The build up to Rocking the Daisies this year began when, like the genie from Aladdin, the organisers behind Daisies, Steyn Entertainment, announced that, in answer to seemingly everyone’s prayers (as posted relentlessly on the Rocking the Daisies Facebook wall for the last few years);
Flume would be headlining the festival, along with Two Door (freaking) Cinema Club. This was definitely one of the most exciting international line-ups I’ve seen so far and had me wishing I had a Rocking the Daisies themed advent calendar which I could open every day to pass the time. That’s how excited I was.
Arriving on the Friday morning and sadly missing all of the awesome bands which Thursday had to offer, I once again joined the queue to get into the mythical land of Rocking the Daisies. A momentary escape from reality and a chance to indulge in some amazing music (both local and international).
Friday afternoon, after some serious baggage weightlifting, tent-related problem solving and over-enthusiastic sunblock application (I still got burnt); I wandered over to the Main Stage to enjoy some great music from Lucy Kruger and the Lost Boys, Jackal in the Wind, Shekinah and Beatenberg. Floors, a relatively new but definite must-see duo, opened the Red Bull Electronic Arena and set the tone for the great music that was to follow; including a super fun performance by the Kiffness and a wild set by Snakehips.
The highlight of my Friday has to have to the mind-blowingly amazing set from PHFAT. To say I had high expectations for this set would be an understatement and I was not disappointed. Bringing us an unbelievable audial experience filled with his best songs, both old and new, which had the whole crowd singing along; PHFAT provided not only a visually stunning spectacle, but also a layered and wholly entertaining performance which enthralled everyone in the crowd from start to finish.
After walking back to the Main Stage, I, along with quite a few other people in the crowd, experienced some confusion at the beginning of Joey Bada$$’s set, as I wondered if perhaps he was only a DJ, and that everything I thought I knew about him was wrong. This all changed when he took to the stage and showed us all flames.
In a great lapse of judgement, Rocking the Daisies decided to assign Haezer the same time slot as Flume, which resulted in me reluctantly leaving Haezer’s delishly basey set early, channelling my inner Usain Bolt (which probably exists solely for occasions like this) and running to catch the rest of Flume’s set. Flume exceeded all of my expectations with his set, as he flawlessly managed to combine his greatest hits in with some incredible beats, all whilst maintaining his unique sound which we all know and love. In short, he killed it.
The rest of the night’s entertainment was provided by the Red Bull Electronic Arena which saw incredible sets from the likes of Niskerone, Grimehouse and Lazersharkk (ft. the amazing Miki San Tzu) who all brought so much base, it was rivalled only by the amount of base worn by the somehow always supermodel-looking female attendees (how do you girls do it, HOW?).
Saturday dawned along with the sounds of my stomach answering the call of the food tent. Bearing in mind the first festival I went to had a great selection of food, be it boerewors rolls, or if you were feeling fancy, boerewors rolls with fried onions; Daisies this year went above and beyond in providing an outrageously diverse number of food stalls, catering to your every need. This meant that my inner argument was less about what I wanted to eat and more about whether or not I could justify eating a pizza, burrito and smoothie for breakfast.
Saturday afternoon was filled with (criminally short) sets from an incredible array of acts including Diamond Thug, the magical Alice Phoebe Lou and Bongeziwe Mabandla; as well as a Main Stage screening of the rugby, which felt a lot like the times when my dad selflessly takes on the role of behind-the screen-coach every time the BOKS play, but on a grander scale.
Winding up Saturday afternoon, an incredible set from Fokofpolisiekar brought back all the feels as they proved without a shadow of a doubt that they’ve still got it. Sunset heralded some of the coldest weather I have ever experienced and provided everyone at the festival with the excuse they needed to parade their colourful array of thrifted 80’s windbreakers and faux fur coats.
It soon became clear that the Trap House (the stage looked like a haunted house!!) was where the party was at, as we all braved the cold to listen to amazing sets from Glen Stylez, Patty Monroe and Gremlin to name but a few. There’s nothing like some good hip hop to warm the soul, although to be honest, I did start to get a slight feeling of déjà vu every time a Kendrick song was repeated or Bodak Yellow was played.
The Naked and Famous’s vibrant and energetic set managed to invoke memories of all my teenage angst while simultaneously setting the tone for the evening’s eagerly anticipated headliners: Two Door Cinema Club.
Two Door Cinema Club’s set honestly blew me away, and although I might be biased because they are one of my favourite bands, their live performance captivated me from start to finish, giving me no time to breathe as I, and everyone around me sang along to hit after hit. It truly was an absolute privilege to watch them perform live.
Red Bull Electronic Arena
The Red Bull Electronic Arena was the place to party what remained of the night away, to a variety of techno acts, although to be honest, I was surprised to discover that more than one song had been played the whole night, let alone more than one DJ.
If you suffered from FOMO but didn’t feel like braving the cold or the inevitable exhaustion that comes from being on your feet all day, and decided to go to sleep; you were in luck because the base from the Electronic Arena was so loud that you could enjoy the unique experience of feeling as though you were camping on top of one of the speakers.
Looking back on this past weekend it is clear that Rocking the Daisies 2017 was flawlessly run, spoiling us with regards to food choices, beautiful decorations and world class acts, sound and lighting. Even the dreaded porta-loos weren’t bad at all (and I don’t say that lightly because I have a fully-fledged porta-phobia). Their line-up was diverse in genre and attempted to cater to as many different tastes as possible, providing a haven for music lovers of all kinds.
That being said, this was the first time I’ve been to a South African festival where it felt less like a celebration of local and international talent (and just music in general) and more as though people cared only about what they were wearing and whether they had access to the VIP area. One of my favourite things about South African festivals is how friendly the people are and how easily you can make new friends, yet this was one aspect I felt that Daisies 2017 missed out on.
Until next year!
A massive thank you must go to everyone who worked tirelessly to make Daisies the success that it is, all the acts that played, the people who cooked our food and most importantly the people who cleaned up after everyone had left. You’re all the MVPs.