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Jargon Fest - Wine Farm Territory

Jargon Fest

by Mahala High Five Brigade / Images by Adam Kent Wiest / 01.12.2011

In one of my favourite scenes from 30 Rock, there’s this one part where Tina Fey’s perpetually stressed comedy writer character, Liz Lemon, attempts to convince (via slideshow presentation) the wistful TV tycoon and Bush-Administration-fawning Jack Donaghy, of the merits of using company money to pay for a trip to Miami for the writing staff.

“Synergy!” She shouts.

Donaghy freezes to attention, eyes welling, cheeks flushing.

“Cross-promotional… deal mechanics… revenue streams… jargon… SYNERGY!”

There is a pause, as Donaghy’s eyes glaze over, ensconced in a moment of overwhelming pleasure. He takes a shallow, trembly breath.

“Good God, Lemon.”

He giggles excitedly.

“That’s… the best presentation I have ever seen!!”

Jargon Fest - Synergy '11

The joke of course being that nothing of any actual substance or coherence had actually taken place. Which, I guess, is not unlike the conclusions one could draw from the extravaganza that was Synergy, The Festival.

At a glance all the slides were there. The wine farm location, nestled nestlingly in a very nestlable place between other nestling places. The stages! The river! The hottest local lineup since forever was an ever! And, of course, the big international headliner. Yes folks. Mother. Fucken. Bee. Arr. Em. See.

Aw, YISS, I thought. This is going to be the best time of my life. I will have the most fun, get the most drunk, take the most drugs and laugh and cavort myself into a frenzied pleasurecoma. I will make new friends! I will have life changing experiences! I will punch falcons right in their faces! Because after that kind of social media slideshow (via a bukkake of tweets from @hypesfontein on Twitter), I would be a fool to expect anything less. And because anyway, in the words of Brad Neely, my mind is a fucked-apart dead thing when I’m not having fun.

Jargon Fest - Opening Image

But reality, of course, always has a tendency to shrivel pathetically in the face of optimistic expectation. For just as Lemon and her crew eventually end up in snowed in Baltimore, so I arrive at the gates round 8pm on the Friday Night to discover that not only is my name not on THE LIST, but neither is Mahala’s, full stop. I fucking hate THE LIST at festivals. Not only because Mahala couldn’t organise a deadpan in a room full of Keanu Reeves, but because it always seem to cry, in Schindleresque tones “Buht vee kahn only take everyvuhn but yooh.” But not to worry. Because as luck would have it, Synergy have chosen to employ first years as their trusty door handlers. After a moment of steely resolve and impassioned sighing on my behalf, the hockey stick door girl gives me the same earnest, wide-eyed look as, I’m sure, so many rowing team captains before, and says “Ok. Ok. I trust you”, and hands my friend and I our media passes. And so it begins.

And honestly, it’s hard to make sense of what happens for the next 48 hours. Imagine, if you will, the East Rand Show. Now add hoardes of Stellenbosch students, who like Tamagotchis, wee themselves constantly when left unattended. Picture them having divaan cold ones, stunning ciders and gushing over the “properly legit emdeez that Kevin has, bru.” Then add a motherfucking fun fair. The most arresting feature of which is an up/down thing called MAGIC (“feel the rhythm!” the sign says) that has a hand painted life-size image of Slash rocking the fuck out in on it. Now what you should have, given this scene, is a recipe for some tragic yet exciting death incident. But sadly, to my poorly concealed disappointment, there is nothing of the sort during the entire duration of the event.

Jargon Fest - In The Depth

Secondly, save for the stages, rides and food stalls, come nightfall the entire festival is pitch black. Like some bizarre video game hybrid between Circus Charlie and Alone in The Dark. And then there is the issue of proximity. Not only of groups of youths in relation to my person, but of all the stages to one another. Unless you are standing right in front of one of them, the result is a sort of live mashup of the most awful and incompatible music ever. There’s the hard house pop tunes of the funfair rides. The incessant wub wubing of the Redbull wub wub stage, and the distant alt rock power chords from the mainstage. Yes, I am tormented. Yes, I need more substances in mah fays.

Jargon Fest - MAGIC

What is great though, is the seeming lack of rules and regulations usually associated with such events. There is no checkpoint Charlie wristband vigilance ala Rocking The Daisies. No one cares when I produce a bottle of tequila from my handbag in the main stage bar. Hell, they even give me a cup. A cup that I not only don’t have to pay for, but that I don’t have to stand in line for either. Synergy is either horribly unattended, horribly generous, or horribly efficient. Either way.

One bottle of Tequila down, the night then descends into the usual sort of madness that festivals bring, and midnight finds me on the floor backstage at the LMG marquee with two friends, “I heart my hood” stickers pasted to our crotches as we grind into the dirty, dirty ground. Disgusted, some mall goth mom, who looks like an ageing version of a Rock n Roll Bratz Doll, dispenses what must be a quarter bottle of Sailor Jerry onto me, before walking away in an indignant rage. How dare we reduce that bourgeois Southern Suburb developer’s wet dream into a clit-centric joke! How dare we! Cue a montage of a lot of rum-haired stumbling through various pitch black areas, all ending up in the middle of a Vineyard amongst the Pinot Noir at sunrise, smoking sloppily rolled joints with a healthy looking man from Fish Hoek called Charles.

Jardgon Fest - Sloppily Rolled Joints

Another thing worth noting about Synergy is the organic splendour of the camping areas. Situated some distance away from the thrills of the entertainment area, the grounds are terribly civilised. Quaint gum trees and lush grasses abound. At least for the VIPs. Sumoville (or whatever it’s called), Synergy’s version of the Kreef Hotel (hereby dubbed the Queef Hotel due to the civilised, lentil eating, R400 paying inhabitants) makes your favourite boutique guest house look seedy and exciting. And there is not a billow of dust in sight. Which would all be great except for the fact that its eye meltingly boring. The river area, on the other hand, is both less gorgeous and more entertaining. If it were a holiday resort, it would be called Tin Roof By The Sea. The Hunters Dry Cider bar pumps solidly, and I relax into the green beanbags to eavesdrop on some of the conversational nuggets. Next to me, a manboy of about 18/42 reclines.
“Not really,” I say, but I get to hear one anyway. Twice. He then tells me about the time he shaved angel wings into his back hair. He fixes me with a look of ultimate regret and says, “THE ONLY WAY I’D EVER DO THAT AGAIN IS IF SOMEONE HAD A RAZOR RIGHT NOW.”

Jargon Fest - Camptown

And with that, I decide to retire to my tenty abode. My mind, indeed a fucked-apart death thing now that the fun (courtesy of We Set Sail, Shadowclub, Peachy Keen and that indie band with the hot girl whose name I now forget, mainly) has stopped. And as I drift into a godless slumber, somewhere between the most asleep you can be while still being awake, and the most awake you can be while not yet being asleep, visions of Jack Donaghy dance in my head. “SYNERGY!” I say to him. And again, “SYNERGY!” And it’s then that he looks at me in dreamy, breathless glee, and says, voice all a tremble: “GOOD GOD, LEMON! THAT’S THE BEST FESTIVAL I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!”

Jargon Fest - Show Your Colours!
Jargon Fest - Greenies
Jargon Fest - Blue Light
Jargon Fest - BRMC
Jargon Fest - The Rebels
Jargon Fest - Get Your Hands In The Air!
Jargon Fest - Over-excited
Jargon fest - Welcome To The Light Show
Jargon Fest - Praise Gods Of Rock
Jargon fest - Seeing All Red
Jargon fest - Stage Power
Jargon Fest - Apes Time
Jargon Fest - Show Me Your Guitar
Jargon Fest - Windy!
Jargon Fest - Rage Face
Jargon Fest - Take This
Jargon Fest - Ape Vox
Jargon Fest - P.H Disco
Jargon Fest - Fat Set
Jargon Fest - Jump Jump Jump!
Jargon Fest - Get The Fuck Up!
Jargon fest - We Love Animals
Jargon Fest - Synergy Groupies
Jargon Fest - Passing Out
Jargon Fest - One Fine Day
Jargon Fest - Hippy Fest
Jargon - Tumi
Jargon Fest - Smokey

*All images © Adam Kent Wiest.

13   6
  1. Jason says:

    “…a bukkake of tweets…”

    I’ve just imagined Gareth Cliff (Defender of the Faithless) on his knees.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Jesus. You are a bunch of cunts. I’ve been waiting for a BRMC review for a week and this is the bile I get? Though, to be honest, I should not be shocked. and am not. I expected another moan-fest from the too-cool-for-school Mahala crew and cronies. What a bunch of wankers.

    Will there be anything in-depth written of BRMC or were they actually that awesome and do not warrant the space on this rag of a blog

    P.S. Andy…they have black in their name…got to be cool

    P.S.S Nice photos

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  3. ShlongDong says:

    Nice review. I had fun, but for some reason the festival as a whole felt a bit empty to me. As in I don’t see myself saying in a few years time, “remember Synergy 2011…”, the same way I remember say Oppikoppi 2009 or Ramfest 2008. Maybe it was the brainless neon jock-slut crowd, maybe it was the bad sound, maybe I’m just getting old, who knows. It does have potential though if they keep the venue, get decent sound engineers and sort the stage positioning out, and don’t turn it into another mommied electro fest. Cape Town has enough of those, thanks.

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  4. Nadine says:

    @Anonymous… Have you considered that BRMC might have not delivered an in-depth performance and therefore no-one could write them an in-depth review?

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  5. Dean says:

    Bullshit! Everyone likes racist jokes.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    @Nadine. I refuse to believe such heresy. What were they like? Anyone?

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  7. Max says:

    Fuck the haters, this is dope!

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  8. Ubuntu Bob says:

    “hoardes of Stellenbosch students, who like Tamagotchis, wee themselves constantly when left unattended”


    That said, wish she had favoured BRMC with some sort of review, I couldn’t make it and was curious as to how it went. Although seeing as most Mahala writers are convinced they’re Hunter S Thompson, I knew coming in that I would hear more about the writer’s search for booze and drugs than the music at the festival.

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  9. yusif says:

    BRMC were obliterating mind-fuck devil’s-gospel-saviour orgasm casters.

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  10. michelle marais says:

    @ShlongDong OPPIKOPPI 2009 – drunkest i’ve ever been for the longest i’ve ever been drunk. in my life. it was wonderful!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Ah shame!

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  12. blah says:

    I liked this actually. The girl can write.

    At some point, the people that comment in these articles are going to have to realise that they bitch when the article is about the music AND when it isn’t about the music. Sometimes the articles are crap and deserve the bitching, but in this case I found it an entertaining read and I think that’s kinda the point.

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  13. Mugabe says:

    Rad article. I really enjoyed it. “I will punch falcons right in their faces!” fucken lol.

    Respect Danni, this is one of the best pieces ive seen on Mahala. Looking forward to more.

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  14. dudie says:

    music journalism is a tough cookie to crack; when an event is lame without anything interesting happening the writer gets cheesy and starts sucking information out of his/her ass. thats why it is important to set up a few interviews so you can cover up how much time you have actually wasted at the dumb event. the music needed more attention here. who cares about what the camping area was like.

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  15. Ysterhart says:

    I really enjoyed this. Eh, dont bother trying to please the Mahala commenteers. If you write about your experience, they’ll bitch about gonzo, and complain that you dont review the music. If you review the music, they’ll bitch that you’re too negative and throw hissy fits if you were critical of their Favourite Band Ever.

    Honestly, festivals are never really about the bands for me, its about the madness and people, and thats what you wrote about, so colour me amused.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree with anonymous. I used to enjoy reading Mahala articles, but now its all just about whining and whinging with cool metaphors just so that they can be part of the trendy crowd.

    Tin roof by the sea? this woman obviously spent five minutes at the comedy tent where the one comedian called Tableview “Bellville by the sea”

    Real original. You are so FUCKING cool! Holy shit! She probably has the St. Yves logo as her facebook profile picture or something… probably too trendy for facebook at that

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  17. SihleMthembu says:

    I wish we had festivals like this in Durban to even bitch about

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Haven’t read the article but just want to leave a comment so I can spend the next 24 hours checking in on how many kifs or kaks my comment gets.

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  19. Anon 666 says:

    @Anon (1:55)

    Danni’s FB picture is of a LOLcat.

    When was Mahala not about the whinging? You been reading some other magazine, boy?

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  20. Anonymous2 says:

    Dear Anonymous above,

    You’ve got one kak.

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  21. cnut says:

    “The joke of course being that nothing of any actual substance or coherence had actually taken place”

    Do I need to say anything more on this spoilt-brat wit chicks attempt at joining the ‘Mahala-high-5- brigade’?

    Well but of course yes… she’s past with flying colours… now off you go to lift Roger’s folds and blow him!

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  22. ShlongDong says:

    @ michelle marais: Same here. Still the best festival I’ve ever been to (minus the band lineup at Hellfest this year).

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  23. Anonymous says:

    alright. ok pics. pity no one has gotten over trying to sound like hunter s.

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  24. Meh says:

    Oh jesus christ. Have any of you soggy biscuits ever read any Hunter Thompson besides Fear and Loathing? Aside from (maybe) the drug use, none of these folks write anything like him.

    And I dont mean that as a statement on quality, I mean that the tone is completely different. Fuck, its like you lot think he was the only guy who ever took drugs and wrote about it.

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  25. j. says:

    YES OK, but lady, did you confuse this site with your Blogger account?
    Referencing 30 Rock, complaining about not being on the list, about the boring campsite , telling us all about the quantity of tequila you had consumed, etc… seriously?? Where’s the music journalism?

    I guess you were too busy being bored in your campsite to go check BRMC.

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  26. Lewis says:

    It’s a shame more bands don’t come to S.A. and you have to endure ones like BRMC, well past their prime now. I always take for granted how many bands play in my city. Too many to chose from. Also, this festival look more like “white-fest”. It’s like South Africans ignore the country they live in. Why not just leave if you want be in Australia so badly.

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  27. Anonymous says:


    Why not quit your day-job, and work full-time at the amazingly perceptive cultural commentary you’re indulging in there?

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  28. Anonymous says:

    “The incessant wub wubing of the Redbull wub wub stage”


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  29. danni says:

    o HAY my cunties.

    so basically, in life, there are different genres of writing. a music journo i aint, and dont attempt to be. if you wept with aural pleasures at BRMC, good for you. if you tweeted the fuck about the saltiness of your tears, amazeballs. and if you need an article on mahala to validate the whole shebang.. well. WELL. Sorry, but where is it written that a festival review has to be about the music? do you think i just herpa derp derp forgot to mention the bands? did you ever think that maybe the point was to speak about the fest as a whole rather than just the lineup?

    secondly, (and thanks MEH) about all the H.S.T sex/drugs/rock n roll stuff. A bottle of tequila? Really? You really think I’,m trying to garner hard core wild timez cred with one shitty bottle of fucking tequila? and a vague reference to “substances”? oh, how we laughed. methinks you need to broaden your reading horizons there, guys. is Fear And Loathing (the movie) your only reference to any piece of storytelling that dares to mention NAUGHTY THINGS?

    dudie: you are a sad shrivelled trash-day pigeon of a human being. get off my pavement and stop eating my cigarette butts. you are your media 101 WRITING RULES can go eat a dick.


    PS check out my new profile pic. so. fucking. cool.

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  30. TTT says:

    DD = 666 conducer tattooed on her forehead! <3

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  31. dudie says:

    i will write you under you own cigarette butts, baby.

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  32. bobby brown jaw says:


    can i read something you wrote dude?

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  33. dudie says:

    it’s not for here. wasn’t trying to measure penises (that would be impossible in this case anyway) – just trying to tell her to mind her manners. it’s the internet, you never know who you’re calling a ‘a sad shriveled trash-pigeon of a human being.’ i may just be someone who knows what he’s talking about.

    i was trying to give her constructive crit, but obviously her head is a little too big for her talent. gotta be humble. and yes, she needed to talk more about the music, because as a reader i’m interested in discovering new music through music journalism – it’s one of the only ways. so you could by all means include the sociological element, but you also HAVE TO talk about the music, because after all this is a music festival.

    101 my ass – there is always a function in journalism and this article didn’t have one, less for the pics maybe. she got lazy, no one can deny that.

    sorry danni. maybe next time. see, that’s the great thing about writing, you get better every time someone like me gives you doubt and makes you feel like shit. your reply was only a defense mechanism, i understand that. so i forgive you.
    and if you think you’re a complete writer with nothing more to learn, then you’re only kidding yourself. again, be humble and don’t be condescending to unknown people on the internet, it’s childish and unprofessional. i’ve always said it: authors should never take part in forums for obvious reasons.

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  34. danni says:

    You’re not the boss of me. You’re not my real mom. I’ll never write about the music for as long as I live. WATCH ME. And don’t flatter yourself about your ability to ‘give me doubt’ or make me ‘feel like shit’. Constructive crit my clit. Say something interesting or astute and I’ll engage with you happily. But make stupid comments about your esteemed idea of what a music fest writeup should be, and how you think i sucked the info out my ass, and you’ll be met with all the dismissive snark my big ol’ head can muster.

    and PS: I stand by my trash-day pigeon comment. Scrap feaster. Peck peck peck.

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  35. dudie says:

    whatever, you’re dumb and so was your article. live with it.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Yusif. Wasn’t there but its good to know BRMC are as fucking awesome as I thought they would be. Being a Durbanite is a definite kak-fest when you miss out on shit like BRMC…especially when you just broke the bank to see KOL in CPT…

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  37. danni says:


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  38. I'd'dNeverSayThisToAnyone'sFace says:

    The names of you retarded twonks are more entertaining than this article. There should be a *mandatory field demanding you explain just what inspired you to assume this handle. It was the worst of times and it was the even worser of times for this website at times.

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  39. Roger Young says:

    I know you all have idea’s of what you think Mahala should be, or music journalism should be, or how the word should work, or how you would do things if you were in control. The thing is, so do we and we do them. It’s kept us afloat for nearly three years now, so we’re not really going to suddenly start taking on suggestions ad hoc because you didn’t get what you paid for.

    We do, however, generally appreciate constructive (or even destructive) criticism if it deals with the intention of the piece. This piece never intended to critique the music, so calling it out because it didn’t and blaming the writer is plain idiotic. Rather blame us, the editors for not sending a music journalist.

    Also @dudie this whole “I might be someone important” vibe? Come on china, get fucking real.

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  40. dudie says:

    roger, i’m not some vain bastard, that’s not my vibe. you can’t have the author calling people names – it’s unprofessional, especially if she doesn’t know who the fuck is on the other side of the post.

    but think about it – what if i was some heavy music journo (which in reality i am not) trying to give the girl some pointers, and then i get a ‘go fuck yourself you pigeon whatever and so on. i mean, that’s retarded. i wasn’t being mean at all, just stating that music journalism is a tough one and that many authors have to suck information out of their asses so that there is a story at the end of it – which is a sort of criticism, of course. what’s so wrong with that? and yeah, maybe you should have sent a music journalist.

    i personally was interested to hear about BRMC, but alas, no such luck. and roger, you dont have to defend every writer at mahala because it’s the right thing to do. i think im going to stop posting anything at mahala. everything is taken out of proportion every god damn time.

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  41. Roger Young says:

    Not out of proportion on my side, generally you raise some valid points but this was never intended to be music journalism. The way Danni reacted is the way Danni reacted. That’s her deal.

    I promise some BMRC next week. We are trying to get something special finished.

    Sorry if my tone sounded “too much”, that happens with me some times.

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  42. Meh says:

    ah, ok. Look, I dont withdraw my previous statement, but the mahala writers would do well not to respond to the comments. Whatever you needed to say you said in the article, you only weaken your work by wading into the comment cesspool with us plebs.

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  43. the nipple says:

    Mahala sucks dick!

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  44. creepy steve says:

    i think danni just punched a falcon in the face

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  45. relapse says:

    its not the bottle of tequila that makes you hardcore -but rather how you deal with the comedown

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  46. iWish says:

    Awesome review. I laughed, I cried. I wished I was there.

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  47. nutty poo says:

    I love the article, yes, and i think Danni has written with spectacular balls. SA festivals at best can only hope to deliver o-k to decent local bands, and international bands that no one cares about. The media industry is so full stuck up constipated snobs who think they can throw their weight around because they managed to convince people with a lot of money of their somehow superior writing offering which is all a media hype anyway so that humble writers can make a living by selling their souls. I say fuck them. At the end of the day, Danni has written an entertaining review, it’s on Mahala, so shut the fuck up. Danni you’re a great writer. If anyone didn’t like the article, simply read something else. There’s plenty to fool you from the quagmire of media hell, dudie.

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