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Rocking the Daisies: Round-up

2008-10-07 13:26


Not a good start to what is shaping up to be a new and improved RTD. Not that I would know (being the festival virgin) but some veterans have assured me – things were much better last year. And we hadn’t even entered the festival site yet.

So why were thousands of festival goers already cursing RTD before they even got there? Because, the 4km gravel road leading up to the Cloof Wine Estate was clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic, crawling along at a snail's pace with increasingly irate (sometimes violent) passengers. What was meant to be a leisurely hour's drive from Cape Town ended up being four hours of insane stress.

Watch the Dirty Skirts live at Rocking the Daisies:
"Is This It?" (broadband)
"Is This It?" (skinny broadband)

Everyone who had the misfortune of getting trapped in the Queue of Misery ended up missing some pretty great bands (or so we heard). So we missed the Speakerbox Radar Battle of the Bands competition (congrats to The Plastics!) and were in a panic that we were gonna miss aKING as well.

But thank heavens festivals aren’t renowned for their time-keeping because aKING were late too. Admittedly, I've been quite slow to warm up to the "Fokofpolisiekar factor", but aKING may be the avenue by which I come to truly appreciate the amazing musicianship of these guys. Awesome stuff. They may seem huge now, but this is just the beginning for them.

The Dirty Skirts, always entertaining and stylish (even though wellies are less practical when you're on stage, Jess) showed what festivals were really all about – getting a bunch of strangers together onto a muddy field, drunkenly singing along to your songs.

We were warned about the cold nights in Darling, but bloody hell, experiencing it for yourself is another story. A good night's sleep after hours of partying is a festival pipe dream. So you will look like shit the next morning – guaranteed. At least RTD had some handy shower facilities on site to get you refreshed enough for another day of grubbiness that lay ahead.


Wow, waking up to the sun-kissed atmosphere, surrounded by endless green valleys and warm, happy smiles all around you is a wonderful pay-off for the rough night before. I could absolutely get used to this. And I've already forgotten the three wasted hours spent waiting in the queue to get here.

What's for breakfast? Pizza? Curry? Chow mein? A gourmet burger? Bless the Daisies for having a culinary clue, because I don’t even eat this well at home. So breakfast is a decadent Vida latte or three, and lunch became two indulgent suppers, and what do you know? I've actually managed to gain weight in one day.

On stage, the Argentinean singer-guitarist of Son of a Thousand Blues is officially the most beautiful creature around, Fire Through the Window are as quaint and whimsical as they sound, 340ml are 10ml less than the MC thinks they are, and Plush play like the stadium rock band they are poised to become.

As the main stage area begins to fill up to capacity, it becomes clear who everyone is there to see. Eagle Eye Cherry puts on a polished show, full of emotional highs and even has a new song about Paris Hilton and "other motherf**kers like that".

Watch Eagle-Eye Cherry interview live at Rocking the Daisies:
Green Broadband)
Carbon Broadband)

Even before everyone's Cherry was popped, the discernible refrain of Goldfish's breakout hit "This Is How It Goes" can be heard being chanted by just about anyone you pass. You know the one – ooh-waah-whoo-whaa-whoo…

Watch Goldfish live at Rocking the Daisies:
"Cruising Through" (green broadband)
"Cruising Through" (carbonised broadband)

It’s tough being the only band to "bring the devil to Rocking The Daisies", in the words of George van der Spuy. His band Taxi Violence had some shockingly impressive new material to share with the world. Admittedly, the world is more into disco punk right now but they’re sure to come around sooner or later. Or will they?

Djembe-fabulous drumlines and the rhythmic chants made Napalma the late evening firestarter that many a shivering festival-goer needed. This Brazil/Mozambique/SA foursome made one thing very obvious: samba is a great antidote to crappy weather.

Goldfish are an international breakthrough act with none of the attitude. If anyone managed to distill the spirit of Rocking The Daisies into an hour of music, they did: smiling, jamming tirelessly and pretending not to notice the swirling tornado force winds.


The weather calmed down but only five acts would feel the benefit: AmaAmbush, Julia Jakobsen, Farryl Purkiss, The Spoonfeedas and The Tidal Waves.

While it can be hard to disassociate Farryl with the "about to make it big" banner constantly hanging above his head, at heart the guy is just a songwriter who believes in his music. Good tunes for good people, his vibe went, and in the much gentler wind, who could resent that?

But the pick of the bunch on Sunday was undoubtedly Tidal Waves – "the hardest working band in reggae". Really they should be called "the most understanding band in reggae", because with such a big following they deserved far better than the last set of the festival. A lot of people had put off their journey home to enjoy the sunshine, however, and Tidal Waves will have convinced them it was the right decision. What a rapport with their audience these guys have! It was a great set to end the festival.

And that was just about it. If you could stand the queues, the wind, and whichever drink was spilled onto you at 2 am, then Rocking The Daisies was a winner. We’ll be looking forward to next year, and maybe remember to check the weather report this time!

Celeb-spotting at RTD: WP lock Ross Skeate (is he injured or something?), wandering towards the bar at precisely the same time his team were being dumped out of the Currie Cup by the Lions.

Festival fashion missteps: Wayfarer sunglasses, trilby hats, barely-there denim miniskirts, tutus - all lovely in their own right, but less so when just about everyone is wearing them too.

Most pointless T-shirt slogan of the weekend: Life's Short. Party naked. (Er, not in this weather, bru)

- Shaheema Barodien and Niel Bekker
The bands, the queues, the views and the loos: all the action from SA’s freshest music fest.

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