Rocking in Darling
No one can disagree with me; Rocking the Daisies is a pretty festival. It's a gigantic fair of colourful stalls, bright lights, green fields and perfectly dressed girls and boys. Weeks before the actual festival I scan my feed on instagram and find photo after photo of "festival prep". This includes taking pictures of newly bought flower crowns, kimonos and aztec croptops as well as selfies in liquor stores with cases of beer, vodka and tequila. It's a festival of music, fashion, brands and beautiful people.
We arrived early the Friday afternoon excited to see some bands, but got greeted by a very tight ticketing system. A promising idea that screwed thousands of festival goers in the ass when they arrived at the gates of Daisies. My heart sank like a stone, bitter and cold, in my shoes when I saw the que at the entrance. WHAT ON EARTH!? They sold over 21000 tickets and literally had one tent at the entrance to stuff eyeryone through. We waited and waited and then waited some more for 3 and a half hours and eventually arrived on the inside of Cape Town's extra large music and lifestyle jamboree.
I was never in my life so confused at a festival when I entered the gates. It was utter chaos – Girls with broken flower crowns crying over their phones to boyfriends and friends still in the que, a guy struggling to carry what looked like his entire Camp's Bay mansion and people screaming to friends through the gates to “push to the front, every one is doing it”. It wasn't the perfect start to our festival, but at least we could set up camp and open a cold beer after all the ruckus and commotion.
We were some of the unfortunate campers to set up our tent in the middle of someone's “circle of trust”. Sorry, to everyone involved, but we literally had no idea that these two tents were camping buddies with those two tents 5 meters further? But like true happy campers we made a few fake friends and had them falsely swore that we could stay for the rest of the festival.
Once inside, you are guaranteed a fun time at Daisies no matter what, there is so much to do for everyone. If you're not a dam sitter (someone who sits at the dam), then you can go to the Main Stage for some rock. Or if you're not in the mood to be green, you can skip the Green Village and go get your dose of strobe lights and beats per minute at the Electro Dome. This year everything was bigger at Daisies; Just think of that Electro Dome. It was like a giant hippopotamus that swallowed you whole every time you stepped inside with the sound and lighting enveloping you feet first.
Francois van Coke, Arno Carstens and friends collaborated on Friday and it was the first act we watched on the Main Stage. It was a fun mix of their most popular songs. I was a little surprised at the large crowd the act pulled, but I felt content by the fact that rock was still very alive in Cape Town.
Shortly after, The Black Cat Bones were on the Main Stage, giving a fantastic show to a seemingly smaller crowd. These guys give local rock music a good name; they are loud and rock solid and from where we were watching them in the Peter Stuyvesant chill out lounge (I know not very rock n roll of us), they showed why they were one of SA's best live acts.
Later, we strolled off to the Electro Dome to catch Das Kapital. This guy has a huge following, so large that it filled the entire dome and spilled out onto the grass where everyone hopped around to the beats; high on life or something.
Saturday we woke up early not to find music or food, but much needed shade. Instead of waking up fresh as a daisy, we felt pretty much like most girls' morning-after squashed flower crowns. Saturday officially marked the beginning of my summer; it was almost unbearably hot. So, I don't blame the girls walking around in denim shorts looking more like belts than pants and tops that displayed more nipple than fabric - C'mon it was hot!
In the daylight I could figure out more what the organisers tried with the layout. I must admit, it was something to get used to. Numerous times I tried to go this way only to be told I had to go that way. The layout seemed a bit unnatural with the different stages a bit too close to each other and sound genres flooding into one another, though it didn't bother once in front of a specific stage.
The food court was festival heaven (even though we only bought calamari and chips at the one stall the entire weekend). Normally at a festival I don't bother with having hummus on the side of my vegan sandwich, but for those that do, it was reload paradise with pretty much the hippest of hipster stalls filling the court.
It was literally too hot to watch bands on Saturday, because there were no shade at the Main Stage! So, we were forced to skip some early afternoon acts and spend time at the crowded beach bar. This bar/stage was a haven for super troopers that just needed an aztec printed vest, a fake beach, beats that made them see stars and a toxic mix in a squeezy bottle. We tried hanging out for as long as we could, but after being offered a 'party in a pack' in a little bag, we escaped the banks of Daisy Shore.
We met some cool people at the Hemp Stage and decided to chill there for the rest of the afternoon with cool bands and good company. Wolftown was a personal favourite, but also the reason why I solidly crashed on some neon stalls' incredible beanbags shortly after their set (thanks guys!).
The rest of Saturday was a bit of a blur with getting a bit dagdronk while watching the rugby and missioning around in search of shade, but at last the night crept over us and brought excitement for the international headliners.
Like many others I most looked forward to MGMT's live performance, luckily I have been watching live shows of their Coachella and Glastonbury performances, so I had an idea of what was to come - A glorious show of sweet nothingness. Yes, they didn't even try to interact with the crowd a little bit and the thousands of hopefuls suddenly and rudely came off from whatever they were on. To me, on the other hand, it was brilliantly weird - This psychedelic pop-rock band that had the strangest visuals if nothing else. We stayed for the whole set as we laid on our backs wondering into the countryside stars.
Rudimentals graced the unamused crowd a while later and gave them what they wanted; a energetic, full performance that many regard as the best live act of the entire festival. I'm just glad I saw more international acts.
Daisies reached its peak on Sunday with thousands flocking to the dam to find beats, a tan and good times. I, on the other hand, found shade in the Savana Lemon Tree Theatre with some of SA's best comedians. A festival is not a festival without a session of good comedy (mostly about white privileged people hanging at Daisies).
The festival came to a not so beautiful stand still the second we wanted to leave; we sat in the que for 2 hours again trying to leave. Luckily the good times made up for the bad and with the memories of RTD2014 still fresh in our minds, we could bear it, so no hard feelings, Daisies!
This year Daisies brought out the big guns, in my opinion they were not quite ready for the thousands, but they gave it a good go anyway. There were clean portaloos (thank you, thank you to the cleaners that literally clean up behind us while we partied!), decent bars, friendly oraganisers and enough free stuff to fill your entire boot (thanks brands!).
Time and again people told me how I should write something about the water situation. Yes, it was a situation – a very dry one. I fully understand the organisers point in that they have never sold water at the festival and that they are trying to create awareness, but this green idea is a bit far fetched when temperatures go up to 35. This might work for a festival of 10000, but when you double in numbers, there must be a better way to deal with this. Can we swop old clothes for a 2l water, can we have more outside showers only to cool off under for a minute or two, ask festival goers to bring their own 5L waters or ice and can we please have shade at the Main Stage?
On the other hand there is absolutely no reason to complain about the way the festival looked on Saturday - There were more than enough bins and awareness created around this matter; I saw cleaners picking up trash just before 11 on Saturday night, for goodness sake! The litter you saw in the campsite and in the entertainment area, came out of your bag, that's your trash. Daisies is doing a good job in cleaning up, it's the festival goers that's making the job so difficult!
Daisies can proud themselves in the fact that they created a super fest with world class facilities. Off course it had hiccups, but in time it will sort itself out. The festival turns 10 next year and is fast becoming Oppikoppi's branded little sister.
I think RTD2015 is going to be an interesting one...
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