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Rocking the Daisies

Cock Blocking The Daisies

by Roger Young, images by Eduan Kitching, Luke Daniel and Sydelle Willow Smith / 25.10.2010

Rocking the Daisies is the most organized, balanced, together, neat, conscious and well-meaning music festival I’ve ever been to; to the point where I started to feel like I was on a expertly run film shoot about a festival. It was PG in front of the cameras with a meticulous army behind them and in the cast accommodation; listless sex and drugs on the run.

My ex-girlfriend and I camped next to 7th Son in the artists and press/VIP area. Nic Gaud looked through the fence at the walkway that passed our tents up from Gen Pop to the main stage; the masses looking in at us like zoo animals as we set up. Gaud harrumphs “you know it kinda makes sense that we are the only section of the crowd allowed to take our own alcohol into the festival, the organizers know that press and artists can’t afford those prices, we’re not Very Important People, we’re Very Financially Challenged People”. I concurred and wandered off, not sure if my uneasiness was from the super tight organisation; which I’m not used to, or the fact that I was camping with my ex at a festival that I was determined to use as a rebound arena.

There was something claustrophobic about the neat avenues, the Old Biscuit Mill entitled hippy vibe that abounded. The Team needed to take steps, we sent the intern in to get the ‘shrooms from the trance accessory tent. They kicked in at around sunset and I quickly became one of those assholes who never watches any music while running around complaining about everything.

Tidal Waves

Tidal Waves take the stage in their flurry of skank energy, the crowd (those not still walking with their tents from the parking area to the camping area) surges to the stage. I become fascinated with The Giant video screen. Zakes is massive in close up, the screen is phenomenally bright. The band are but mere tiny silhouettes, they might as well not be there, and the video feed is every so slightly out of sync. I’m trying to focus on the actual singers but the ‘shrooms must be fucking me up; I can’t do anything but look at the screen, at Zakes mouthing “Lekker Lekker Dans” a split second after other Zakes has sung it. I decide to get the fuck away from the main stage.

I stumble back to the charity enclosure and find my compatriots. The only solution, it seems is to drink a lot of rum, we want to go hook up with people in Gen Pop but for some reason we’re not allowed to take our glass bottle out of our enclosure, I’m sure the reasoning is sound but with a head full of mushrooms it was just confounding. Must Drink Rum In Tent With Friends. Cannot. Short Circuit. So, we opt for MDMA instead. My tent mate/ex-girlfriend has already scored from the place of the dream catcher and she floats ahead of us toward The Dirty Skirts, I try to warn her but I am too late, she’s gone. The Giant and I spot a man on the avenue with a papier-mâché mushroom on the ground in front of him. We make enquiries. While we do so, some jock motherfucker kicks the mushroom high into the air. The mushroom man shrugs and, after handing us our purchase, leans behind himself and plucks another mushie signpost out his bag and places it on the ground. We stumble off to find water, I want the md to kick in fast so I open the capsule, pour it onto my tongue and then retch it all out into the grass.

Dirty Skirts

I stumble onto Popskarr’s amazing and awkward New Romantic synth vibe in the electro tent. A skinnies wearing black dude in a white Eye’s Wide Shut mask vacillates between spooky/enchanting and insecure/annoying. The songs are lush and captivating but all too similar in texture. Individually, for the most part, they lack rhythmic nuance but there is something deeply compelling about their Notorious era Duran Duran-esque electro-pop. Suddenly there is a scramble, New Young Pony Club are about to play. We amble over to the main stage, passing a sweaty Jarvis Cocker as he comes out the stage exit. The Ponies are Daises’ softcock answer to Johnny Foreigner. They’re a harmonic electro band with real instruments and they go down about as well as Johnny Foreigner did at Ramfest. From the energy on stage you can see that they’re probably amazing in front of a crowd that loves them back, but mostly this audience is kinda confused; they don’t really know who they are and are distracted by The Giant close ups that are still out of sync. My tent mate stumbles back; she just went for a pee in the fields and nearly pissed on a couple who were fucking. It’s turned into a real festival for some people, at least. The little electronic stabs in the Ponies have made me hunger for some real electro but somehow I end up on a hay bale eating a sixty rand medium plain cheese pizza from Butlers.

New Young Pony Club

The inflatable Red Bull Tent, held aloft presumably by planet friendly wind power alone, is like the digestion tract of a deep sea worm that has eaten its way through the engine room of a high school version of The Matrix. Arms aloft, the arab plaid emblazoned punters stomp the grass and eat the ten rand tequila, throwing their junk and their trash everywhere. Blush ‘n Bass are playing and it’s a little thin and happy for me but I fall into the “they’re hot so I’ll try and dance anyway” trap while looking around at all the hot girls who wouldn’t like me even if I was thin and their age. Suddenly I’m bashed on the back of the head with a brick, a million robocops disobey their prime directives and the tent explodes, I mean, Haezer starts. Even though the music is electronic, because of the closeness of the performers, it seems everything is more connected in the electro tent. I’m trying to tear the argyle sweater off The Giant with my teeth. Jocks don’t get it and get pissy about me dancing in their space but I don’t care, an angry blonde midget pours cane and water down my throat. I dance like a fat man on mushrooms. The set is over before it begins; thoroughly raped and exhausted and having found relief after a particularly farty day, I feel like the festival part of Daises has kicked in. The tent mate arrives as B-team kicks in and we wander back to the camp site and let the mushrooms fade out while lying on our backs watching the stars dance. Somewhere in the distance a drum circle starts up and fades away. We lapse back into pre-break up tent sharing.

Rocking the Daisies Red Bull Tent

I wake to the sound of Checkered Zebra trying to clean up their campsite after Hurricane Jono came through in the night. Broken gazebos abound. I watch a girl called Daisy, one of those hardcore music fans (She has Captain Stu tattooed on her neck), emerge from a tent, look around and move off, carrying her sleeping bag. I have the dull blanket of post mushrooms in my head, I’m happy but rotten. Food is a priority, I wander up toward the food court and stumble across the dam. People in boats with beer look attractive, I want to talk to them but they’re so far away. So very far. I sit on the dam edge and bask in the splendor of a sunny festival morning. People are clinging to the duck shit box. Hot boys I’d go gay for saunter by. Tentmate brings a blanket, we sit in the shade. Edgar sits on a hay bale, he played two sets last night and the work part of his festival is over, he shows us a large chocolate brownie, “Space cake?” I ask, he shakes his head, “’Shroom fudge”. He gets a call and has to go to camp. Seconds later he returns, “I can’t find my fudge!” eyes wide in that particular panic of drug misplacement. We destroy the hay bale only to find them in his turn ups. Girl-I-Can’t-Quite-Work-Out suggests we swim. Lazily through the murk we go. Perfect festival mornings swimming with a pretty girl while moustachioed bald men boat past and give you beer, moments like that, I live for. On the way up to the main stage a friend tells us he was getting out the dam and some douche with a 7D kept asking it to “Do it again, it’s for a film”. These little things; how they can puncture a day.

Rocking the Daisies

After the mindbending electronica vs jazz vs Kesivan Naidoo killing the drums of Closet Snare we drink warm tequila and ginger ale in the artfag tent and ignore the Pinkertons. A bunch of kids I only ever see at festivals rock up, including BaJewsus, the only Black, Jewish Catholic I know. The last time I saw him he was wandering around Ramfest on a Sunday morning looking for his car keys, now he just wants to make a noise and destroy tequila. A Vodacom chick offers to plant a tree if I give her my cellphone accessories in what must be the lamest attempt to be green ever; luckily I have no cellphone accessories and I don’t care because I’m talking to a pretty girl with amazing breasts. The tentmate/ex comes over and starts acting all non ex-ish; effectively cockblocking me. I start to become a bit of a prick toward her.

My curiosity about the-much-hyped-by-friends-of-the-band Sedge Warbler drags me away from the Magnum PI meets Justin Beiber steezy of the City Bowl Mizers’ surf rock into the dirty electro tent. I mean, there is nothing physically dirty about it but you can feel the residue of last nights smash in its bowels. Sedge Warbler are from the PH Fat school of proud to be middle class white boys and so-far-from-gangsta-that-it-makes-them-gangsta school of hip hop. Disco raps unashamedly about suburban teenage obsessions over a smooshy bouncy back beat. There is a lightness and fun to them that will render them disposable if you aren’t armed with the references; they’re list based rhymes, like if Brett Easton Ellis had taken more ecstasy and never dreamed of murder, but still felt a little despair, set to a Digable Planets score for the Power Rangers. The Giant sidles up to me. He has found a stash of the legendary Blue ‘Shrooms. I munch a bag, because the half I took yesterday was softcock. It proved to be an error.

Time Bends. I hear later that the Idan Raichel Project is probably the best act at Daisies, dumped in a terrible time slot; I always miss the good ones. I am wandering the fields, afraid of the hill of death that is the avenue to the main stage, littered with well meaning people brandishing green questionaires. Somehow I make it to the Nu World Beat Barn for Babu, it’s dark and tin and I’m ultra sensitive, I don’t even make it to the stage, I feel a weird energy in the space, someone buys me tequila, I vanish, the next 2 hours are a gap, I’m found by the tentmate/ex and the Giant’s blue ‘shroom man, clutching the railing outside as Mr Cat and The Jackal finish, I beg them to help me back to the charity enclosure. The last thing I remember is trying to eat the tent and shouting “Tents are Amazing” at the cattle train to Gen Pop. I have a dim feeling that I might have tried to see the Hogs but was frightened away by the giant image of E.J. Von Lyrik’s girl power rap pop but might have just been teleporting. The Giant stumbles onto the tent and demands I wake him up in time for the Nude Girls. He crams himself into the two man tent with us.

Mr Cat and the Jackal

I wake up suffocating and clammy. Too many bodies, too much water resistant fabric and the water bottles are empty. I extricate myself from the tent and take my 5 litre bottle in search of a tap. It becomes my first excursion into Gen Pop. In the distance I can hear the Nude Girls knocking out “Genie”. I stumble through the masses, feeling I’m in some eighties horror film about the end of the world concentration camps. The rickety bridge over the muddy stream is apparently recently repaired but it stiil feels wobbly but that might just be my sensibility. I trudge through the dark medieval streets, am directed down a dim thin path to a rough farm tap. I fill up my bottle and scan the sky for dragons. Extras from Flashdance sold into indie slavery line the main avenue; they act bawdy but I can see the alien hosts moving beneath their translucent skin. They walk back to the bridge they queue for the search teams to remove their alcohol. I make the camp and try get back into the tent, it’s too suffocating, taking a blanket I plan to nap in the car over in the parking lot before I hit the electro tent.

I wake up in a sweat, jumping out the car I rush up the hill, past Mushroom Man, still sitting in the same place; just in time to hear the music stop. I return to the car, the distant drum circle starts up and ends abruptly. I’m rocked to sleep by a gentle wind.

Banging at the window, tentmate/ex in the howling wind, the dim light of a mid morning gale. Desolation, Cars are leaving in droves, she wants to pack up and go. It’s nine am and I still want to catch the Holiday Murrays. Up at the main stage I see GICQWO, she’s dazed and messy, like she’s been through a tumble dryer of psychedelics, looking totally sated. The Murray’s harmonic folk pop is perfect in the wind; we’re all huddled in plaid down front. They’re the first band I see on the main stage daytime (and let’s face it, I didn’t see many) who manage to transcend the engineers’ averaging out mixing. Maybe it’s just the plucky pingey guitar sounds, but the bigger the system I see Holiday Murray on, the more they impress me with their sparse, effective instrumentation. Bouncing along in the wind and cold to their post-twee, slightly sentimental, slightly cynical lyrics while the festival exhausted and beautiful indie kids shout out the words. It’s a glorious day, even if 90% of the festival is softcocking it out of there.

Rocking the Daisies

When Holiday Murray finish, a shouty woman comes on stage and tries to get us to lower our carbon footprint by chanting numbers. It’s annoying, patronising and a little silly seeing as the super bright orange screen behind her that says “Tread Lightly” is probably responsible for raising the carbon footprint considerably. I get that Daisies is a green fest, I get that they’re trying to educate and all that, I just think being shouted at while coming slowly down off the high of the weekend is a bit of a buzzkill. We start walking down the hill, the Mushroom Man is still sitting in same place, with a new papier-mâché mushroom in front of him, I have to ask; he’s been through eight this weekend, much less than other fests. He tells us there is much less aggression at Daises than other all weekend parties, I have to agree.

One the way to the tent we find blue ‘shroom dealer, he’s lost The Giant, his ride home; so we offer to give him a lift back. The Charity enclosure is desolate; I spot Bajewsus and his crew, their tents all but blown away by the wind. They tell me that I tried to start a race war the night before by declaring their wine racist and then stealing it. Now they have nothing to drink, only mixers. Because of the shrooms I still have a bottle of rum stashed in the car. We start to drink, tentmate/ex and blue shroom guy are packing down the tent. Friends of the Bajewsus tell me about the people who were fucking outside their tent, in the open, the night before and wouldn’t shut up. Also, apparently Boo! were rad, I had by this point forgetten that Boo! were even playing. Blue ‘Shrooms guy comes over for a drink and suddenly is dishing out handfuls to everyone.

Suddenly we’re all in the electro tent with the diehards headbanging to Richard The Third. And then we’re on the slope outside the electro tent, rolling on the grass, watching the raindrops fall onto us, giggling and laughing. Tentmate/ex and Blue Shrooms Guy are nowhere to be seen. A women in stilts and a clown wig towers over us, and convinces us to come to the comedy tent where there is now a didgeridoo and djembe ensemble that will “change your lives”. By this stage I’m convinced (mistakenly, I’ll find out later) that Tentmate/ex is making out with Blue Shrooms Guy and I am plunged into a state of jealousy/need for revenge and I start looking for someone, anyone to make out with. The didge ensemble does not change my life and I’m now in a brutal mood, I need alcohol so we head over to the main stage bar. By now Jesse Clegg is on, there is comparatively little more than a handful of people standing watching. I see Daisy walking toward the stage; turns out, she needs a ride home. I offer her a space in the car and she runs off to get her stuff.

We’re all at the bar, the Bajewsus crew, some other Daisies crew and the last few desperate punters but they’re clearing out the bar, we’re grabbing for the last remnants of drinks and I see them, walking up the slope toward us, extentmate and Blue Shrooms guy. It’s a done deal as far as I am concerned, I tell her straight, I’m sitting in the back with Daisy, she looks exhausted and sad, I don’t ask why.

Rocking the Daisies is over, I head to the media office and grab my computer, I’m toast. They ask me if I had a good time, I want to say yes, not because of the festival or the music but the mushrooms and the people; but it would be a lie, these things only exist because of the festival. I start to complain about all the niggley things but I had heartbreak, mushrooms and dancing, it’s been a good festival. I get into the back seat and put my head on Daisy’s lap. We drive home in silence through the fading light, joining the freeway, the lights on the way back to the city, looking at my ex, she looks at me hurt; we’re both damaged and relieved. Something big has ended, it will take a while for us to digest it.

Rocking the Daisies

Rocking the Daisies

City Bowl Mizers

Rocking the Daisies

Rocking the Daisies

Rocking the Daisies

*Opening Image © Sydelle Willow Smith.
**All other images © Eduan Kitching and Luke Daniel.

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RESPONSES (44)
  1. Max says:

    Once again, Luke and Eduan deliver the sickest photos

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  2. Anonymous says:

    they are good.

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  3. feelingit says:

    hahahahaha pics not bad but writing is fantastic…….

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Photo’s are amazing…
    Especially the ones of Hogs and City Bowl Mizers.

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  5. James Bondage says:

    I saw Luke at Spur once.

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  6. TAP says:

    wow. you’re cool and take drugs and all. no wonder you punks are wallowing in the sorry, sad, single and broke pits.

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  7. Max says:

    Marty Mizer looks like he should be in a hardcore band

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  8. feelingit says:

    hahahahaha photo of hogs is amazing hey …..hahahaha the guy looks like a gay nazi?who would rave over a pic like that?what the fuck is wrong with you?

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  9. Max says:

    feelingit – dude are you on crack? gay nazi? have you ever seen a gay person before? or a nazi? if you are, in your retarded state, somehow referring to the Zig Heil salute – it’s done with the right arm. idiot.

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  10. MJG says:

    Holy cow. This is a dogshit report!!

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  11. Stalks says:

    Well written roger, amusing and abusing (of your self mostly). But great read nevertheless!

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  12. dude, what? says:

    What an enjoyable read!

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  13. feelingit says:

    gay nazis salute with the left…….u should know that-im just commenting on the picture i dont know who these musicians are but i just comment on what i see before me??sound familiar?

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  14. Max says:

    feelingit – hehehehe, touche my man, touche 🙂 made me giggle har har

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  15. I'm George Bacon too. says:

    killer review roger, i enjoyed reading it a lot.
    well done.
    🙂

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  16. Marty says:

    Max, we’re gonna start “Diseases” soon.
    Fuck hardcore, deathy-grind-sludge-soul-pop-noise is my cup of tea for 2011 😉
    hahaha.

    Awesome review Roger, the Bieber comparison made my day though, love your ways. i think i need to grow that mustache again and summon back the polynesian sun god.
    for real man, i enjoyed reading this a lot.

    see you bastards again soon!
    🙂

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  17. GarethSax says:

    Photos – 3/10 -bleh.

    Writing – 8/10 – One of the best S.A. festival write-ups I’ve managed to read, without my ADD kicking in halfway.

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  18. Luke D says:

    @ James Bondage

    Spur Family card.
    Times are hard.

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  19. I am not George Bacon either. says:

    Spur is a National Treasure!
    Spur for the win!

    Double burger special, god damn!
    My inner & outer fat kid smiles 🙂

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  20. My mom is cooking george bacon says:

    Nice tour of the wobbly bits that support the whole. Keeef.

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  21. Don Dada says:

    nice one, softcock.

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  22. Girl-I-Can’t-Quite-Work-Out says:

    A really cool read Roge! good good!

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  23. ice-bucket-head says:

    sharing a tent with your ex? smart man/smart.
    I hope she is not reading this, If I were her I would hit you with a giant mushroom…
    nice article though…

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  24. Lizzy says:

    wow roger, people liked the article, a rare day indeed!

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  25. Roger Young says:

    @Lizzy – Basically I confused the haters with a high word count, what you can’t finish you can’t properly hate.

    @ice-bucket-head – Hey, ex’s need shelter too.

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  26. Green eggs and George Bacon. says:

    George Bacon is officially a meme.
    🙂

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  27. Shaun Dewberry says:

    Bloody hell, that was near impossible to read.
    Bad punctuation alone makes every sentence require re-reading.
    You write like a ten year old – you shouldn’t be drinking – you should be back in school.

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  28. Roger Young says:

    Bugger, spoke too soon.

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  29. Tokolosh says:

    Shaun Dewberry you’re a shit.

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  30. Carol Reed says:

    A sentence from Shaun’s blog- http://dewberry.co.za/

    “Roelof Temmingh introduced a fascinating idea in his talk on tea at Zacon II yesterday, and I woke up this morning with some free time and an iPad handy, so I decided to explore the concept of using a “series of tubes” as a storage medium a little closer.”

    Glass houses, dear boy, Glass Houses.

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  31. Walter says:

    God damn painful read. Cool photos though. And Nic Gaud’s laughed off your 7th Son review, obviously.

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  32. griff says:

    Anybody still awake?

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  33. Roger Young says:

    Sorry Griff, For you, next time I’ll make it twenty words long and all about making fun of fat girls.

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  34. moose says:

    “gen pop is like india” they actually queue for toilets the morning after the night before. hellsss no.
    boo was great, from a distance at least.
    dope article.

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  35. Bob says:

    Awesome article, awesome pics. Fuck the haters, you did good.

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  36. Syd Willow says:

    nice article roger. thanks for all the Rum.

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  37. First time Daisy queen says:

    I was wondering what was up with the guy and the mushroom. Thanks for clearing that up! Nice article

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  38. Elisma says:

    Nice photies, Ed!

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  39. habit47 says:

    SICK SHOTS!

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  40. xxx says:

    If girls will fuck you based on your reviewing skills alone Roger, I’d say you’re in for a helluva good rebound time.

    Nice.

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  41. lex says:

    man that was beautiful to read

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  42. DaDelft says:

    Pity you missed the comedy tent. I couldn’t drag myself away from that place. Was killer and seriously funny.

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  43. bruce says:

    damn, i hope i’ll still be doing crazy shit like this when i’m rogers age!

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  44. Daniel Sher says:

    Hurricane Jonno was indead devastating. Dope review 🙂

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