Reminiscing Endless Daze 2017, the perfect festival in our hearts!

Festival Review by Francesca Varrie Michel

Nestled behind a dune, a few meters from the sea, Endless Daze is an intimate venue spoilt for choice, where I got to see the bloody OH SEES!

There is nothing better than a small festival done right. For a small stage, the quality of sound complimented every artist that performed. They had killer playlists for the change over’s between sets that featured artists such as Kurt Vile, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club to name a few, which kept the crowd happily waiting for the next set.

A quick tent set up in a small campsite, a stone throw away from the main area and stage, made for a weekend of utter convenience. You forgot your smokes, needed to quickly change into something warm, craving a quick jump in the salty ocean, or were struggling to walk straight, nothing was too far or difficult to find. It seemed to be a familiar crowd of old friends all coming together from different parts of Cape Town and even a few that left the coup to Gauteng to party and appreciate live music. I felt like I knew most of the people there, so if you lost one friend for a certain period of time you were probably with another friend that you haven’t seen in a couple of months or years.

The fact that the venue is not too far from Cape Town was a game changer, we left straight after work post the Friday traffic, knowing we would soon be enjoying sets of psychedelic rock with a cold beer in hand.

Having not seen most of these bands live, I was in my element, listening with live virgin ears. The fact that Retro Dizzy’s lead guitarist still managed to perfectly stay in sync with the band whilst performing acrobatic acts kaalgat, was commendable and a joyous spectacle. Fridays International act was Moon Duo. Embarrassingly so, I had not heard about them until the festival, but I felt like they were constantly transporting me through a psychedelic wormhole and I wasn’t complaining.

Cutting the music at 2 am on Friday didn’t phase many people, because it forced everyone to be fresh for the early Saturday line up. It was a festival where you could find a comfy spot or a nifty four post hammock and chat with your buddies whilst enjoying the live music. The weather was delightful and many people took to the beach for a salty swim or just a moment to relax in the sun on the Saturday.

Sunset is always a tricky timeslot to get right, but my god did Psych Night kill it with the powerful embrace of Amy Ayanda’s performance. I don’t know Amy Ayanda well, but that womxn held that crowd like no other local artist at this festival to a point that I felt like I did. I didn’t want her set to end. I am too excited to witness the continuous success of this wonderful performer. Amy was bloody mind blowing, possibly the best local performance of the festival if I had to single out one.

Endless Daze by @ashleybrownsa

This photograph encapsulates the culture of the weekend for me. It was a place to come and appreciate live music with your mates. The festival gave me a sense of it being run by a group of people who have a deep passion for live music who wanted to share and enjoy it with their friends. This photo is an overlap of two friends chatting at Endless Daze with an action shot of the Floors Live set at the electro dome at Daisies. Daisies keep up with the contemporary, but the personalized feel and the live rock culture that Endless Daze succeeded in creating is one of the many successes that Rocking the Daisies has lots over the past few years and is lacking so much.

The chilled listening culture of the weekend was definitely interrupted by certain artists, where one had to stand up in appreciation and rock with the music. One of those definitely being Amy Ayanda, but BLK JKS was a set for moving and grooving. I even had to abruptly end a conversation to go watch their electrifying charm.

The Saturday international act was the OH SEES. Never have I ever seen two drummers on a stage, perfectly in sync and on point. The small intricate melodies amongst the pleasant repetitiveness acted as a lure for my ears in between my constant headbanging. The complexity of their sound is pure genius and the fact that Audio Pimps were able to create a kick-ass sound rig to compliment their sound, a gnarly double thumbs up!

It was a lot of fun having the After Hours set at the end of the night, to wean the crowd off from the Saturday line up, but it would have been better if the Saturday night could have only closed around 4 am. The majority of the crowd were still pumped up from the great Saturday line up and still keen for more music, so we just hung around after the music cut off, talking crap until the tiredness kicked in… I wished that the Psych Night organizers gave us a little more time to wind down.

Endless Daze was a great success. I can only wish for another, hoping they keep it small and continue with the culture of live acts. Thank you Endless Daze, see you in 2018!

Endless Daze by @ashleybrownsa

Getting down to the nitty-gritty of Psych Night’s Endless Daze festival… There’s few question that one has to ask yourself regarding the current setup and the future of the festival by Ashley Brown.

How sustainable is the Endless Daze brand?

From watching their team shuffle some cooking oil, food coloring and water in-between some glass kitchenware for visuals and making use of a very small pool of artists in small local venues like Mercury Live & Aandklas Stellenbosch to being engulfed into South Africa’s most finely polished music festival.

Looking at the sustainability I always admired Psych Night for their efforts but I was skeptical about the success of the brand in a long-term, not because their hearts weren’t in the right place but mere the trendiness of the handful of attendees when they moved to bigger venues like Klein Libertas & The Assembly… I wondered if the brand wouldn’t become like many Bree Street restaurants – super successful till everyone has had their share on Instagram posts and the next trendy spot pops up.

Foundations, friendships, and the psychedelic cult.

Sitting at my tent this year, I hardly knew the exact timings of the performances except for a handful of acts like Retro Dizzy, Medicine Boy, Mr. Cat & The Jackal, Dangerfields, The Valley, The Tazers and After Hours a neighboring campsite came to introduce themselves and handed some Mary Jane to whoever wanted.

It’s at this time when I could draw a comparison between the organizers of the festival, their ways of life and the sponsors they’ve involved. Psych Night is a collective that host events celebrating psychedelic rock in South Africa and the inspiration thereof. The brand was conceived by a group of like-minded friends all involved in expanding this love to the South African music Scene. They haven’t only built a love for or discovered and taken the managerial ownership of a genre but they’ve built a culture around it.

Each member plays such a critical part of the Psych Night Mark the visual artist and one of the first to travel to Austin Psych Fest, Micah playing more of an admin role in the team, Andre mainly seen as the face of their brand within the festival organizing circuit due to his involvement in one of South Africa’s psych rock influenced bands before the days we could identify the genre The Pretty Blue Guns, Raoul the famous tattoo artist and another leader of psych rock & Simon the guy behind some of the most trendy not only South African illustrations and posters but international as well.

It took them four years to put together their first festival and five years to cement in their brand’s future.

Will Psych Night grow their festival to the size of an OppiKoppi, Rocking The Daisies, etc?

As a festival attendee, I seriously don’t hope so as a fan of the brand and hoping for some more elaborate bookings that must South African rockers could dream about like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Queens of The Stone Age – I hope so. The question is, will Endless Daze be able to maintain their authenticity and true love for music if they do grow their size to double or more the current size? I highly doubt Endless Daze is a product that was born to bring tons of money to the pocket of the owners and it can be seen and felt through the people they attract and the passion that is emitted in all aspects of the festival.

Endless Daze by @ashleybrownsa

Is the demand for psych rock in South Africa sustainable for years to come?

Undoubtedly, would the demand of the genre rapidly grow outside of the current borders of fans that haven’t been involved with Psych Night’s 5-year journey, most likely not, but they could attract the rockers out there looking to OppiKoppi and Rocking the Daisies for rock n roll acts and reminiscing RAMfest. Thee Oh Sees were the most bad ass rock n roll act I’ve seen in years better than Foo Fighters live and really challenging my personal favorite rock act Biffy Clyro. I really hope that Psych Night will try and open their borders a bit more by booking more rock acts without losing their soul.

Come to think of it, they’ve come to a point in their industry where I think they could book any international act they feel would represent them because we as music listeners have come to know them as some of the very best curators – Endless Daze 2017 was one of the most perfectly crafted line-ups from beginning to end.

How big of a role does the location of the festival play?

Due to the target market of the festival, I feel that the festival’s layout plays an absolutely crucial role, most festival attendees were young professionals who are financially stable yet haven’t started settling down yet and the mere fact that one could leave after your work on Friday and still enjoy the majority of the festival after setting up tent and then have a small trip back to Cape Town so that you’re freshened up for work the following Monday is a massive bonus.

Art and music and was Endless Daze able to let their finishing touches bring the festival experience together?

Mutualism the cornerstone of Endless Daze, from the layout, the size, the installations, the bar sizes, the ergonomics,

Have I as a rocker fallen involve with Psych Night to the point that I cannot see it’s minor flaws?

Undoubtedly, yes… Endless Daze is the best and true supporter of live music and possibly the only festival who passionately and spiritually support the live music industry and I believe that their attendees will not support them if they were too severe of course. Although it’s easy to overlook some of the minor critics I have there are a few elements that could be bettered: Firstly the entertainment duration, ending off a night at 2 am is just not enough although bars would probably be forced to close at 2 am I would love entertainment to carry on till 4am and second although I tasted some of the best festival food to date at Endless Daze 2017 it felt like the stalls weren’t able to supply the demand of a number of people – especially that amazing falafel wrap stall.

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