Review: Rocking the Daisies – Local Artists Heat Up the Stage

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Saturday morning I tripped over a gypsy. In my defence he was sleeping a metre away from the entrance to my tent. For the best part of the morning Mr Gypsy and I sat on the camping chairs and discussed the state of the world over a lukewarm sprite. And then, as quickly as he had passed out underneath my gazebo the previous night, he disappeared into the random mishmash of people making up Rocking The Daisies.

Billed as a green festival, Rocking The Daisies is one of those events that even the folks over at BP would want to attend. Green initiatives such as the groups who walk and cycle to the venue at Cloof wine estate outside Darling are part of what makes RTD stand out from other festivals. There are also bins spaced around the terrain for recycling purposes.

There were some grumblings about the line up but this promptly quietened down after Band Of Skulls from the UK was announced as the headliners. I felt almost sorry for them when I saw the scrawny trio walk into the press conference; they had high expectations to live up to. However it did not take them long to win over the room with their soft spoken British wit. And on stage…. they were rock stars who quickly had the crowd converted to their brand of alternative bluesy rock.

And the South Africans did not stand back for their international colleagues, marking their territory early on with impressive performances from the get go. RTD All Stars was a 15 piece band tribute to South African music, presented by the amazing Disco Dave with guest artists including Louise Carver, Cito from Wonderboom and JR. George from Taxi Violence’s rendition of Fokofpolisiekar’s self titled track, complete with a near plunge from a speaker, was the highlight of the set. Tasha Baxter was a close second but only because she perfectly imitated Amy Whinehouse’s antics to the music and cat eye makeup in her tribute to the troubled former star.

Red Bull Studio Live went for a sleeker approach this year with a white dome. In contradiction with its classy exterior, the DJs tore it up inside. P.H. Fat did his part for population control by first throwing out blown up characters, condoms, lube and flowers before launching into topics of dinosaur sex and getting down like animals.

Just Jinjer proved that they were above any lyric-forgetting scandals on Sunday morning when they played out the festival just before Graham Watkins Project. We listened to the last few riffs sitting on the banks of the dam playing one of my favourite RTD games: Is it a Girl? (A fun game for two or more players where the object of the game is to figure out the sex of the small-limbed creature with eyeliner and an Adam’s apple).

But this wouldn’t be an accurate review of Rocking The Daisies 2011 without mentioning the heat. It was a scorcher! Hipster men festival-wide were in raptures to have an excuse to go about bare chested in order to reveal their full back ironic tattoos. We kept cool with gin and apple juice in the Ray Ban tent, where I got my own ironic aviator (spray on) tattoo, followed by a cone from We Heart Ice-Cream.

This year I really wanted to spend some time in the Nu World Beat Ring and the vivid descriptions of the films from the neighbours did not make up for missing The International Short Film Festival (SHNIT). But the weekend was just too short. And in all honestly those daisies rocked me into the ground. So till next year, I’ll be camping on softer ground. Take note, Mr Gypsy.

The yay
-The durable material wristbands
-Hudsen’s Burgers
-The Daisy Den
-Iscreamstix
-Band Of Skulls
-PH Fat

The nay
-The Daisy Den’s toilets being unavailable during the “peak” hours in the morning.
-Security “visiting” empty tents at 3am
-The free water bottles that were not “accepted” at the Hydration Station
-Jack Parow
-The amount of litter blowing across the campsite after the great Sunday morning exodus

By Jana van Heerden
@janadidthis

Rocking the Daisies 2011 took place at Cloof wine estate just outside Darling on 7 – 9 October.
Don’t miss the RTD After Party at Assembly on 15 October with Ashtray Electric, New Holland, Peachy Keen and The Plastics. Free entrance for the first 700 with an RTD wristband and R 30 without a band.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. I was also appalled at all the litter people left behind, but you will be pleased to know that by the time I left on Monday morning it had all been collected into massive bags ready for sorting. Well done RTD!

  2. Awesome review! True story about the yay’s and nay’s – especially the dirty camp site on the last day! Otherwise as a first timer, it was possibly the best festival I have ever been too!

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