Review: Ramfest V Has it All


Mr-Cat-and-the-Jackal_Ramfest-V1-300x179I wish my wife was as dirty as this festival.

Well actually the graffiti written on the dust coated windshield read: “Wish this car was as dirty as my wife,” but you get my drift.  Ramfest was one dirry (sic) festival.

Ramfest had it all.  As well as the main rock stage there was an electro trance area, a beach party and a heavy metal stage.  But the real gem of the festival was the Mercury tent or, as I came to think of it, The Place where Inhibitions went to Die.  When I first walked passed it on the Friday I sniggered at the two people bouncing around.  Come Saturday night and I was in there, line dancing in a line for one, along with seven others in their own respective lines.  I left only reluctantly, partly because I ran out of moves and partly because I understood deep down that if I did not leave then I never would.  The tent that had been shunned at first was packed.  In the end no one is too cool for 80’s music and dancey rock pop tunes.

Some bands flourish in the festival environment.  A few weeks ago I was rather underwhelmed by Isochronous’ mechanical performance at a Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert.  I hardly recognised the Ramfest version of this band.  They were no longer the boys from Pretoria playing rock band in the garden: they were owning the place. And they did an excellent job at ushering in the evening programme of the two international acts, Alkaline Trio and Funeral for a Friend.

Francois van Coke was all over the show – collaborating on Die Antwoord’s Doos Dronk Friday evening and again on Saturday with Not My Dog.  Die Antwoord also got a little help from fellow “zef” artist Jack Parow.  Yolandi Vi$$er looked twelve and mooned the audience twice. So no surprises there.

In between organising a range of musicians to satisfy an eclectic mix of festival-goers the organisers found the time to plan the logistics of a few thousand people living in a relatively small area.  At first I thought there would be way too few toilets for the amount of people, especially in the campsite.  Yet I hardly ever saw queues, and these were definitely toilets to queue for – clean, well maintained and well-stocked.  The level of security was thorough to the point of annoyance: we were asked for our tickets four times when we returned to the festival area after a quick excursion.  But that’s a little unfair of me – given the potential for madness when combining a lot of people in a confined space with loud music, flowing booze and relentless heat, the sense that it was all controlled and secure was reassuring. The only thing that could be improved on next year would be to have more litter bins in the camping area.

There was a gypsy carnival atmosphere in the air, helped on by festival-goers dressed up in costumes, girls in body paint, fire dancers and stilt walkers. Amongst the crowds soaking it up I spotted a few members of bands which were not performing, including George from Taxi Violence and some of the guys from New Holland and Straatligkinders’ Bouwer Bosch.  Ramfest was one party that no one wanted to miss.

Then all of a sudden it was Sunday.  I beat the odds and found a spot on the Hunters deck overlooking the main stage with a cool mist spraying on me from the roof and a perfect view of mellow rockers Wrestlerish to end off my Ramfest V weekend.  I’ll be back… but next time with wet wipes.

By Jana van Heerden


Discussion8 Comments

  1. Great article!!
    Mercury tent was definitely rocking!!! wicked tunes kept all of us ass shaking till dawn!!

    Well done to BOB’s Beasties for working so hard to help add that extra “carni” edge to Ramfest. We hope to see more of that next year!!!

  2. I loved the fire dancing, POI outside the the metal / alternative stage and thought the alternative stage was fun, little will beat the awesome performance by Van Coke Cartel. Once again the International bands did little to excite me while I found the local bands to be awesome. Well at least most of them!

    Great review that captures the essence of the event and it certainly makes me want to go back again!

  3. Isochronus were great and so was Van Coke’s appearance with Die Antwoord (the ONLY good thing about their show).

    But wow, the electro pyramid was the ultimate amazingness of the weekend, aside from the river of course.

    nice review

  4. No mention of the alternative tent? For shame!
    According to a lot of people I spoke to, that’s where the real party was at. A lot of people felt the alt. stage blew the main stage out of the water!

    • The real party was in the Mercury Tent. Where even uncoordinated white people felt at home with silly line dance moves and good 80s music. I had some awesome fun there!

    • You got me there Rory. While I enjoyed the 10 minutes that I was in the Metal4Africa tent, it’s not really my field of expertise which it why I did not write about it.


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