As the dust rose from our gallant tyres, the slow and steady churning in our stomachs metamorphed from butterflies into fully grown seagulls. The final gravel road on the path to the biggest most anticipated event of the year, and its subsequent queue of cars, seemed a fretful never ending corridor. But as the lights and sound began to grow from the distance, the fears and nervousness were allayed: It was Daisies time, bitch, and it was finally the moment to get our (pants optional) groove on.
Arriving in the media parking, so close to the Redbull Rave Cave it was even in Stephan Hawking’s spitting distance; we were soon engulfed by an emphatic crowd. The illustrious structure rose boldly in the wind, looking a mix of a cricket shin pad and a 40 foot tampon, the steady bellow of 120bpm deep house filled the air. The crowd was already 25 rows in, and the visuals were ostensibly lighting the entire structure. MCBN stalwart Kreg, his vivacious female vixen and I hung back, slowly soaking in the melodies of Terrence Pearce and Bruno Morphet; nothing too invasive, but the night was young.
The true gift of the Daisies is that there is an overwhelming buffet of acts to see, and after imbibing the nectar of the hallowed Jagermeister truck behind the main stage, we were led to the Nu-World Beat Barn. Imagine a Gypsy caravan, and they aren’t expecting company, its exactly like that; except with more trombones. After watching Rumspringer, which after a few Black Labels led us to scream “Rumspringer” every time the beat dropped, we slowly stumbled back onto the endless fields. Arriving after dark meant it was tricky to navigate the vast landscape that this place actually entails. It is so huge, so incredibly big, yet so intricate.
Savannah’s Lemon Tree Theatre provided a brief reprieve from the crowds. MCBN favourite Dylan Skews offered some R18 laughs and used words that you could never say in front of your parents. Low and behold we get a tap on the back and my parents are seated behind us. From that moment on we were forcefully aware that all shapes, size, ages and ethnicities were taking in the magic. A brief scuttle through the enormous food court, which included vigorously slurping down one of the best hot dogs in the history of foot long sausages, and we were back on our way to the main stage, quietly passing a temporary tattoo parlour. Now we had sufficiently lubricated our social embryo at this stage, and, as one does, I became immediately attracted to the notion of getting a Mike Tyson face tattoo. But according to them, some lost soul had already endured this shame and I have one rule when it comes to face tats: No samesies.
After some foot tapping, we went back to the rave cave for Hip Hop legend Grandmaster Flash. While he combined some dextrous moves on the cross fader, with some decent wicky wicky, it was not much more than a Dr Dre, Fugees mashup, yet his crowd presence was undeniable. At the age of 732, his tracklisting can be forgiven. Koan Sound’s glitchy filthiness, might have been poorly timed in the scheme of the evening, but it was musical art that we had come to expect, if not a bit alternative for the legions of lumo tweens, hunkering for bouncy house and Bacardi Breezers. Pascal and Pearce oozed pure sex, as per normal, and the crowd went up a notch. Eventually at about 4am we called it a night; my legs, throat and dignity slowly starting to give way.
Arriving back at the venue at two the next day, evidence of the previous night’s toll was present on most faces. Until we reached the Mainstay Beach Bar. As if new life had been injected directly into the throat of the crowd, the legendary Skene brothers were turning a calm and composed Saturday arvie, into an upside down asylum. Chill on the beach they said, no one would get hurt they said. After witnessing one of them take a cream pie to the face (and no that’s not intended to be dirty) we elected to sooth our aching heads in a calmer more composed fashion; sprawled out half asleep on the BOS acoustic stage. The Plastics eased us through the afternoon with some hipster accouterments before we went to draw money and wait in the apocalyptical ATM queue, only to be turned away after a 45 minute wait due to machine failure. And just when I was about to change to Capitec… Yah.
At 6 the main stage erupted to a Jeremy Loops special. The man has a gift, and he was a personal favourite of mine, leading the crowd through some funky loved up jams; the laidback picnickers turned into vociferous jollers very quickly. A beautiful sunset, spent partially hanging out in a public bathroom oddly reminiscent of a 1950s Hiroshima, we embarked on a small trek to see Toby2Shoes; my favourite DJ in Cape Town currently. His Balkan swing would bring a tear to even the most hardened Turkish man with a moustache. Coupled with incredible lighting, it ended too soon and was followed by raging unadulterated…. Deep House. WTF?
If I had one gripe it would be that the lineup times were not well thought out. Uplifting, jump around music was often followed by something far too mellow, and the tides of crowds, growing and shrinking periodically, reflected that. The beach bar covered the Deep House/Tech enthusiast to the brim, and the electronic stage often failed to stand up to its name.
And then: Bloc Party. The main stage was more packed than Dolly Parton’s bra. Unintentionally we stood hugging everyone around us, as the giant lights forcefully flashed an artificial daylight over Darling. As the guitar strums bent as backwards from the mammoth sound, the moment we had waited so long for dawned upon us. Their set included a range of classics and a few newbies in a versatile musical performance. The front man, Kele Okereke, however lodged an average vocal performance, often off key and shaky. While this provided a somewhat jaded disillusionment, the crowd roared and heaved and the atmosphere more than covered for it.
I’ve never done a party like this before, and I’ve woken up in the nude in the back room of Francois Pienaar’s coke den. Its so eclectic, so different, so nonexistent in South Africa. You cant cover all the nuances, and intricacies in a book, let alone a small review. If you haven’t been, buy your ticket for next year now. Id rather miss my cousin’s wedding than a Sunday Beach Bar!
Massive thanks to Touareg Tents and Rain Productions for hooking us up our very own festival villa, if you may. You guys rock!
*Follow @Stroobz on Twitter, as he becomes aggravated by Mormons, and tries his luck at striking in the mines.