Narciss is the local barber in Observatory Cape Town. There was no way that my brother, Erik, was going to take me to Rocking the Daisies 2014, without pushing me through his 08h00 to 19h00 doors for an undercut.
We still had to hit the road at 21h00 to get to Darling. This town is as good a reason to be gay as any, Pieter Dirk Uys would agree. Driving to Darling makes one feel like the cast of The Sound of Music is going to hop, skip and jump past your car. The hopping and skipping was soon replaced by starting and stopping for 5 hours at the entrance of the festival grounds.
Coming from behind the Boerie curtain and being used to having my own erf with my Staffie, the proximity of the tents was a bit of a concern for me. Surveying the camp site I started feeling like we were stuck in an Anglo Boer War concentration camp, complete with a double-barb-wire-fence. The third world conditions thankfully attracted a lot of foreigners, looking to save the world and try the African experience (#HookUpsWithoutBorders).
Our first rendition of Every-Eve-I’m-Shuffling, saw us trudging for a good hour to find the “spot that’s just 200 meters away from the entrance.” We planted our tent on top of our neighbours and met up with my brother’s digsmates who were all ready MC Hammered. Slicing through a cloud of sweet smelling smoke we entered the carnival of the festival grounds. Once in, you are greeted by the white behemoth of the Electronic Dome and the Nu World Beat Club by its side. We were intent (#lol) on seeing Francois van Coke singing along with Arno Carstens and made our way to the main stage.
The crowds looked less like a Koppi hunting trip and more like a local Coachella, but the screeching voice was known to me. The demographics were clear as Francois coaxed the crowd to sing along (badly) to the “goue treffers” of his current and former band. We stopped by the other music tents after the show and it was clear that Rocking the Daisies was not so much about the Rocking. Live shows played second Ukelele to just “having a lekke place to trip.”
I ventured off the Vellies track to see what lurked in dark alleys of Rocking the Kloof street. A random group of people dragged a passed out girl into a tent close by and suddenly I thought something was going down. To my voyeuristic dismay it was just the Red Frogs. This support group has become a mainstay, not like the drink, at festivals country wide. They dish out pancakes and back rubs to lost sons and daughters, no-preaching-attached. Speaking to Zac, a bullfrog, there seemed to be a lot to be done during these four-day fever dreams. Festival videos only show us attractive people making slow love salsa in the Nu World Beat Club. The reality as is apparent from the people who have breakdowns by the Red Frog tent that it is somewhat more horror movie than Disney.
I believe naughty substances are similar to piracy; sure it’s illegal, but who the hell is gonna stop everyone from doing it. I started my #FestLife 5 years ago and the rate of consumption has picked up quite a bit from my point of view and Zac confirms this. The bad trips just keep getting badder. The worst cases end up in the tent next to the Frogs, the emergency tent.
Sitting in the emergency tent for half an hour is like watching a live stream of 1st-world-problem memes. In between the people lying around who have vacant written over their pupils, you hear these girls who’s friend’s dad is a doctor and he told her that everything is fine, but they really need help. One of the medical staff mentioned that there was a girl who was “possessed” the previous night and that she was shouting profanities at everyone. They diffused the situation by phoning the little Exorcist cast member’s mother and letting the “tannie” drive the demons out of her child.
As the devil powers down with the Electronic Dome at the end of the evening, the boarding school bells prevent you from entering the festival site. Only after eleven in the morning can you go witness the girls removing their wedgy-jean-pants and diamond-zit-bindi’s for a splash in the farm firepool . This was a crowd favourite for reviving after the revelry and skipping the bathroom queues. My brother Erik noted, “I think the water temperature and level rose between 11h00 and 13h00.”
One more round of rinse repeating the party process then the deflation of the mattresses begins. On Sunday you start the journey back to the Mother City. The trip is short and luckily you only exchange one beautiful place with another. Just as you hit the N7 the first signs of post-festival blues set in. This reaches a peak on the Monday. Lloyd Parker mentioned that he reached a peak on his way to class, “Walking to campus was not quite the same as the walk up to the main stage.”
– Crystal Fighters, “The most tumblr friendly band ever,” according to Jethro Westraad
– Rudimental’s energy
– John Wizards
– Farm fire pools
– Toilet paper at all cubicles
– John Wizards getting unplugged (and it wasn’t an acoustic set)
– Tent linings that do little to soundproof a dude Rocking some girl’s Daisy
– “A lack of encores for the normal acts”, according to Raymond Hobson
– Crowd control treating us like teenagers on a school trip to Europe
– Having to find alternatives to get some rest outside the camping grounds, like Niel Claassens who went to sleep underneath his Land Rover Defender during the middle of the day
– MGMT, it was nice seeing them, but it feels like they got famous for being a band that they do not want to be. If only their performance was as infectious as their music
– Scheduling big acts during the Rugga on Saturday