Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010
A brainwavez.org Music Feature

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 19 October 2010
Category: Music > Music Features
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The Rocking The Daisies music festival, which takes place over a weekend each October on a wine farm near Cape Town, South Africa, and is now in its fifth year, was three days of sensory overload and great local music. Here's our showcase of some of the artists that performed on the main stage on the Saturday night.

Rocking The Daisies is an annual three-day outdoors music festival that's held on a wine farm, Cloof Wine Estate, about an hour's drive from Cape Town, South Africa. If you're brave, you camp on the farm with 10 000 (or so) of your new best friends (if you can get the tent pegs in). If you're me, you tentatively dip your toe into festival waters for the first time by driving in for half a day to experience the sights and sounds and then dash home in the middle of the night where there are modern conveniences and it's not bloody freezing at 3am.

This is not a comprehensive overview of the festival, which is huge, and amazing, and a complete sensory overload. As I was only there for half a day I probably saw 10% - and experienced 5% - of what happened over the weekend. There's a main stage, there's a secondary stage, there's an electro tent, there's a stand-up comedy arena. There are food, merchandise, and "green living" stalls everywhere. There's a dam for swimming, premium and non-premium camping spots, Woshboxs, communal showers....

Instead this is a showcase of highlights from the main stage and the crazy experience I had up there being a photojournalist.

Nokia South Africa kindly organised a media pass for me. I didn't know what it might give me access to (not all media passes are created equal) but after observing the main stage from afar for a few hours I figured I'd try my luck. Success! The guards let me in, and the rest is history, immortalised in the photographs you see below.


Above: A two-photo stitched panorama of the crowd.


About The Technology
• The video clips were taken with a Sony Ericsson Vivaz pro cellular phone, on loan from Sony Ericsson for testing purposes, which runs Symbian Series 60 and has a 5-megapixel camera that shoots in HD (1280x720). I was very surprised at both the picture quality and - even more so - the sound quality. I've tested video cameras that can't handle sound half as loud as what this phone was subjected to - the results are impressive. You'll also notice how the autofocus adapts well to the changing light colours and constant flashing. A lot of cameras struggle to deal with these sorts of conditions. The phone isn't perfect but as a multimedia device it's stunning.

• The video clips were edited in iMovie on a MacBook Pro, which is on loan from Core Group for testing purposes. I edited the original HD footage but the 10-minute clip was nearly 800 MB, so I down processed the edited clips in HandBrake, before uploading them to YouTube, as it offers more resolution options and compression flexibility than iMovie does.

• The digital-camera shots were taken with my 8-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100, which is four years old. We have had a turbulent relationship (it's been in for repairs three times and has cost me an absolute fortune, even though Sony has kindly offset some of those costs over the years) but I know how to use it to get really effective shots. It (unfortunately?) also remains a much better camera than some recent Sony Cyber-shot cameras that I've tested.

• The film photos were taken with my Pentax Spotmatic film camera and an Asahi Super-Takumar 1:3.5/135 lens (not mine). I like to practise film photography as a hobby and this was a brand-new situation in which to do it. My inexperience with the conditions and the lens resulted in a lot of underexposed photos, but I've learnt lots for next time (hopefully there will be a next time!). I colour corrected the best of the shots in Photoshop (on a Mac) and downscaled them for the screen and re-edited the colour using The GIMP (on a PC).

Unfortunately, getting my film processed turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, and is the main reason why this article is late. My guy, who I've been using for five years because he does a superb job with my photos, was on leave so I stupidly trusted that the other people behind the desk would be as careful with their customers' stuff. Er... not so much.

Long, very stressful and complicated story short - well, you can see the scratch marks running across the top of all the film photos below (I decided not to edit them for blemishes), which I'm pretty sure was them and not me, considering how many films I've run through the camera without a problem. You can also see the holes punched into Arno Carstens' head in the last photo. That's on the negative.

• The two-photo panorama shot above was taken with my digital camera and stitched in AutoStitch on my PC. I had limited time to take photos (HHP had controlled the crowd into sitting, briefly) so I only managed to get two. You can see a larger version on Flickr.


Hot Water
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hot Water

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hot Water

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hot Water


EJ Von Lyrik
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - EJ Von Lyrik


Hog Hoggidy Hog
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hog Hoggidy Hog

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hog Hoggidy Hog

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hog Hoggidy Hog

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Hog Hoggidy Hog


HHP
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - HHP

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - HHP

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - HHP

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - HHP


BOO!
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - BOO!


Springbok Nude Girls
Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls

Saturday At Rocking The Daisies 2010 - Springbok Nude Girls


Videos





A lesson I learnt a few years ago from South African music journalist Evan Milton is always to have earplugs on hand. I don't often find myself in dangerously loud situations but ever since I acquired earplugs on a tour of a printing factory years ago I've kept that pair on hand (thanks Paarl Gravure). Because I test MP3 players and ear- and headphones a lot I have to be extra careful with my hearing, and although bright-yellow earplugs are totally embarrassing it's not worth me damaging my hearing.

So, there I ended up, right under the stage (and sometimes right next to it on platforms set up for the photographers), being blasted by the bass on one side and the raw energy from the crowd on the other. As dorky as they may be, I was thankful for those earplugs for the power of the sound was an experience in and of itself. It seemed loud even when I had them in. On a few occasions I removed them just to get an idea of what I might be missing - wow! Each time I quickly put them back in my ears again!

Having such an amazing vantage point was not something to be dismissed or taken lightly. A few times I pulled myself out of that "get the perfect shot" hyper focus and just stopped to look at where I was. I saw some crazy things backstage - a large crowd of friends gathered on couches just off stage to watch the Springbok Nude Girls perform, Jeannie D flashing her bra at one of the members of the backstage crowd (a bit more 3D than this month's COSMO cover!), Melanie Carstens hanging out with the group and taking backstage and behind-the-scenes photos, ... the list goes on.

The panorama shot at the top of this page hardly begins to capture what I saw in the moments when I turned to face the crowd - waves and waves of energy and excitement emanating from thousands of people and crashing towards the band on stage. I now understand why being in a rock band is so appealing - I can only imagine the high that you experience up there on stage.

What a night!

I left with my hearing intact (thank God!), a compliment from a professional photographer on my use of a film camera (yay!), one of the pockets on my pants shredded (mishap involving climbing down from the platform), a bruise half the size of my fist on my leg (no idea how that happened), a bundu-bashed car (it'll survive), and a smile on my face due to an experience I will never forget.

Special thanks to Nokia South Africa for organising the media pass that got me right to the stage.





On The Internet Share
Rocking The Daisies: Official Site
Ampie Omo:
Springbok Nude Girls:



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