Rocking the Daisies – 2008

Posted: January 26, 2009 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

©Astrid Stark

Published:  The Event: South Africa’s leading business tourism industry newspaper. 2008

Mud, sweat and beers.

Rocking the Daisies organisers Brian Little and Craig Bright of Complete Events suspected they were in for a challenging weekend when 4000 tickets were sold on the first day of the music festival. By midday on Saturday 12 000 tickets had been sold and ticketless revellers were turned away. 

We arrived at 12h30 and queued for two hours.  After walking the kilometre to the end of the line, we discovered a car blocking the parking entrance. We walked back to our car, turned up the music, cracked open a beer and made some new friends.  When we finally reached the parking area, which was about two kilometres from the main stage, we had to wait for a truck to drive us to the campsite. 

On the truck’s arrival, the irritated crowd started pushing. Babies, bags and umbrellas were swiftly lifted into the back.  We looked and felt like refugees as we walked the two kilometres back to our car to get the rest of our camping gear.   

By the time we zipped up the tents and queued for the loo it was 17h45.  We had missed a lot of bands including my favourite, JacSharp, who had just returned from a London gig as part of the Toast South Africa Festival. Tempers were flaring. 

However, things started to improve.  Boisterous reps from Brandhouse poured tequila for everybody and we disappeared into the main stage and started gyrating to Plush. People quickly recovered from their traumatic arrival and the atmosphere all over the large grounds

By the time Eagle Eye Cherry came on stage we were arm in arm with strangers.  Bed on Bricks and Taxi Violence followed and totally outperformed the international band. 

Goldfish’s set started at one am – an hour late. But by now our resolve had solidified to steel and we ignored the bitter winds sweeping in from snow-capped mountains and partied to the electro jazz beats.

On Sunday morning the pristine Cloof Wine Estate looked like a waste landfill site.   The bins meant to separate rubbish were overflowing and toppled over.  The toilets and showers were as bad as 2007.  Gangs of mud-covered bodies shuffled around the tents. Others played in the cool waters of the lake.     

Sunday’s line-up included the brilliance of Julia Jakobsen and Spoonfeedas.  The final performance by Tidal Waves stole the show with their pulsating reggae metal/ trance grooves.  Our exodus from the grounds was quick and painless.

Cloof Estate conservation manager, Johmandie Giliomee, explains that 32mm rain fell in September last year.  This year they had 210mm.   By Friday night the camping grounds had turned to slush and the organisers hired an additional piece of land, at a premium price, for parking only.  This is where chaos erupted on Saturday as a park-and-ride facility had to be organised.

Around 50 more toilets were brought in and Craig Bright explains that 4 toilets were allocated per janitor.   Still doesn’t seem enough.  Bright says that they were digging draining ditches and laying wood chips and hay bales to absorb the moisture from the heavy rainfalls. 

Tractors were removing cars that were stuck in the mud and cleaning trucks struggled to get in and of the grounds.

Rocking the Daisies started three years ago with 1300 people attending. This year the nearly 12 000 (TBC) party goers clearly took the organisers by surprise.  

However, it’s obvious that the organisers are committed to environmentally friendly events.  The food stalls not only offered excellent service and variety; the vegetable oil from the participating venues was used to produce bio-diesel, thereby reducing carbon emissions.A tented cinema, powered by using a combination of wind and solar power, screened films and documentaries on green issues.

Cyclists to the festival were given a discounted ticket and this could become the next big trend.  However promises of penalties to drivers not carpooling were left unfulfilled due to organisers dealing with bigger issues of crowd control and parking allocation.

Last year R15000 was used to plant trees around the Western Cape to offset its carbon-footprint. This year the tree-planting initiative will be repeated.  Once Food and Trees for Africa has completed their assessment of the festival’s footprint, the required number of trees will be planted at the new low cost housing developments around the West Coast.

All waste will again be recycled or composted by Interwaste, thereby reducing the mounting pressure on our landfills. 

We’ll definitely be back next year provided the organisers keep their promises of improved infrastructure and that our incredible South African bands keep it rocking.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s