RAMfest: Bad Copby Diana Gross, images by JR Onyangunga and Kevin Goss-Ross / 11.03.2010
Music festivals have always been a bit of a piss take for me. Never having had to pay for one in my life (luv u journalistic skillz), I lack the fundamental respect or reverence (that music journo’s usually endow themselves with) for the whole hallowed business of rounding up a bunch of bands and their fans in The Nature, and milking them of their money and dignity over three or so days. No, not I. Screw your ‘cultural manifesto’. Fuck your ‘festival spirit’. And while you’re at it, you can wring out that soggy little wank towel that is “providing a platform”. Throw the whole lot on the pyre, I say.
I’m not here as your eyes and ears. I’m not here because my opinion counts. I’m not here because I have any sort of vague interest in what whoever is doing “for south African music”. I’m in this for me. Give me that different coloured wrist band! Hand me my laminated tag with big name publication printed on it! Give me free booze, hot showers and a place to charge my laptop. And don’t you dare so much as look me in the eye when I steal from the courtesy bar, break in to your car and do drugs off the dashboard or throw up in an uncomfortable proximity to The Guy That Runs All This. Oh, and did I mention you’re gonna pay me? Sweet. You get the picture. So imagine my absolute shock and horror when, due to bad planning on my behalf, and pussy-ness on my editor’s behalf, I had to roll civilian-style at Saturday’s Emmarentia leg of Ramfest. No backstage access. No free booze. No kidding. I was scared. And rightly so.
Arriving at round 3:30, the place was a goddam feeding frenzy. The general masses were out in full force, resplendent in novelty festival hats, chanting cries of rock ‘n roll camaraderie into the howling dusk. There were the expectedly tanked university students in offensive attire, grappling for their chance to have a Brannas met Frannas; or snappity snap some posterity points with that ogling blonde from aKing. Not to mention the hordes of erstwhile social outcasts, decked out in ironically self-depreciating slogan t-shirts, waiting patiently in the endless queue for the portable toilets. There was also the requisite cool kids camp, situated humbly to the side (so away from the mnstrm rite now), along with DJ booth featuring the usual suspects. Most exciting about this little nook-nook was the fact that one could actually access the bar. That’s not to say we did. Instead, comrade Ben (who was using his Zoom lense to check out tween tits) pilfered a bottle of Rum right under the nose of a virginal looking plaas-seuntjie met ‘n faux-hawk and a slightly divergent squint. Finally. Some sense of deviation! But our joy was short lived. Farm-boy Frikkie indeed had one eye on his customers and another eye on us, and Captain Morgan was sent back to the high seas… without so much as a fight. So we did what we always did. We got roaring drunk on Jaegermeister, half-watched the bands with a sort of passive acceptance (you’ve seen them a thousand times, you’ve seen them two thousand times) and appeased our hunger for something more with fistfuls of halluginocenics and bags of overpriced baby powder. Fast forward a few hours and I’m stumbling blind-fucked through a montage of scenes that include washing dog piss off someone’s Egyptian cotton sheets (they really are softer), reverse parking a Jeep that isn’t mine, and going in search of a friend’s car that, it transpired, was actually in Durban. Another day, another night, another jol. Cynical? Perhaps. But as my mother always said:
“There’s no point in dressing the sheep up in sexy underwear just to fuck it. At the end of the day it’s still a sheep and you’ll still be a sheep fucker.”