Dawid Fourie, the man behind RAMfest!

Dawid Fourie

Interview by : Ezelle Louw (@lupaphotography)

Photographs supplied by Ramfest

The Real Alternative Music Festival is back, bigger and better this year. As the excitement is mounting with almost less than 3 weeks left until Ramfest 2013, each city is preparing for one of our biggest festivals to arrive. Whether you are in Cape Town, Joburg, Port Elizabeth or Durban, you’ll get your dose of Ramfest.  Armed with a killer line up, some new venues, Dawid Fourie, creator of Ramfest, feels this is a fresh start for the festival.

International acts Rise Against, Bring me the Horizon and Pendulum, will serve as main attractions complimented by a vast array of local acts, depending in which city you find yourself. I got a chance to quickly chat to the main man behind the scenes about Ramfest, the new venues and advice for anyone starting out in the music business.

Buy your tickets, dust off your tents, assemble your party group and get RAMready.

Dawid Fourie

RAMfest organizer: Dawid Fourie

When you hosted the first RAMfest, I think in 2007, did you imagine this is where you were going to stand today? 

Well, we always hoped it would. The idea is to take it further each year.


For the selected few that still doesn’t know what RAMfest stands for, please elaborate? 

It’s stands for Real Alternative Music.


The followers of Ramfest is quite passionate about the fest and  it’s become a tradition of some sorts, so when you changed the format last year, some fans was very disappointed. This year Ramfest is back to the old format, bigger and better. Do you feel fans only see the “bigger” picture now?

Look people won’t always understand why you do things a certain way. Last year we haven’t found a new home yet when dates were confirmed. Also In Flames could only be in South Africa for 3 days, so we had to make a decision to do it like that last year. Now though, we are back on track and we found a new home. We are very excited where the festival is heading now.


At RAMfest, do you even get a chance step back and actually enjoy the performances of the artist yourself? 

I do, I do! I have a big team that works with me, so we try and do as much as possible beforehand and at the event itself, I do like to take the time and see the artists as well.


Talking about your team, tell us abit about yours? 

We have a great team, which is very wide spread out. Some are in Jo’burg, some in Durban, others are based in Cape Town or Stellies. So yes, we have a fantastic team and I wouldn’t change them for anything.


If you are not busy organising RAMfest, what other projects are you currently working on? 

We just started a new company called RAMtouring. RAMtouring will bring out artists on a more regular basis to South Africa. Concert style of course, not festival style. That is where we are at now, that is the plan.


Tell me how has your life altered since you first organized Ramfest, must be quite a tremendous change? 

Every year is a life changing experience, we learn as we go on, so hopefully it just gets better from here on.


Could you name 2 or 3 bands you feel is underrated in SA at the moment? 

There’s a lot of underrated bands, I can’t really single anybody out. Also I thinkeveryone must try and support bands as much they as they can. They need the chance to play the big stages. If you look at our local line up this year, we gave a lot of youngsters the chance to play. We can’t keep regurgitating the same old line ups. It’s fundamentally needed that the young bands get on to the big stages and gain that experience.


There is a saying that goes, “It’s harder to remain number one , than reach it”, do you feel the pressure of “remaining number one” in the sense that  RAMfest is now considered in a very high league? 

Look I don’t think we are number one, like I said we learn every year and obviously we would like to be number one. Of course it’s a lot of pressure, but we can only do what we can you know. It’s very difficult to get the international artists here and to make the right choices, otherwise you do get a lot of flack for it.


RAMfest 2013 poster

What are your other passions except music? 

Family! Look music is my work ,so I don’t really have time for anything else.


If you could provide any piece of advice for anyone starting out in the music industry, what would it be? 

Big Iron Balls. You’re gonna need them. It’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is. A good friend of mine always says : “You need a big fortune to make a small fortune.”


It must be an amazing feeling to know you brought everyone here in the name of music?

Every year when you get there, it’s an incredible feeling to see what you’ve created. The whole years work comes together and pays off. It’s amazing.


Have you attended any overseas festivals? If you have did you learn anything from how they do things and brought those ideas home? 

I try to travel to other festivals as much as I can. We always learn. Always. The thing is though, in South Africa we don’t deal with the same capacity of people. What works for a crowd of 10 000, doesnot work for a crowd of 100 000 people. You gotta go see, take ideas and implement them according to your own situation.


During RAMfest’s reign, have you experienced any embarrasing moments on stage? 

No, not really. I try and stay away from the stage. I’ll leave that to the artists.


The venue selection for each city must be quite a daunting task, tell us a bit more? 

The venue we have in Cape Town is the best I’ve seen in my life. The guys in Cape Town are in for a real treat. Basically it took us 7 years to find the venue and we are very proud to call it the new home of Ramfest for the next couple of years. Durban’s venue is the only one we could find for its size and without camping. For JHB this will be the last year at Riversand farm, we are currently looking for a bigger venue, that can accommodate everyone for camping, similar to Cape Town. As for Port Elizabeth, first time bringing an international act there, we found this great venue called Old Grey for the one night event. Unfortunately Bloemfontein is no more.


Last question, is there anything we can expect from Ramfest 2013 that we haven’t seen previous years? 

We’re counting this as RAMfest number one, we’re starting out at a brand new venue. With all the energy and effort being put into this event, I’m sure everyone will have a fantastic time. This is a fresh start for RAMfest, we found our new home in Cape Town. We’re very excited about what’s happening. See you all there!


Social Media : 

Facebook : /ramfest

Twitter : @RAMfest

Website : www.ramfest.co.za


Dates : 

7 – 10 March : RAMfest Cape Town, Circle of Dreams, Riviersonderend (including all international acts)

8 March : RAMfest Durban, Origina Nightclub (Pendulum DJ set & Verse)

15 March : RAMfest Port Elizabeth, Old Grey – Pendulum DJ Set, Verse & Das Kapital

15 March : RAMfest Durban, Wavehouse – Rise Against & Bring me the Horizon

15 & 16 March : RAMfest JHB, Riversands Farm, Fourways – including all international acts

Ramfest cover page

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