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What Goes On Tour

What Goes On Tour

by Kate Crew / 18.01.2010

Summer ’09 spat spam as the folks from De Plate Kompanje bombarded everyone in cyber space with promises of madness in preparation for the MK 4de Avontoer. Come the 26th of December a multitude of music lovers boarded busses, containing 10 local bands and set forth with the aimed of becoming the soundtrack to the summer for 5 coastal towns.

The day of departure saw an assemblage of skinny-clad lads and ladies anxiously waiting on the arrival of our transportation. Arrive they did, two hours late for the scheduled exodus. Once bus bound it became apparent that we, the tour attendees, had a similar objective: Escapism in all its (in)glorious forms.

That Saturday gave birth to the eagerly anticipated Groot Gees Rock Fees, held in Stillbay. Soaring temperatures had me convinced that the the bar fridge exceeds all other inventions, but the line-up was tight enough for me to retain sobriety. “Professional capacity”, I reminded myself. The management team seemed content as the event pulled a respectable crowd. The crowd seemed less pleased when management failed to manage. The gig was behind schedule and the whole shop was set to close at 23:00. It’s called Stillbay – go figure. As the sun set the clouds gathered and presented a piss party. The sound booth was exposed and when attempts at covering it failed miserably they, the management, decided to call it a night with two more acts to go! Don’t get me wrong, if the night was to conclude with Prime Circle’s groaning fading into oblivion I would’ve gladly excused my drenched self, but those acts were the Beloved of Belville. As aKING and Fokofpolisiekar headed behind the stage to fetch their instruments the crowd turned rowdy, and rightfully so. In order to avoid physical harm I escorted my disappointed self to a sodden tent and listened to the disorder die down as Day 1 drew to a close.

Day 2 – 8 presented yet another variation on the theme of unpredictability. Well-respected bands overwhelmed me with contradictions concerning stage dynamics and their unprofessional approach to performances. The reason the local music industry has “so much potential for growth” has nothing to do with its infancy in comparison to that of First World countries. Our status quo is the direct result of the lack of commitment from a lot of musicians. Shit, the last leg of the tour saw us hit Sandbay with a bassist in hospital, on a drip, due to alcohol poisoning. Each to their own I suppose, but in the exact same way that it is incorrect to blame Apartheid for corruption, it is unfair to blame our Industry’s second-rate standard on anything other than mismanagement and a lack of professionalism. Sigh.

It wasn’t all bad. Straatligkinders’ act was a pack pleaser and had fans on their feet night after night whilst Tidal Waves and Mr Cat & The Jackal pleasantly surprised me with their daring diversity. Strange how the absence of commerciality brings forth a breath of fresh air, however short lived. Honourable mention has to go to newcomers Die Tuin Dwergies and Baarmoedergevoel who impressed me with their consistency.

Irrespective of sporadic musical incompetence, Avontoer consists of a fair share of traveling and camping. With this comes a whole array of outlandish habits… or so observed by yours truly. When on tour it is considered acceptable to: point and laugh at a naked Durbanite doing the ‘bus aisle boogie’ on the way to Steers, smoke (whatever you please) in a confined-space-with-a-serious-lack-of-ventilation, rinse kitchen utensils in dirty dishwater for others to use, gladly fork out R5 for a cup of instant coffee every morning and live by the policy that privacy is a privilege rather than a given right.

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All images © and courtesy of JP Hanekom

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RESPONSES (35)
  1. Insiteful? says:

    Let’s face it, you have a way of ruffling the feathers of our highly strung out and opinionated sa’ns….perhaps it’s what we need to loosen up a little…tho I do appreciate how you have an ear on the ground. Shot cuz keep it up….

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  2. dylan says:

    great pics

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  3. Joe Curios says:

    Eish, who was the bassist?

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  4. licious says:

    With regards to the alcohol poisoned bassist, please tell me you’re not saying that bands on tour shouldn’t party. I hardly think partying after a show is unproffesional, it went too far and that sucks but it’s not like he was doing lines of coke between songs. Just the way I feel.

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  5. Jono says:

    I really admire you. Honestly. You’ve stood up and made valid observations.

    -HOWEVER-

    You did fail to mention how unprofessional the beloved Bellville boys were…. Sure point out that ‘a bassist’ was man-down with alcohol poisoning and that some bands stage presence was shaky (you’re being unbiased – that’s respectable)… but what about the endearing Mr Badenhorst?
    Recall it was he who stormed the stage during Die Heuwels Fantasties set hugging Johnny and throwing his arms in the air, flopping all over. And to top it off then slurred, and burped, his way through, “Sonrotse”. How do you honestly believe he would have made it through the Fokofpolisiekar set?
    Nostalgia is not a replacement for an experience. I didn’t pay to watch them get plastered. I wanted to hear the songs I’d grown to love, performed the way I learnt to love them.
    Maybe the ‘mismanaging’ management shouldn’t have had to be babysitting the frontman that SHOULD know better? (There’s a pic on the Avontoer group, on Facebook, where they pulled him off stage and he’s sitting on the stairs looking like an imbecile.)

    Like I said I really admire you for your article, but if you’re going to be objective about bands that don’t perform point that finger at those beloved Bellville boys too. Who, yes, have capitalised on and riled up the youth of our nation BUT at the same time set THE WORST example for the bands that rose in their wake.

    Keep it safe.

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  6. Bertie says:

    “…and live by the policy that privacy is a privilege rather than a given right”, jeeez, dis nie ‘n teepartytjie nie, dit is ‘n rock & roll toer…

    Lekker geskryf, bedonnerde foto’s van JP!

    Die toer gaan oor BAIE meer as om professioneel te wees, dit gaan oor deel, saam bou aan ‘n scene, lag, jam om ‘n kampvuur, en basies kaal boogie in die bus op “outjie” as jy lus is.
    Ek stem saam dat Tuindwergies en Baarmoedergevoel baie goed was, en dit was lekker om te sien. Al die ander bands was ook, volgens my, baie professioneel en belaglik tight.

    Dit is lekker om ‘n vars opinie te hoor, maar ek sou nogals graag wou sien wat jy sou se van die eerste Avontoer, daar was nie eers tente nie.

    Oor management, daar is natuurlik altyd ruimte vir verbetering, maar jy moet in ag neem dat om 10 bands, 2 busse en 100 mense vir ‘n week lank te bestuur nogal belaglik is, dit is natuurlik nie die mees effektiewe manier om ‘n rock & roll toer seepglad aan te pak nie, maar weereens gaan dit oor baie meer as net dit.

    Sien jou op die 5de een!
    Bertie

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  7. Luke says:

    Jono pretty much said exactly what I wanted to say. Lambasting someone for ‘partying to hard’ while showering Belville’s best with love? Um…

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  8. Bus Boogie-er says:

    Kate Crew(basher)

    As much as I love constructive criticism in the South African music scene (read: http://lucavincenzo.blogspot.com/ for some excellent remarks), I have no idea why you went on this tour. Are you a writer? Did the “management” actually take you along on this tour as a journalist? Did you pay for your ticket? It sounds like you would’ve been much happier sitting at home with some clean dishwater everyday and some time to work on your writing skills. (“…and set forth with the aimed of becoming the soundtrack…” ;

    If indeed they took you along to write about the tour and you, in turn, call one of your (few) paragraphs “Day 2 – 8”, then you are the most unprofessional participant of this whole shebang. You could just as well have made a bullet point presentation and summed it up for your readers. You really paint us a picture…

    Maybe you should send this list of gripes to “management” as an official complaint and then get on with the effort of actually writing something that showcases a South African music writer’s commitment and professionalism.

    I guess if you got everything else for free, then R5 for a cup of instant coffee might seem a bit steep.

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  9. Rugged Bathory says:

    Critics are the people whom enjoy life the least, their expectations are set so high that no standard, person, group or institution can measure up… They are idealistic in their visions and views but at the same time subjective to the extent that they completely forget what objectivity is and most importantly, what it is to live in the moment and enjoy life. There is no such thing as constructive criticism, art is imperfection by its nature, why try perfect something that you technically cant? Hoo haa i guess some people are gonna find it hard to wrap this concept around their empty heads?

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  10. Porra says:

    Was there at least anything that you enjoyed on tour? Dis duidelik dat jy die punt van avontoer gemis het, maar seker “to each his own” soos jy se.

    Thanks for the remarks, lekker fotos JP!

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  11. Rugged Bathory says:

    I never went on the Avontoer, i heard it was good, i saw the pictures and it looked good… I wasted some of my not so precious time finding out Did Tugo Dwergies were good – what was good about them i will never really know, this post/review effort reminds me of, um, how can i put it… Seeing the world as a colourblind pepson, absent with colour and detail – black and white, but missing so so so much more… Hell the guy from the Dwergies has sweet hair and that doesn’t even get a mention… I really didn’t read this to find out you’re not a pirate, did i?

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  12. Rugged Bathory says:

    P.s. Those typo’s just go to show why i’m not a critic 🙂

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  13. Jayness says:

    Ek was al by twee Avotoere, en ek het die tyd van my lewe gehad! EK weet die ouens sit baie in om als goed te laat verloop. Keep up the good work guys. SA music scene is ani brand!!!

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  14. Seuna says:

    obviously this was your very first tour… rookie…

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  15. Seuna says:

    sorry, I meant to say: ” obviously this was your very first tour…EVER!

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  16. Seuna says:

    ” rookie…

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  17. jezebel says:

    management and professionalism. now who would’ve thought creatives could blame those two for their poverty and compulsions?

    well said, my little informant, well said.

    to the managers and professionals : IS ‘toer becoming a gratuitous indulgence? i thought it was supposed to open minds and hearts…at least, that’s what it did to mine in 2008.

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  18. Luca says:

    So you went on a rock ‘n roll tour, where there were bands old and new, with seerowers from across the country to meet and converse with and discover on the bus or around the campfire or on the beach – and what you have to report to those of us who didnt get to be anywhere near the tour is that weather rained out the first show, the management team didnt manage 100+ young adults to your liking or pander to your comfortable living standards.

    Then, just to spice the article a bit more, you dubbed ‘The Industry’ as second rate and placed the blame squarely on mis-management and a lack of professionalism.

    To finish of, you spoke some shit about privacy – if you want rights, go to a political rally, not a rock tour.

    It sounds like you took an opportunity to have a great time and then poo’d on it.

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  19. Luca says:

    IF you’d like to know, this is how I enjoyed the previous Avontoer… complete with updates from during tour, a small piece called Tattoer, photos from Mark Reitz, and then a piece I was comissioned to write for SL. The SL article was to focus more on life on tour, instead of the bands/music.

    http://lucavincenzo.blogspot.com/search/label/3de%20avontoer

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  20. Roger Young says:

    Luca, wow!

    So, you went on a tour a year ago, discovered the “bruddas” of Tidal Waves, ate some fish with a stranger, worked out that people from Durban say “lank”, swam in a steam, had a lovely time, nothing ever went wrong and then you cut n pasted the company line about seerovers.at the end to make it look like you knew what was going on.

    Reducing someone else’s article to bullet points always backfires when you are trying to self promote.

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  21. Sinni says:

    Reading through this, I have come to realize that no one is going to walk away from this without a few broken bones. We each have our own outlook on life and the essence of Avontoer, obvious, but if you know music, understand why it’s there and the importance, maybe you could write a truthful article. The Avontoer is really something bigger than you and I, it’s a dream and a chance to unite raw passion for the love of music and muso’s alike.

    I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to find a release, meet beautiful people, bond with bands, seerowers, photographers, journalists and all those silly party people. The tour is set to bring us all together, send a message and lighten up our somewhat bleak lives.

    The Avontoer was not created for little children to go crazy in front of a stage, however one of the perks, which allows you to enter your own domain while screaming to your favourite tunes. The tour was designed for bands, roadies and free spirited people, to escape in December. Professionalism is always important, but this Avontoer and the many to come will always be there for bands to grow. As for the Bellville boys, they can’t all be blamed, but some should know better and keep themselves from shame.

    5de Avontoer Hier Kom die Gees

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  22. Luca says:

    Yes Roger, thats it to a tee. You’ve got it man!

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  23. ninja says:

    Luca you aren’t big and you certainly aren’t clever. After reading your blog I’d assume that you’re the type of guy whose mother kept telling him how good he is until eventually he started to believe it. Put the pen down, please. Mystics needs a barman.

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  24. Licious says:

    I don’t know who Luca is, but at least I know who played and where, which are details that generally shouldn’t be skipped over.

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  25. Rugged Bathory says:

    Rock and roll ain’t about professionalism, pop and mainstream is… You people are arguing in circles about the past… Go do something constructive cause your opinions ain’t worth shit cause you guys and gals haven’t racked up the accolades to be a critic… And if you are a valuable critic to the industry, you must be pretty small fry to voice it here… Its called perspective, and a lot if you people need to find it…
    See you in the future!

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  26. Sinni says:

    …and you think you are a critic because you can throw a bunch of big words around, you must be so proud. If you are such a great critic, why are you wasting your time here?

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  27. ??? says:

    Tour was great. This article is shit. thats my perspective.

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  28. Rugged Bathory says:

    Hahaha those are big words? Holy shit you must be uneducated then…

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  29. Twakkie says:

    KATE YOU ARE THE WORLDS BIGGEST ROOKIE, GO KNIT A FUCKING JERSEY.

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  30. Pooper says:

    I wish Kate had given her place on the bus to someone who knew how to party!

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  31. Francois says:

    I attended my 4th Groot Gees Fees at Stilbaai during December and I can see how the Avontoer is just going from strength to strength. Dankie aan Bertie, Beer en Porra en die ander Avontoer manne wat die guts en gees het om so iets aan te pak. Wys my nog so toer in SA wat aangepak word met dieselfde hulpbronne. Die Avontoer is meer as ‘n rock toer. Dit is ‘n droom wat geleef word. Dit is ‘n toer wat mense bymekaar bring. Dit is omdat dit so eerlik, rou en opreg is wat dit soveel slaankrag het. Hou dit hard, hou dit vuil, hou dit stowwerig en hou dit eerlik. Lank leef die Avontoer.

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  32. Ally says:

    Wow.

    That was average.

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  33. puked_on says:

    Disappointing article to say the least… It had moments where I thought it was going to get good, but it stayed weak and boring! Stay at home next time and let someone who actually likes music and partying go instead.

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  34. nicola says:

    die avontoer is soos om in rock and roll heaven te lewe, snaaks hoe ek nooit weer huis toe wou gaan nie en jy moan oor R5 koffie! op die ou einde was dit ‘n awesum toer vol geesdriftige mense en mense wat die rowwe lewe van rock en roll geniet en dit kan handle, daar was great memories gemaak, baie seerowers en band members, bundi en ure se musiek… oja en een buskaartjie wat gemors was op iemand wat nie die regte rede van musiek of die toer verstaan nie! gan koop ve jou ‘n R12 cappacino en dink daaroor!

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