Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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?


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?

No comments:

Post a Comment