The new kids on the block behind SA’s biggest music festival

2017-06-26 13:30
George Avakian

Channel24’s Herman Eloff interviewed George Avakian earlier this year shortly after the announcement of the Rocking the Daisies 2017 line-up. This article was first published on 26 June 2017. 

Cape Town - On Monday morning Rocking the Daisies announced its line-up for this year’s festival taking place from 5 to 8 October at Cloof Wine Estate just outside Darling in the Western Cape.

250 acts will be entertaining the expected 25 000 festivalgoers – making it South Africa’s biggest outdoor gathering. 

Within minutes of the announcement Daisies was one of the top trending topics on Twitter – the social media site where word-of-mouth is everything. 

Although dripping with glossy international acts like Flume, Two Door Cinema Club and Joey Bada$$, it’s the big local names like Black Coffee and Cassper Nyovest that shows Steyn Entertainment, the company behind the festival, has its finger firmly on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not right now. 

Looking for a strategic entry into the music industry, Steyn Entertainment in 2016 purchased the SA music festival properties Rocking the Daisies and In The City.

Last year the company worked closely with the festival’s founding members Brian Little and Craig Bright to make sure both festivals retain their essence and unique offering whilst introducing a young, fresh vibe.


This year they plan to outdo themselves and will lay the foundation for the festival to become an international player. 

When I first met the managing director of Steyn Entertainment one thing surprised me most. He was young. Like 26 years young. I couldn’t put the two together. 

That was until George Avakian started talking and I completely understood why he sits so comfortably at the helm of this massive venture.

“I am basically the target market for the festival,” says George sitting in a Cape Town office surrounded by colourful balloons floating around him. The table behind him is decked out with cupcakes and biscuits. Just minutes ago the team announced, with great success, the incredible line-up for this year’s festival. 

In the corner of the office giant silver balloons in the letters R, T and D perfectly round off the festive mood hanging in the air. 

According to an on-air interview with Gareth Cliff on Cliffcentral in 2016 Steyn Entertainment came about after TJ Steyn, son of SA billionaire Douw Steyn, wanted to put together an epic birthday party a few years ago. The party was such a massive success that the guys decided to team up with Dale de Ruig, who TJ knew from working together as guides at a game reserve, to start the company. And as the saying goes – the rest is history.

Today the lads are focused on making Rocking the Daisies not only a massively successful event but also an unforgettable experience for each and every person who attends. Working with 4500 staff members they’re teaming up with the best of the best to create a festival packed with surprises.

George Avakian

(George Avakian. Photo: Channel24)


George himself is no stranger to the local entertainment industry. He’s a well-known beat-boxer, rapper, music producer and entrepreneur. From the age of 14, George has been mastering the beat-boxing element of hip-hop and has revolutionised this art. Some of his top performances include; the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, opening for the likes of Trevor Noah and international acts like Drake, The Game and Wyclef Jean.

But right now he’s got his eye on the target – making Daisies one of the best festivals in the world. 

“We are part of this industry. I’ve spent the last 10 years in the industry working alongside other artists. Our ears are on the ground and we know what’s happening. We are a young team but we all pay a lot of attention to the scene,” George explains why he thinks they’re able to tap into the pulse of what the South African music fans want to see at local festivals. 

“We’re definitely the new kids on the block,” he adds with a smile.

Together with Blaise Janichon, entertainment manager, George and his team are working with 250 acts to ensure there’s something for everyone once the gates to Daisies open later this year. It’s a feat that sounds nearly impossible, but one that the guys handle so professionally you can’t help but instantly respect them. 

“Whatever we do. We want to be the best in the world,” George adds. 

These guys are connected, they know what they are doing, they’re professional and work like a well-oiled machine – no wonder they’re looking into possibly expanding the festival over two weekends and getting the rest of the world interested in making the trek to Darling. 

For a moment I try to remember WTF I was doing with my life when I was 26-years-old. 

Tickets to Rocking the Daisies 2017 are selling fast! Get yours here now. (Click here to see the full line-up.)

Read more on:    rocking the daisies 2017  |  music

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