Can a Cape Town Rock Festival stand up to big guns like Oppikoppi?
I’ve been to two rock festivals in the last couple of months, and at Rocking the Daisies I started to wonder: what would all the dassies from Oppikoppi think if they had made it to Rocking the Daisies. Who would win if you put Heavyweight Dusty Dassie into the ring with the Delicate Daisies of Darling? Well, there’s a couple of things to consider in any comparison of festivals:
Round 1: Setting
Dassie steps into the ring with a show of force: 4 stages, 3 bars, a huge campsite; part of which has electric lighting. But then there’s the thorn trees and dust. Rocking the Daisies had no dust. It did have pretty hills, pretty grass, haybales to frolick in, a pretty dam for swimming, and wine-tasting. Also lots of larny stalls that look nice. Daisy comes out of that round having avoided most of Dassie’s power punches and Dassie looks hot and frustrated.
Round 2: Line-Up
Dassie has recovered his cool, and looks focussed and intent. With 4 stages of non-stop music over 3 days, not just two, it’s clear to the Dusty Dassie that Darling Daisy doesn’t stand a chance. At Oppikoppi there was a smorgasbord of music, electro, hiphop, ska, pop, folk, jazz, African. At Rocking the Daisies there was rock. Oh, and a jazz band. No, that’s a lie, there were a few styles represented, electro, rock, folk, jazz; and some really good acts. Goldfish, Rudimentals, Taxi Violence. But nothing to compare to the international acts, and range of music at Oppikoppi. Daisy steps out with a few petals knocked off, wondering what on earth possessed her to book Flat Stanley. Dassie is still focussed and intent.
Round 3: Ethos and General Vibe
Because Dassie is so focussed on the music, he misses a bit on things like social consciousness and happy vibes. I don’t remember seeing a single free condom at Oppikoppi, but there was a whole lot of trash, and the festivalgoers all thought it was a great idea to adorn the thorn trees with beer cans. Big Up to Daisies for giving out plenty of free condoms, and planting trees to offset their carbon footprint. There were a lot of kids (the human kind) and people had their dogs there, creating a friendly atmosphere. However, the awareness of the environmental angle was minimal. It took me two days to find out that the bins were labelled (I don’t read bins unless someone draws my attention to the fact that they have writing) and the tent screening environmental videos just seemed like the kind of place people would go sleep when they were too drunk to party. They should have had leaflets or briefed people at the gate – the claim to be environmentally friendly rings completely hollow to me.
Round 4: Cost
This is where it really comes to the crunch. Was it worth it? Daisy and Dassie circle each other. Daisy is looking run down, Dassie is tired but determined. Darling is slightly closer to Cape Town than Oppikoppi is to Joburg, and when you’re catering for 2 nights instead of 3 you save money. But then the fact that we couldn’t braai cost money. You had to bring extra equipment for gas cooking if you wanted to self-cater, and you ended up just buying food anyway because your gas kept going out in the wind. Buying food was not cheap. Whoever heard of a Gourmet Burger at a festival? Oppikoppi definitely had better cheap food, and more choices of food that wasn’t going to kill your pocket. And this business at Daisies of buying R100 vouchers for booze! How is that going to discourage binge-drinking? The only way you could get a programme was by buying a R100 drinks voucher. To be fair, at Oppikoppi you had to buy a tequila, but one tequila is only R10. So with food, and booze, and tickets, you got a better range of music and better music at Oppikoppi.
Daisy limps out the ring, defeated, but knowing that she put on a good show. She may have lost to the heavyweight, but she has plenty of time to grow, and a nice patch of sun to do it in. Dassie retires to his kopje, where he chews grass in the sun and waits for the next rampaging horde.
[Don: Thanks to Vicky for the insight, not going to bother with a gig guide this weekend as I think most of the country will be buried in front of the TV praying the electricity stays on. For a break from the oval ball you could always check out the gigs below:]