Rocking The Daisies 2015: A Suspension Of Disbelief

The problem with being a music journalist is that once the dust of a festival has settled you’re often left with the tough job of cramming a multitude of experiences into a neat little article that doesn’t stray too far past the maximum word count. It becomes incredibly difficult because somehow you have to find a way to describe an incredibly personal experience in a fashion that is accessible to those that did not have the tremendous pleasure of attending Rocking the Daisies. It may seem like a simple task from the outside, but have you ever tried to explain to someone exactly how a concert or festival was without descending into deranged mumbles and hysterical laughter as you have flashbacks to memories that would be labelled as “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.

In a way, most South African festivals have become the South African equivalent of Las Vegas. They are all a means to escape from the harsh, relentless, and unforgiving nature of reality. They are also things that you would never visit on your own simply because you just know that there is going to have to be at least one person that is soberer than everyone else unless you’re really keen on recreating the events of The Hangover. It is this idea of escapism, and the requirement for suspension of disbelief that came with it, that fuelled the hearts of all those attending the tenth anniversary of Rocking The Daisies. It was a fantasy world where nothing seemed to matter short of having a good time and ensuring that your liver doesn’t decide to reject the quantity of alcohol consumed.

The irony is that one of the most difficult questions to answer is how was Rocking The Daisies? It is usually a question that is met with the bland answer of “It was pretty great” as you trail off into awkward silence unable to find the words to describe your experience. It is difficult because everyone operates under the assumption that it is just a music festival. It is an accurate assumption as from the outside – it does seem like just a lot of great music stretched out over a period of three days. However, as soon as you attend the festival you shall become aware of the fact that it is a lot more than just a festival. It is a melting pot of cultures as the festival draws in people from all walks of life from the stereotypical flower-crown donning white girl to brooding goths. It is a clash of nationalities as South Africans find themselves partying alongside people from multiple other countries such as Brazil, Holland, England and many more. It is the kind of festival where you can lose all your friends and then still manage to find a group of people with which to party – even if you’re not going to remember their names after the dust of the festival has settled.

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography - Jack Parow

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography – Jack Parow

However, at the heart of the festival is the fact that it is South Africa’s premiere destination for an eccentric range of artists. The line-up had something for everyone whether you wanted to get lost in the aggressive basslines of Haezer’s set at 1 am of Saturday morning or decided to wreck your body while dancing to the ska-fusion frenzy of Grassy Spark. There were other notable gems on this year’s line-up such as indie newcomers The Liminals delivering an absolutely crazy set which included a cover of “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”, Peter Bibby’s snarling one-man acoustic folk performance, John Wizards delivering a high-octane fusion of trip-hop and indie rock, Jack Parow’s explosive performance before The Kooks left us all with weary feet, the punk rock performances from Fokofpolisiekar and The Hog Hoggidy Hogs tribute, Al Bairre’s indie-pop daydream, and many other acts that completely blew the crowd away. Even the Sunday line-up managed to grab everyone’s attention with pulsating techno beats from the Beach Bar and the reggae-fueled stylings of the main-stage line-up. One of the most notable points of this year’s line-up is how it has become a symbiosis of a multitude of musical genres with five different stages catering to a variety of genres. There was one particular point along the main walkway where you could hear this symbiosis in all its glory. The rock ‘n roll frenzy of the Main Stage melted into the pulsating bass beats of the Beach Bar as the grimy electro synths injected a brooding sense of aggression into the multicultural world stylings of the Nu World Beat Club.

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography - Milky Chance

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography – Milky Chance

It is all great to praise all the acts that performed and made the festival a memorable one, but people often forget to praise Seed Experiences for ensuring that the logistics of the festival worked so incredibly smoothly. The accreditation pick-up process was quick and efficient. It took me under five minutes to collect my armband, and I have it under good authority that the collection of general access armbands was an absolute breeze. Furthermore, after last year’s heat wave and the subsequent water crisis – Seed Experiences ensured that there was constantly a supply of clean drinking water and there were never any complaints regarding dehydration despite the fact that the temperature decided to spike on Saturday with the sun beating down on the festival. Another point of praise must go out to Seed Experiences for ensuring that there was a heavy police presence at the festival with undercover officers to combat the drug problem that is frequently associated with festivals. The sheer fact that there was a massive drug bust on Friday shows that the festival, with the help of SAPS, were showing a no-tolerance attitude to drugs. Perhaps the only problem I encountered was when a fuse blew during The Cat Empire’s show and then again during Milky Chance, but these things even happen at major festivals like Reading and Leeds and the sound engineers recovered quite quickly and saved the day.

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography - The Cat Empire

Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design and Photography – The Cat Empire

At the end of the festival – there is really only one way to describe it. It was quite possibly one of the most amazing experiences of my short life and makes me hope that I can have many more Rocking the Daisies memories before I reach that age where my body does not agree with dancing for 12 hours straight. As I was leaving the festival, I was left with one more fleeting impression of the sheer brilliance of Rocking The Daisies as they implemented a pulse system for leaving the parking lots. It is globally renowned system that made leaving the festival very easy, and perhaps there were a few delays due to accidents but I just saw it as a moment to sit back and take in what I had just experienced. My final wish is that people could learn how to clean-up after themselves because the filth that was left behind was appalling.

More photos of Rocking The Daisies 2015 by Vetman Design & Photography

1 Comment

  1. Mieke

    October 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    !0/10, although you left out a word in the last par, and I’m pretty sure “soberer” isn’t a word

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