Rocking the daisies: Play Hard, Tread Lightly

Posted 2011-11-09 @ 14:36:02 In articles > features

It was way after we had missed the turn-off and ridden back, past the cyclists we had hooted at almost an hour before, that I realized something was amiss.

The sun baked down and the bakkie window was all the way down so we could shout clever things at hot girls riding their bikes down the road.

As we got closer to the party the car started making strange sounds and I was thinking that this was just another reason I should have taken my car instead. The grinding was getting louder and louder until suddenly a loaded 4x4 started flashing its lights at us. Expecting the worst, our intrepid driver slowed down and let him pass alongside us where he leaned out his window and told us our tent had fallen off the back and other bits and pieces where flying off at a rate of knots. Unperturbed we pulled off to the side of the road and had a look.

The tent was semi there, but only because I had tied it to my full cooler box and it was just kind of hanging off the back and dragging the tent poles along the road, which explained the random noise.  Never fearing we threw it further into the back of our trusty vehicle and carried on since everything else seemed to be there. 

Our real mission on the Friday of Rocking the Babies was to hand out a couple of flyers and then claim our free, yes free ticket to party. It was all systems go with flyers in hand, the branded t-shirt and a free water bottle to fill up with beer. It was then decided that we had to start moving all our gear into a spot before the next 10000 people rocked up and took all the good camping.

Off we went with as much as one man can carry in the blazing sun and still carry on drinking. Shaded spots were all taken by about 2pm on Friday so we settled for a nice open space close to the VIP area and also half a beer from the entrance security bridge lockdown area.

I opened my recently rescued personal four man palace of filth only to find that I had one measly and slightly destroyed pole left for the entire tent. Since this was my most organised camping trip of the last 10 years I was a little bleak to discover that most of the integral components were definitely scattered along the road all the way back to Darling. I wasn’t about to let this discourage me since I had even brought a pillow, sleeping bag and a semi-mattress so the tent was going up even if it meant being tied with duct tape to other peoples tents.

My co-driver had a better idea and we went back to the bakkie to find more things for our campsite. Here we met one of those fabled heroes of the green festival, a daisy cyclist (Alistair) who said he had seen all these tent poles scattered all over the road. I asked him, “how far back?” And he said, “About 5/10 k”. I was pretty certain these were mine and I got the go ahead ten minutes before we were supposed to start handing out flyers to go try and salvage the stricken tent poles.

Sure as Rocking the Daisies is on Cloof Wine Estate, about ten clicks down the road I started to see individual poles in a pretty consistent line that carried on for quite some distance. A couple cycling to the party kept giving me weary death stares as I idled along in first gear with the door open and picked them up. They possibly wanted a lift. So all the poles were mangled and at least one truck had smashed some of them but there seemed to be enough and no sign of others so I went back and gave some other exhausted cyclist a ride down the dirt track – his racer was a bit kak for the road.

He in kind sorted me out with a whole roll of duct tape which went a long way in actually getting the poles back into shape. I still owe you a beer!  Either way the tent went up after that and lasted until Sunday afternoon because the lovely ladies I borrowed pegs from left with their pegs.

The flyer vibe went pretty steadily with a couple of beers in between and soon enough it was off to hang out before the night’s festivities began. The plan was to take it easy on Friday night and survive to enjoy Saturday and Sunday. Back at ground zero our empty site was now a warren of flapping polyester and multi coloured ropes with a large population of humans. Luckily we seemed to have left our spot and on return been surrounded by a bevy of extremely good looking women so everything was lining up well.

We managed to chill through the heat of the afternoon and missed The Arrows, Kwesta, Foto Na Dans and the RTD All Stars. Our crew was joined by some mad Scandinavian punkers and we set off to watch Gazelle after dark. Our new friends were suitably impressed by Zander’s strange videos on the big screen and his sense of style and were kind of getting into the Afro-fusion vibe. My relaxed forecast was eventually ruined by meeting my sister who put me straight onto the cane train and things just weren’t the same after that.

A belligerent Jack Parow singing about piele was the Friday night headline act on the mainstay (stage) and with that many Afrikaans groupies singing along it was a grind fest in the pit. The Scandinavians didn’t praat die taal so we just hit the beer tent, which was rocking at the back, and indulged in some milf smashing.

After that it was AWOL in the Red Bull Studio (AKA Electro tent) where the DJ platform was an explosion of bass and light and the DJ a captain sailing a ship of a million LED’s. This tent was an amazing display at night and with the likes of Kid Fonque, Monique Pascall, El Gordo and Haezer, the crowd was bouncing in unison all night while being sub sonically brutalised.

We let our evening strays go as the morning sun heated the nest to a crisp temperature just below boiling point and emerged to greet our neighbours who were incensed at the early morning mooing of one of our friends. Let’s just say he likes beer.  The best way to enjoy the morning at RTD is to hit the dam with its cool waters and flotilla’s of honeys and this was ultimately a lifesaver.

By midday the flavour was the main stage under the shade and Peachy Keen were stamping out their Rockabilly vibe, I could eat a peach for hours. It was a little hot out there so we headed for 7ft Soundsystem with his sludge of electronic reggae and had some ice cold beers from the back bars in the Red Bull studio tent.  It was definitely the least retarded way to spend the afternoon before heading for another swim and searching for that elusive skottel we didn’t have.

As the sun started setting on the day a pulse of excitement started racing through the ever burgeoning crowd gathering in the campsite and drinking buckets in anticipation of the night time festivities. What started off as a power huddle of guys getting amped in their spot started spreading across the entire campsite and soon the wolf cry was racing back and forth as a single sound wave of party energy ready to explode all over the multiple faces of the event.

The exodus from the campsite moved to the main stage to check out commercial rock acts Aking, Prime Circle, Civil Twilight and headliners Band of Skulls (UK). As the crowd had grown tenfold from Friday night the atmosphere was ashtray electric and being a miscreant, I had to pull the finger at Prime Circle – there was a subtle change in the atmosphere but then it went right back to partying down and much beer was consumed to the sights and sounds of the modern masters culminating in Lark, which had the girls dripping like percolators.

As a festival bandit with ADHD and a throbbing head-on it was impossible to stay in one place for more than half a song so the Electro tent was frequented where Sibot and Killer Robot were destroying worlds and then rebuilding them just in time to drop a fresh baseline all over again. After a quick visit (hours of delirium) to the Red Bull bar again I discovered  the Nu World Beat Ring a second time and returned to a state of frenzied Gypsy inspired foot stomping to the sounds of Nomadic Orchestra vs. Mr Cat & the Jackal and Boom Pam (Israeli power trio with a tuba).  

As night blurred into day it was the shade of our trusty blue umbrella that was integral. Brunch came in the form of Alababa breakfast falafel and the food tent was a shelter from the sun. Then it was off to the beach party at the Mainstay beach bar where Pina Coladas and sun screen were applied liberally with frequent dips in the dam to the sounds of bass thumping.  Shadowclub played a rad set at midday and as the crowd thinned and the sun got hotter it was a sublime end to a great festival where the wind had taken the weekend off and decided to give in to light steps of a crowd intoxicated by happiness and captain good vibes.






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Rocking the daisies: Play Hard, Tread Lightly
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Bob Mcginty
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