Walking into the Sahara Park stadium in my all-white attire, I was ready to be transformed into a magical rainbow. Beats echoed across the space as a few of South Africa’s most charismatic performers – the likes of LCNVL, Roger Goode and Jeremy Loops – hit the stage and got festival goers locked in a state of euphoria and dance. Unfortunately, the event and its promises were slightly exaggerated. Johannesburg-based house band, Micasa, was advertised as headlining the festival lineup, and although a gracious social media apology was made in advance, the group was unable to perform – an obvious disappointment for many fans.
Colour powders, face masks, and food and drinks were on sale at the venue. It was only after I ventured into the crowd at the foot of the stage that I realised I had underestimated the necessity of a face mask and regretted bringing my drink along with me. Throwing the colour powders around may have a visually fluorescent and kaleidoscopic effect, but inhaling it and having it settle into your last gulp of beer? Not so much. Future festival-goers, this is my most essential piece of advice to you.
There is one clear-cut common denominator throughout the day: love. The Hindu-inspired festival promotes all things beautiful, peaceful and united. Don’t be surprised to have complete strangers offering warm hugs – often times to smudge some colour if you’re perceived as “too clean” or just to spread the love in good and friendly spirits.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the energetic set of electro house DJ duo, Pascal and Pearce. The boys never fail to bring out their most driving and groove-inducing numbers and also dropped their new track featuring the twins from LCNVL – ‘Desperado’. The crowd reeled in their vigour and delighted in a count-down that marked a unified powder-throw: it was invigorating to see an explosion of dusty colours and screams just as the beat of a tune dropped.
Surprisingly, the numerous rainshowers on the day contributed to the fun of the event. Colour powder was blotched into paint stains, leaving most faces unrecognisable and gritty – I, for one, turned out to be more of a homeless rainbow than a magical one.
Not much is needed for the Holi Festival of Colours to be a success – only a large stage, open space, exciting line up, food and drinks, and of course some colour powder make the event what it is. Those in attendance however, truly add the touch of love, warmth and festivity. The people are the real reason I found myself wanting to go back for more – a sure sign that the true message and purpose of this event was sufficiently shared.
See our pictures of Holi Festival of Colours on Facebook.
The Holi Festival of Colours took place at Sahara Park on 12 October 2013.