I think that Coachella is the world’s greatest music festival. I make that statement with extreme bias because I haven’t attended other festival greats; Firefly Music Festival, Free Press Summer Fest and Field Day London don’t really count. However, this is my article and I can write whatever I want. If Coachella is the best music festival in the world then all other music festivals must score on the Coachella-meter. The music festival that I have in the spotlight is South Africa’s Rocking the Daisies. This article has been in the making for 177 days. I started thinking about it the moment I left Coachella, it formed my decision not to go to my fifth Oppikoppi this year and it resulted in my first Rocking the Daisies attendance. I had an inkling that Rocking the Daisies was South Africa’s most Coachella-like music festival because of my experiences with its organising company, Seed Experiences. This article breaks down the similarities between the two festivals in serious and stupid ways. I’ll take a look at Rocking the Daisies’ fan experience, line-up quality, fashion and underbutt rating.
The whole festival experience is not only about the music. I really admire organisers that take time to think about the fan experience. Aspects of the fan experience include festival activities, food selection and art installation. Goldenvoice, the organisers of Coachella, have had many years to hone in on the fan experience. Obvious representations of this are things that you’ve seen like the giant Ferris Wheel and the art experience on the grounds. Things that you wouldn’t know about the festival include the gourmet food range at the festival, the small details of the festival and some of the fan activities. You could get everything from fresh fruit salads to Jamaican food at Coachella. They even had a thing called a Milky Bun, its a warm doughnut stuffed with ice-cream. Amazing, right? Rocking the Daisies had some incredible food options but they didn’t quite compare to Coachella’s.
I know that this food selection is vendor dependent but I really liked how Coachella organised all of the food providers to look cohesive in the food areas. That was one of the small details of the festival. Other small details included the setup of chandeliers in some of the indoor stages and grass. I got so excited about the grass because it’s such an effort to maintain as Coachella is in a desert.
Coachella’s fan activities are broad. The list includes fan competitions like relay races and pie-eating contests to a pool party, massages and a silent disco. There is a lot to do but I think that Rocking the Daisies is on to something great with their fan activities. Rocking the Daisies made an effort with festival features like the silent disco, Shnit International Shortfilmfestival, the Green Village and the Birthday Carnival Parade. Of course the scale is different but there was a lot of creative thinking that went into the construction of those activities and spaces. For that reason, Rocking the Daisies might be touching Coachella coattails on the Coachella-meter.
Rocking the Daisies looks great. It’s probably South Africa’s most well-designed music festival and there was major effort made on small details and the art structures on the grounds but there is a still a long way to go before it’s at the same eye-boggling level that Coachella sits at.
The line-ups for Coachella and Rocking the Daisies will never ever compare. Coachella is capable of pulling incredible acts because of its legacy and size. Another thing to note is that a lot of those acts are “local” acts for Coachella so it’s a lot easier to get them to the festival. Rocking the Daisies has consistently brought the most relevant line-up to South African audiences. The international headliners are festival headliners all over the world. Admittedly, I was completely heartbroken when I discovered that Porter Robinson was not coming to this year’s Rocking the Daisies. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it because he was one of my favourite performances at Coachella this year and you missed out because he gave South Africa a skip.
Coachella is famous for celebrity appearances and for setting festival style trends for the rest of the year. You must believe that I saw the most impeccably dressed individuals at Coachella. People spent a lot of money and effort on their looks and it paid off. Rocking the Daisies is quite Coachella-like in this regard.
Now for the underbutt rating. Coachella wins. I’m aware that many people work out for months in order to prepare for the festival so there is an expectation that all that hard work will be shown off. Sure, Rocking the Daisies has a large lake and a beach bar with many bikinis and jocks but Coachella has girls that wear swimsuits when there is no water at all. Rocking the Daisies cannot compete but it’s okay.
Rocking the Daisies is Coachella of South Africa and when you attend both of these festivals you’ll appreciate the similarities. However, I rate my experiences at both festivals at the same level. Firstly, I had a different shooting experience. I was out and about with my Canon 6D at Coachella and super-kitted with a Huawei P8 at Rocking the Daisies; you can see images from both devices in this article. The incredible thing is that you won’t be able to tell them apart. Gear carrying does change a festival experience so that was a win for Rocking the Daisies. Another thing was that although Coachella was mind-blowingly amazing I was by myself with the exception of knowing a few acquaintances. My Rocking the Daisies experience was with my best friends. In 2015, I have had the best times at Coachella and its South African version, Rocking the Daisies. I could never have asked for better experiences.