Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hip Hop is Backyard




From the bedroom to the backyard and beyond - Hip Hop eKhayalitsha

It’s not very often that a charismatic, socially conscious hip hop crew from Khayalitsha takes a bunch of city slickers to their bedroom for a freestyle. But then, it’s not very often that city slickers go looking for inspiration in the townships.

When it comes to the meeting points of music, graphical and cultural boundaries, there is loads of talent in our own backyard, and when it comes down to it, the gates are generally open. But it’s the backpaths that need more people if the music industry is to make inroads in infrastructure and integration.

In its capacity as connector and co-ordinator, the non-profit Cape Music Industty Commission (Cape MIC : http://www.capemic.co.za/projects.htm) is keen to blend borders and expose artists to each other to facilitate cultural and professional exchange.

Talking shop in the backyard

Almost a year ago, the proactive and progressive Backyard Records manager, Marley Planga, approached and invited Cape MIC to meet the crew in Khayatlitsha. We discussed their history, portfolio, intentions and aspirations in the bus on the way to their hood.






Then, in a typically impulsive display of authentic, original Hip Hop that is tasty enough to test international standards of the genre, the Backyards Record Crew treated us to our own show in their bedroom ‘studio’. Getting up close and personal with their charisma, rhythm and rhyme in the very setting it was created in gave the content a tangible authenticity that only context can.


With a performance history extending from Voice Of Ekasi gigs in malls around Khayalistha to Black Dillinger Tour (Feat. Black Dillinger, MXO, Bongo Riot of Gangs Of Instrumentals) in Gugulethu and Kaizer Chiefs versus Man United at Mzoli’s the boys have proven their commitment to the cause of quality music in the motherland.

And we mean quality. These young men are HOT, passionate, dedicated, brotherly, socially conscious, cheeky and alive. They co-write, self-produce their beats and samples, and spin witty, wise tales about growing up in Gugulethu and Khayalitsha. By investing in stronger relationships, they believe that talent can flourish financially in the Western Cape.


Cape MIC’s focus is on helping them and other musicians, bands, managers, producers etc to make smart business decisions and protect and profit from their talents. Its efforts include a Business Development Centre for artists, workshops on the business of music, Intellectual Property protection, a music industry trade fair, talent exchange and a scoping project to map out the Western Cape music industry.

Backyard Collaborations

In September 2006, Cape MIC hosted the province’s first trade fair/ideas exchange. Engaging a range of professionals that feed into the marketing, promotions and communication strategy of local music, the expo put on a performance for the people who usually do the entertaining. Dressed in tables, chairs, flat screens and couches, the Assembly got up early to spend the morning as a lecture space, a meeting space, a showcase of the local design talent involved in branding and marketing music. Cape MIC facilitated a brand exchange between The Backyard Crew and VICE magazine, which meant the Crew came away with a professional photo shoot and VICE came away with cultural kudos that boosts their CSI.


The top note from our experience with the Crew is that our own backyard is teeming with fresh talent. The bottom line is that we want to hear and see more of Kideo's clever Xhosa wordplay, Phoenix's sharp street sense, Point2's provocative philosophies, Vannemerwe's twist and flow, Mashonisa's thick, tight wordplay.

Listen at http://www.backyardrecords.co.za/
learn at http://www.capemic.co.za/
face them on backbook






Monday, December 7, 2009

grace

a little more grace, please, or we're going to stop smiling ironically when we call you a rock star.

"And I feel them drown my name
So easy to know and forget with this kiss"


Grace. It's the title of Jeff Buckley's seminal album. It's the title of this post. It's an issue, everywhere, but specifically, it was an issue in some dim, smelly bars the last few nights. ok. They weren't smelly.

Picture this. Band plays. Bleeding fingertips, bleeding hearts; the usual. Band finishes. Gushing guy or gal goes up to bassist/drummer/guitarist/vocalist (usually the drummer. something about a mute sexiness?). What is s/he doing? Gushing. Obviously. ohmygodyou'reSOamazing and iwanttointroduceyoutomywife/husband/mother/dog and howdoyouDOthatmanit'samazing etc. Poor sweaty muso is a bit bewildered, wants a towel. Wants a drink. Especially if? it was a bad set.

What happened in my live summer soundtrack over the last few days was that two incredibly talented bands played my nights back to back under the gaze of a gushing full moon. For them, it was partly pain, with all sorts of technicalities and technical difficulties that come with being
a) in a band and
b) human.
Granted they were bummed. But imagine how much MORE bummed I was to have my honest and (obviously not so) humble mumbles given right back to me with the kind of swiftness that makes a car crash look tame.

Here's the thing. Music moves us. Sometimes to tears, and perhaps, at times, if we're making it or playing it, to within an inch of our own sanity. Music connects us, saints and sinners. Regardless of your understanding of your own talent and offerings or of others', if someone walks up to you and says something, they may actually mean it, and it might even mean something to you if you put it in your pocket and look at it a little later when your head/heart/ego clears. Positive input counts. Even IF we're so dim and ill educated that we don't know you fucked up verse three of the second song and the monitors weren't loud enough and we can't really do any better than adore you for helping us feel ourselves.

or would you rather we didn't?


are you serious? just for the experience?



Two bands, one song. It’s edgy, if you’re smooth. It’s hard, if you’re soft. It’s rock, if you’re pop.

Foto Na Dans has been silent for ages. They do that a lot, have you noticed? In between explosions of incredibly ornaMental magic (and my kittens fart a lot. Because they're Mental)

But now it’s summer, and we're smiling, even if we can’t afford it, and Foto have a new song. Well. half of a new song. Well, no, half of a chorus. And some riffs between beats.

It’s a collaboration which is aiming itself straight at the dans floor, and might well floor detractors of attractive commercial compositions. They'll frown, they'll tap their feet and nod their heads, bemused, because this is the beauty of music - it makes its own rules, and breaks them just as easily.

Here we were thinking Foto were the last of the puritans. Maybe they're the first of the finest to go, 'fuck it, we're going to make this work (financially)'. This collabotrack is, ipso facto, a fascinating contrast to their erstwhile EP, Pantomime Op Herwinbare Klanke, whose evolving narrative placed the band in the league of gentle men who make music for art cinema and theatre. Being a veteran Foto fan, a puritan; i'm bemused, my feet are tapping, my head is nodding and i guess i'm grateful for new track because it's a chance for me to practise a bit of diplomacy. In contrast to the earlier EP, the single Dans Republic is a pointed reminder of Foto's flexibility. in comparison to Foto's other compositions it also highlights the fact that dance music is really rather taut, where classical prog rock is perhaps taught. or untied....

why>? well, check the choon.
verse/chorus/verse/chorus it goes. obvious, you say, that's most music. but it's also much the same on a micro level, and that's its defining (in)difference. Op af op af. High five for a clever chorus - old school and heady and easy, but splicey, too. You’ll spend some time finding just where it moves from on glaise to dee taal. Don't think too hard, just
dans - it’s all in the details. Not that I can quite trace Le Roi in those details, and is it really Foto if all you've got is the biting grind of that guitar? Also, can't say I think much of the derivative melodies. There are moments where it feels like a pastiche of recycled classic pop refrains and moments where that doesn't matter because it's a banging ballad. If they are subconscious cut & pastes, they blend well, and that's where the foot tapping head nodding comes in. But maybe I'm wrong, maybe the formula of easy sound is simply used so universally that after a while all dance songs sounds the same. Still, there are definite references to top forty hits from our t(w)eens...and

it’s edgy, if you’re smooth. It’s hard, if you’re soft. It’s rock, if you’re pop. But the bottom line is that it is a fine, bilingual, cross-genre fusion, and there aren’t many musicians who can mix the delightful simplicity of dance music with the darkness of cathedral rock without also making a mess. Instead, Flash Republic and Foto have made a summer club and compilation hit, and I’m sure TeeJay is taking notes. I'm proud of both bands for standing up and facing the music in a gutsy display of commercially viable sonic diversity. Have both parties put their best foot forward or have they put their foot in it? I'll love dancing to it because it has a history and a future, because it's catchy and I can. But I'm not necessarily going to buy it. Oh wait! they anticipated that. It's available free for download.

http://www.dansrepublic.co.za/page2.html

Boof boof boof boof.

Take the chance.

AfriDans.


p.s. there is a huge irony in the line 'ek wil sing in Afrikaans'. But i guess only Anglo-Saxon fan/atics of an Afrikaans language band will smile along with me on that one.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hinds Bros



prettier and finer than any jonas jock

In life, sometimes, you have to learn to listen to your gut.

I don't know these boys, but something's telling me I will. Very soon. Allow me to introduce you to the Hind's Brothers. Before I've met them myself.

They sound something like Kings of Leon getting stoned with Bon Iver on a lilo in a lake in summer... (slower Leon, chirpier Iver). They're the blood brothers of Watershed's Craig. They're from KZN, and they'll be in the Cape in the first fortnight of twenty ten.

Theyv'e got 2 tracks on myspace (heard of that?), and a Facebook fan page with... four fans. I'm one.

Be the next one.




Gigs / Jan 2010
SAT 2ND KNYSNA SWING CAFE, MAIN STREET 083 673 0909
SUN 3RD WILDERNESS ASANTE 084 588 1949
WED 6TH PLETTENBERG BAY SURF CAFE 072 355 8387
SUN 10TH MUIZEMBERG, ORGANIX ALIVE 021 788 6012
TUES 12TH KALK BAY, BRASS BELL 021 788 5455
WED 13TH NOORDHOEK, MONKEY VALLEY 021 789 1391
FRI 15TH DURBANVILLE, VILLA PASCAL 082 569 4149
SAT 16TH 18A TORQUAY AVE, CLAREMONT 082 4100 372
WED 20TH JEFFREY'S BAY , POTTERS PLACE 042 293 2500
THURS 21ST PORT ALFRED, THE SQUARE LOUNGE 072 704 1171
FRI 22ND EAST LONDON, THE ARTS THEATRE 082 968 7081
SAT 23RD MORGAN'S BAY, IAN CORR 043 8411066

indieground



tmi?

arb guy : blah blah blah, but it was, like, VERY underground, hey.

me : there aren't levels of underground, are there?

other : ask david bowie

arb guy : who?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rise (again), Ramfest. Boo! is back.






photos : jezebel

A good festival brings out the animal in everyone. A great festival makes you feel like a god. A dirty, drunken, delirious god. But a brilliant festival brings sexy back. Even if it doesn’t wear the pants. By which I mean. Ramfest. February 2010. Boo!

Noja. Boo! is back. Or, at least, two thirds of it- awesome Ampi Omo and Chris Chameleon plus new drummer Riaan van Rensburg. The original monki-punk outfit with Leon Retief rocked the SA independent music scene and rolled the European and American independent music scenes until a sudden cessation in late 2004. How we howled at the last CT gig. How we screamed and boo!ed and danced as one and broke our feet while they broke our hearts. It was no use. Boo! tucked its tongue away. But not its spirit.

I’m often accused (quite rightly) of speaking in tongues, so allow me to spell something out a second. If a torrid past and a florid present have taught us anything, we’ve learnt well from our mother of a fatherland. Spirit is stronger than silence, (and from the holy streets of Hollywood and the narrow streets of Broadway we learnt that “the show must go on”. and from a Queen of sorts. Who then pegged.) Did we really think that was it when Chris went crooning off to capture new audiences? Perhaps we did. God knows we have issues with faith in this place. Suitably admonished and astonished, we’ve had no time to hang our heads in shame since the good news came, but we’re still scratching them. Who would’ve predicted Ramfest to herald the return of dandy-trashing, cross-dressing and wickedly wondrous popmosh melodies that made Boo! a subcult classic act? It’s obvious, considering Boo! and Ramfest share a penchant for passion, vision, insistence on quality and creativity. But difficult to imagine in what is perhaps a bit of a beleaguered 2009. It’s almost over, kitlings. And Summer has started…

We would have matched the two, of course, if we’d invested as much imagination in possibility as Ramfest has on manifesting your dream through blood, sweat, tequila and tears and the execution of resurrections.

The festival (the phenomenon) is raring with a daring that sets it apart on the circuit – it’s entirely independent, insists on quality line-ups, is responsive to the whims and wishes and wants of a consistently growing annual attendance. All told, Ramfest is the most fun you can have in the summer sun by a river with a tent. I promise you’ll be drowned in good sound. And there are no sharks. In the water. (negotiate the weed rate). The simple reason for this is that the Fourie Bros are hellbent on bringing you a festival that they’d want to go to. That’s their beginning, their brilliance and their bottom line.

But back to the future. One of their wily ways of ensuring this is to stir the soup of silence, and gooi mos a few choons we haven’t heard in a while. They understand recycling. They understand nostalgia and originality. They understand that there’s place for the past in a party – lots of it – and that music is timeless, too. Ironically, timing and pop culture have conspired to be on the side of the alternative festival of late. The current flux of all things bloody and vampish on big screen and flat screen makes the living dead a hot topic. Think True Blood (and watch it!), Twilight (and don’t watch it!), Let The Right One In (and let it in!12 dec. Labia on Orange). This synchronous timing is helping them make a name for themselves by raising the dead. As it were.

They’ve done it before. Of course, glytchy, tetchy cult heroes Lark hardly had a chance to bury themselves as a decomposing lullaby before they were brought back by the Ram. The result of this resurrection is that they have something to believe in and prefer to play Ramfest exclusively once a year (with a nationwide tour attached; lucky you).

And even if you’re not into timelines, actually, especially if you’re not, festivals are an amazing place to meet the music. Everyone is safe, happy and contained enough to go crazy in a neutral, shared space. Same goes for resurrections of disbanded/long-silent bands - they work wonderfully as a once-off and the exclusivity of authentic, original (in both senses) music has incredible appeal, but such treats rarely seem to signify any real return to the scene or gratify the frenzied fan. Though not everyone is a fan at a festival. In fact, we’re quite used to putting up with acts we don’t like - that’s part of party democracy. But what counts for just about anyone at a festival is the experience. In the moment, it’s less about whether a band is on sabbatical or has disbanded, and more about the fact that here is music you like (and maybe miss), madness that makes your day (and night), the chance to mosh and froth and clap and talk crap at the feet of the music makers. But at the same time, many festival fans are indeed dedicated music fans, and what counts to them is whether Boo!’s comeback will be a one night stand or the start of something beautiful (again).

For answers to this and other itchy, testy questions, read Chris Chameleon’s take on Boo!’s return, Ramfest 2010 (it’s got balls) and who wears the pants in Leopards, lizards and afterlives (and maybe a little on the side from Leon)


Leopards, lizards and afterlives – Chris Chameleon on bringing Boo! back


PHOTO: Renée Frouws

With his many manifestations, songwriter, singer, presenter, producer (and erstwhile soapie actor) Chris Chameleon is easy to recognise and hard to reconcile with any single identity.

Better known as the ageless songbird of contemporary local-is-lekker listening, his definitive lyrics and licks are busy as an undiseased bee in Europe and Africa (apparently ours are stronger. Evidently we are unsurprised. I’m talking about bees, not live music audiences; that would be surprising). Quintessentially, his signature melodies boast intelligence and inspiration and his vocal chords are more likely misplaced hermaphroditic acrobats (and without having met the man, I know he could say those last 3 words seven times fast).

If you’re less an acoustic folk and/or treffer innie taal lover, and none too young, you’re more likely to remember him best as the lead lady of a wild trio of punky monks better known as boo! And even if you don’t, you’re going to get a chance to taste the legend (or at least listen to it) at Ramfest in February 2010, because …well, let him tell you why. His sartorial flair could teach Trish and Tramp a thing or two, but his sarcastic wit could cut an interrogator IN two. Luckily jezebel is a bit shifty, herself, and offers you a few of the many colours of a chameleon in a corner.

jezebel : is a boo! reunion a matter of synchronicity or publicity?

Chameleon : A problem I have faced almost constantly since expanding my career into its Afrikaans incarnation has been expressing the side of me that is decidedly boo!esque. I’m versatile and I don't see myself committing a career to one genre - I have no idea how artists do that. I am equally comfortable in Afrikaans volk, English folk, rock, punk and classical music and have applied myself liberally to all of these in the last 5 years since boo! My occasional forays into the wilder format have more often than not been met with shock and/or confusion by my new found (and largest) fan base. That’s when I realised that it would probably be best to express this side of myself through the name I built with boo! I put 7 years in 17 countries of my life into boo! And to let it slip is counter productive or simply stupid. And so I decided to revive boo! As a vehicle to more thoroughly express my full range without the damaging consequences of confusing an audience that has been spoon fed packaged and boxed commercial art for decennia.

jezebel : boo! parted ways hardly speaking to each other, and you've performed boo! material with aplomb without them since. So why did boo! agree to play Ramfest 2010? (Nostalgia? To boost the Chris Chameleon brand on the rock scene? to make peace?)

Chameleon : boo! didn't part ways. If you read the press release at the time you would have noticed the other guys 'announced their resignation'. If you resign from your day job at Debonairs pizza tomorrow it doesn't mean Debonairs pizza no longer exists or has the right to, you dark humoured bitch. The other guys resigned, boo! never ceased to exist. I own the boo! trademark and all boo! material was written by me and is copyrighted in my name. I love those songs and will always want to play them.

jezebel : for the fans, the real question is, are you considering seeing each other casually again?

Chameleon : Ampie and I have worked together extensively in the past year, notching up a Kanna award for the best production across all genres at the KKNK, and an Innibos award for most popular production. We are musical soul mates and have been making music together since 1988. In the space of 21 years four years constitutes a brief repose, hardly a quiver on the Richter scale. Leon and I had coffee last week. (ok, ok, I had coffee, he likes cola). Leon has moved on in life. He has become a major force behind the scenes in SA music and is doing a lot to formalise the business, ultimately for the protection of musicians and creating order in an industry that lags behind the rest of the world for exactly those reasons he is addressing. In ten years time his efforts no doubt will have changed the musical landscape in SA. And I hope he is remembered properly for his efforts. He is however beyond drumming now, and Riaan van Rensburg takes his place.

jezebel: if you were to reform even on a part time, fests-only basis like Lark does, what would you change?

Chameleon : there is no part time for us. Ampie, Riaan and I are all full time musicians. We're going to give this our all. What would change? mmm... I think I might not work in a dress anymore. But I am big on alien androgyny and will lean that way.

jezebel : At the last Boo! gig at Mercury, I bought what turned out to be an unofficial boo! release, awful quality - apparently something done without your involvement. Is that true?

Chameleon : at the time I was dulling the pain with a cocktail of substances, I can't remember what you're talking about.

jezebel : "Bootlegs" are a dubious form of marketing, because fan(atic)s will buy them just to check, even if they're poor quality. If they are kak, illicit recordings, it doesn't do the band's image much good. But it stands to reason that this form of unsolicited (and legally problematic) material reveals a certain enthusiasm about a band, a certain public impact. What are your feelings on fake takes and fan footage? (video and audio)

Chameleon : anyone who tries to stop the flow of information is an idiot. I’m not fond of having my worst moments on some crappy YouTube video filmed by a cell phone. But I wouldn't spend a second trying to stop it. The pros far outweigh the cons. Besides. This is the new big brother. The state needn't pay agents to sit in rooms full of TV screens a la George Orwell's 1984. The new big brother is your uncle and auntie and best friend and the guy next door with their video cam and their salary is the sensation-hungry audience being fed by the pony press and television. How do you fix that? Not by prohibition Mr. Kim Il Yong, but by being at the top of your game at all times.

jezebel : in keeping with this line of questioning/suggestioning, will there be boo!tlegs again? But perhaps high quality ones? Official unofficial ones? B-sides recorded over the years across Europe, maybe? It would be nice (and lucrative) if there were a RamBoo! to take home with us...

Chameleon : personally I’ll only put out stuff I think is good, that I like (having said that - the question remains: how did 90% of our albums get out then? We knew how to make bad recordings, that's for sure). But I can't stop the fans.

(to clarify : jezebel actually meant special releases by the band @ Ramfest, but perhaps that’s a premature expectation or something was lost in translation.)

jezebel : most people who deign to go to their reunion dress up to the nines. Please, please tell us you're going to wear your lingerie...?

Chameleon : I always wear lingerie. but not mine...

*

Find the pop version of this story in issue 17 of One Small Seed magazine.

http://www.ramfest.co.za/
http://www.chrischameleon.com/home/chris is for sale : http://rhythmmusicstore.com/store/search.asp?q=chris+chameleon&x=41&y=12

boo! is not (yet) but if you scream really loudly at ramfest, they might hear you. (and Johnny Foreigner, Pendulum and Lark and Tidal Waves and lots of others might, too!)


seeing as Chris had such nice things to say about Leon (and bands like Taxi Violence agree enough to go global with his company, Southern Pulse), perhaps we should give the mic to the man who's hung up his sticks to take SA music to the world...first and former boo! drummer Leon Retief presiding:


jezebel : i'm interested in what you think of a boo! reunion. Excited? Nostalgic? Cynical?

Leon : There is no reunion. Just a formation of Chris, Ampie and Riaan.

jezebel : As a visionary and facilitator for the expansion of SA music, do you think there's space for boo! in a global market? (now, a few years on)

Leon : That depends what the plans are. Things have changed a lot and in certain terms boo! was ahead of its time, but that too has caught up and surpassed the independent notions and philosophies of boo!
boo! probably still stands a better change of making it internationally than locally.

jezebel : in your professional opinion as a booker of bands and instigator of tours, will the boo! brand have suffered from what we shall diplomatically call its 'sabbatical' (as Chris was quite trite about it), or will it bounce back?

Leon : The challenge lies to convince the new generation of music lovers. I have no doubt that Chris and Ampie will do a good job, but whether the new generation will embrace this, we will see.

jezebel : Young bands abound and most of the people at Rocking The Daisies were under 24. Do you think the younger ones will consume boo! with as much appetite as the (now older) ones did before?

Leon : It is hard to say. Many young people listen to Madonna and U2, when these are even older than Chris and Ampie. However those bands stayed prolific and kept changing with the times. boo! was never period based, so this kind of originality works against the band. Chris has a very distinctive persona and branding as solo act, so it is even harder to shed. Having a wardrobe change is not enough and the younger generation will see through this. They would have to come up with a serious strategy and commitment to make it work. Ampie has always been a kid (in a good way) by heart, so I don’t think it would be difficult for him to relate to a much younger audience. I know I can’t party like I use to, so I know for a fact the after parties will be lot more tamed than way back in the day.....

jezebel : If you had time, would you don the monki-punk attitude and rhythm again, or do you apply it liberally to your current projects, anyway?

Leon : No ways. boo! was just way out crazy times....I loved it and had the best time of my life, but this to was only a phase of my life and I know when it is time to move on. I am very much settled in the world of less experimental ventures and more thought out projects.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

check, mate


Nostalgia is for numbskulls, and I’m not numb. But on the eve of an end, I have a brain, and a heart, and both believe good when it comes around. or passes us by.

What are you talking about, jezebel? about digging through winamp (or is that tweeting in Word or?! ) and there sits aKING's debut, unplayed since that unsexy second album came out and my bottom lip with it. what the hell, I think, it’s been a while. PLAY.

In seconds, singing along. (the mittens think i'm mad)

I hate to be a royal pain in the ass, now, and dredge up the silky, silty past (no, it’s just the lagoon sand between my toes), but I regret the loss. Of dutch courage. Of awkwardly awesome harmonies (hunter?). of rambunctious, restless basslines and bloody buildups clotted with chugging chords all overseen by the oversights of pithy pop rock… there’s hope for a third time lucky, but in the meantime I’m waiting in vain.

Tide comes in. tide goes out.

Begin again.

[but you know, i'm not against change. maybe the second album was part of a morph - an eventual evolution (she hopes, she prays). i believe there's a long locked hillbilly in sneakers just dying to get out from under laudo's straw sun hat...nu country doesn't sound all that bad when you're reading books like My Traitor's Heart(malan) and Ways Of Staying (bloom)]

are we gonna be saved?






D-day




ROCKING THE DAISIES is not a music festival.
Like sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, it’s a lifestyle choice.

Rocking The Daisies. It will never have the impact of Oppi, the darkness and daring of Ramfest or Up The Creek’s shade of blues. AfrikaBurns has an invisible carbon footprint that kicks RTD’s ecological efforts in its VIP pass, and RTD isn’t as pretty as the hippies at Splashy. But its remains a force to be reckoned with because it understands what the music industry doesn’t – LIFESTYLE consumerism.


At RTD, you don’t get the individuality of the dusty, the husky or the crusty that the aforementioned events offer; you get it all - camping, comedy, good food, shopping, swimming and - oh yes - big sound.


Safe as houses, Darling’s other mother was wise and wide enough in its 2009 musical selection to appeal to many. From aKING to The Little Kings, it drew lots of (mostly white, middle-class) South Africans. The stage was more colourful with Gazelle’s antics and Gang Of Instrumentals energy.

The Black Hotels are diplomatic about the demographics of the Daisies- “SA is a strange country, but the great thing about it is that nothing gets forced. It’s great that fests cross the line-ups. Integration happens naturally.” 10 000+ winter-pale faces proved the Black’s point. True to its socio-geography, the success of this festival is built on colour. The colour green, to be exact.


Green with envy
The earth is dying, and we are celebrating. That sound right? No, but that is right. We’ve entered the age of environmentally aware entertainment business– a simple branding and marketing angle that other fests must be kicking themselves for missing. You want media attention? Go green. You want social kudos? Go Greener. It’s no longer good enough to pick up your litter. Greenest is the entry level.


good advice beats good intentions


Clean Green

festivals have huge negative impact on their natural settings. Aligning itself with the concerns of global consciousness or those who just like to talk about it, RTD cleverly posit(ion)s itself as SA’s greenest fest. Yet last year’s 5km, 3-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic queue with an exhaust emission to match was a bit of a choker for the festival’s carbon footprint. This year RTD was more organised. Ticket sales were tightly controlled, rubbish was recycled, renewable energy was pre-purchased, toilets were clean. But the PR schlock about “free water” @R40 /bottle?– should we expect the same spin doctoring from Complete Event’s incomplete green audit?


Jan demonstrates the pleasures of (almost) sustainable transport


Green eyes... or,red, really
At a festival, green is not always clean; but green is always grass. Andre Pienaar [Ashtray Electric] was eloquent on the topic of illegal substances. While people tripped their bits off out in the fields, he pointed out that “Festivals definitely have a stigma of excess. It’s not enough for people to get out of Cape Town; they want to get out of reality.” And into the trying pan?

tourists


Green, but learning
The Red Bull Radar competition was cool! Giving talent a fighting chance is cool! But using a web platform that prioritises a closed community of initial voters is NOT COOL. Potential competitors gave up participating because the host wasn’t comprehensive enough because the budget wasn’t big enough; not good enough, RTD. Everyone missed out.


Mean, green money- i mean- music machine
Music finds its feet in the mainstream; or rather, when it comes to making money in music, the mainstream is a shoe-in. To please many (but not all), the line-up included unknowns (like Thieve) and overgrowns (like Just Jinjer, the current favourite festival headliner). Everyone made an effort; not everyone was up to standard. But this festival offers music incredible exposure. That’s significant in a recession halving incomes.

In all, whether you go there for comedy song and dance, to get lost in tripping in tentburbia, to eat, drink and do very little, Rocking The Daisies is one-of-a-kind in the Western Cape. Just not my kind.

And what I’d like to know is which of its tree-hugging, cardboard-recycling, bubble-blowing boys or girls stole the bespoke daisies?