Rocking the Daisies. It was wondrous. Every single reveler seemed to be in the best mood of their lives – trekking, frolicking, grooving by moonlight, lolling on the grass, holding hands, queuing, laughing, and swimming. I feel that it will be hard to do the true epic-ness of the weekend justice, but I will do my best.
We got the party underway en route, with a Kasabian / Rolling Stones marathon and some heartfelt singalong. Concerns were raised that we would be parking with “the plebs”, after smses started pouring through from friends at the festival who were alarmed at the distance between their campsite and the bar. Luckily, my anarchist brother was with us, and upon arrival he wangled, or rather, bulldozed us into the crew campsite, which was suitably closer to the bar, main stage and food tent (this is key). We set up camp, donned our wellies and surrendered to the lovely madness that awaited. Having secured tickets through a very kind friend, we were due to work a few shifts in the media tent, which turned out to be an absolute pleasure, because we did absoluut fokol, and got backstage passes for our trouble (thanks Katie A!) Tyler got to escort New Young Pony Club from the main stage to the press conference and was later heard saying “I’m in love” (they really are gorgeous). We sat in on the press conference and I just loved their style, particularly that of the keyboardist and the drummer, who wore a beautiful white tailored shirt with an oversized collar and off-centre buttons with high-waited trousers and tousled hair. Pretty.
From there on out it was party time. We returned to our campsite for some vodka and promptly killed the car battery with our iTrip singalong, which resulted in Olivia and I pushing the car up and down a muddy field in the pitch black. Two kind Samaritans joined us at intervals, but we ultimately ended up pushing our little drunken hearts out up and down the field about seven times while Tyler issued orders from the cockpit. We also realised the following night that we had ridden over our cooler bag in the process, and subsequently CRUSHED our second, vital bottle of vodka. Cheers!
The rest of the night was spent getting our bearings and rockin out in the electro tent, with a brief sojourn in the Balkan beat barn. The stage was backlit by a full-size handmade gold cathedral-style organ which was played by a skull dangling from the ceiling and flanked by another giant, diamond-spangled skull. Yeah!
Saturday, the weather was truly perfect – bluest of blue skies against a backdrop of marbled mountains and buttery sunshine. The food tent yielded pizza to ease us into the day, which involved borrowed bikinis and dam-side lounging, as well as a long wait outside the Daisy Den, an ingenious Levi’s-sponsored girls-only haven featuring hot showers, hairdryers, straighteners and change rooms. And queue, we did. Two hours later, fresh-faced and clean, we were thankful that we waited.
Saturday provided the perfect opportunity for some people-watching, and sights we did see! Besides the usual fancy-free festival wear, I also spotted some great sandals and a few very stylish individuals, who travelled in high-waisted, stone-washed, top-knotted packs. I must say that I am getting over the brogue quite swiftly, but still am firmly fixed on the diversity and bondage-appeal that the gladiator offers. Girls still seem to be drawn to Uggs, and I can’t for the life of me figure it out, especially when they are being paired with mini skirts. Besides being Ugg-ly and shapeless, they are also not wildly practical for a muddy, dusty festival weekend. People also seem to have not gotten over the whole let’s-coordinate-outfits-idea, which is alarming, because they, too, travel in packs and this makes them look like a) a family band on the move, or b) a cult. On that note, I must add that neon is well and truly over, but some people also seem to have missed that memo. This includes neon nail polish and blinding neon vests.
If it glows in the dark, save it for Vortex.
There was a mini Wayfarer festival underway, which suited Ray Ban just fine, because they were also at RTD and did something cool where they replaced pairs of fakes with pairs of reals. They also hosted a Guitar Hero stage blasting cool classics and had a guy air brushing tattoos onto people’s bodies. He assured me that I was the only girl to get one sprayed to my ass cheek. Classy. Also spotted a man that refused to be parted from his blow up doll; a man changing light bulbs in the beat barn wearing a rainbow tie dyed kaftan (a regular Joseph and his ol’ technicolour), and a kissing couple that lay on top of one another in the hay for most of Sunday. Loved it!
Come evening, I grooved to HHP with the rest of the crowd, before firmly affixing myself to a post at the front of the stage for the Boo! set. Chris Chameleon and co were as psychedelic as usual, and I rocked out like the die-hard fan that I am. People in the crowd gave me a broad berth, and I was grateful, because I couldn’t control myself. I am always taken aback by Chris Chameleon’s bass skills. Somehow, while still being an outstanding front man with transcendent vocal skill, he lays down Boo’s bass-heavy sound with fleet-fingered ease. They were followed by the band that I wait to see for years at a time, the Springbok Nude Girls. Even when the shorties behind me told me that they were midgets I refused to move aside, which meant that I had the perfect vantage of Theo Crous’ epic head banging and Arno’s Viking-like handsomeness. Mini cameos by Ard Matthews of Just Jinjer, Taxi Violence frontman George van Der Spuy and Disco Dave from Cassette added to the atmosphere, but I was not overly impressed when Arno trotted Jeanie D of Top Billing fame on stage at the end of Genie. Nay.
Blue Eyes was the emotive crowd pleaser that it always proves to be, but it was Bubblegum on my Boots that got us jumping. These back-to-back sets were just my ultimate. Seeing songs like Blue Eyes performed live makes me feel embarrassingly patriotic, but I just love the unifying potential that they bring to a crowd, and the way South Africans roar along in impassioned unison. It makes me think of years of great South African music and the people it is important to; all the little bars and clubs that have played host to music legends; all the groupie girls and headbanging boys; all the grimy toilets, borrowed cigarettes and heads thrown back in absolute delight.
Sunday was spent packing up, hunting for keys (my fault) and bobbing to 7 FT Soundsystem in the Electro tent. People were still in high spirits, with a few real characters getting on down at the foot of the stage. With tender feet and a happy heart, I linked arms with Devin, who put it perfectly when he said that a nice cuddle, a roast chicken and an evening spent watching Derek Watts and co on Carte Blanche would be a great end to a great weekend.
And that’s exactly what I did. After processing the surprise factoid that we were locked out of the house upon getting back to the city, we did a brief but entertaining detour to Hudson’s in our wellies, before soaking up a full roast chicken dinner courtesy of my mom, and some mindless Sunday television.
Another day on, my body is aching and my head is sore, but the Ray Bans tattooed to my ass are fading, and I have the weekend safely nestled in my memory, a little foldout kaleidoscope of music, colour and people.
Please enjoy this video of my brother, Tyler, doing Party Boy at our campsite on Saturday evening. Halfway through I demonstrate a real Party Boy, and he continues in fine fashion.