Superbalist is Rocking the Daisies 2016…Sound familiar?
Gold Creatures Contributor, Kyle Kingsley Green, headed to SxRTD2016 to visually document what is now known as the largest festival in South Africa. The approach taken is of a traditional festival photo journalism nature as Kyle got involved amongst the 25 000 strong population that took up residence at Cloof Wine Estate for the weekend of 6-9 October 2016.
After a lengthy build-up of pre-festival anticipation, I arrived in Darling on Friday afternoon to a gift from the festival gods that I like to call ‘midnight traffic’ – in other words, there was no traffic. Once inside, the first task on my agenda was to pay one of the cashless top-up points a visit. I was pleasantly surprised to find no queues and this made the experience even better than expected. If you know me, I hate waiting…The cashless system provided by Howler Loaded is a revolutionary approach to the handling of a festival monetary system. Gone are the days of waking up in a hot tent after a bender and not knowing where your hard earned cash is. It’s the future, right?
When the event organizers announced on the Friday evening that the festival is officially the largest in South Africa – they really meant it. 250 world-class acts performed over a multitude of 11 individual stages in order to satisfy the needs of approximately 25 000 of your typical, and not so typical festival goers. Now, you may be wondering how on earth it’s possible to see all of your favourite acts who are spread across the various stages. To put it simply – you don’t. It takes careful planning, the right amount of alcohol and sheer destiny to determine where you land up at what time in order to dance the day and night away. Ultimately, if you took the time to abide by the festival moral code, you were destined for the best weekend of your life.
Friday afternoon was filled with running between stages trying to familiarize myself with the festival layout whilst bumping into new and old friends alike. This year, Steyn Entertainment pulled out all the stops to ensure that the festival layout was bigger and more efficient than ever before. If you have been to Rocking the Daisies before you will know that the festival layout was practically switched on its head whilst every single other aspect of the festival was improved in some way or another – change is the only constant so why not embrace it?
If you’ve attended a variety of different music festivals it’s pretty obvious that the energy that is generated at each one is unique in its own way. The combination of different types of people, attitudes, the venue, décor, music and substance use are the raw components that define a festival’s atmosphere. Having said that, SxRTD2016 had one of the best atmosphere’s that I’ve ever experienced at festival in South Africa. This was noticeable as the majority of attendee’s generally seemed too stoked to even comprehend the concept of a negative attitude. Ultimately, SxRTD2016 possessed an energy that one could say would trump the vibe of a decolonized university in the mind of a Fallist. Besides getting asked daft questions on repeat such as, ‘Are you a photographer?’, whilst I clearly had a Canon 6D and a 70-200mm f/2.8 stuck to my hand – I had a really really good time.
Let’s get down to the real reason why every SxRTD2016 attendee makes the annual pilgrimage to Darling…music. To summarize my entire musical experience into one sentence, it would read as follows: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE 250 ACTS OUTPERFORMED THEMSELVES. There are a handful of acts that really stood out for me and as a result, I present to you the SxRTD2016 Top 5 by Gold Creatures.
For those of you that are aware of the infamous duo known as Gazelle, you should be well-aware of the other half of the dynamic project, DJ Invizable. I stumbled into the Electro Dome by chance on my way to the Main Stage on Friday evening and was pleasantly surprised to find DJ Invizable flaunting his mixed beats and experimentation with unfamiliar sounds to an already well-oiled audience. As you can see from the images, Invizable is at the forefront of blending African ethos into traditional electronic music. Progressive acts such as this are destined for big festival stages – boundry pushing outfits and mind-melting audio-visual pleasure is what most came for, so it would be fitting to give them just that.
Big Mac time – where do I even start? Hot off the release of his new album The Divine Feminine, SxRTD2016 attendees were always in for a high energy performance filled with new content. From a photographic point of view, this was my biggest and most internationally acclaimed subject to date. Given that I don’t have much experience when it comes to photographing under these conditions, this was as much my time to shine as it was his. To be frank, his act was seamless. Appearing on stage wearing a springbok cap and tracksuit jacket, Mac possessed an undeniable level of energy output that had the audience eating out of his sweaty palms whilst he delivered a rap master class. Personally, everything that I think an artist needs to possess in order to deliver a world-class performance was present for the full duration of his set. Mac possessed a stage presence that went unrivaled at this year’s festival. The ultimate point of performing live is to win over new fans, and I’m quite sure that Mac succeeded in doing just that.
‘WHAT A LEGEND’ were the words running through my head for the duration of Hugh’s performance. To be completely honest, I felt honoured to be able to photograph him perform at South Africa’s largest festival. For those of you that don’t know, Hugh has reached the highest possible level of OG (Original Gangster) status at his ripe old age of 77. Armed with his infamous trumpet, Hugh jived his way onto the Main Stage for a chilly afternoon set that will ultimately be forever embedded in the memories of those standing before him. Despite his age, Hugh had a joyous and inspirational presence that mesmerized the youthful audience who were probably more unfamiliar with his music than some of the older members of the audience. Whilst making entertaining comments such as, “This festival should be called Rocking the Icicles”, Hugh rocked the stage harder than most of his young counterparts. Smiles, smiles and more smiles – I would have been happy to have gone home after witnessing that performance.
Having interviewed YoungstaCpt prior to SxRTD2016, which you can read here, I knew that he was about to drop some serious heat on the somewhat exposed and icy Two’s Up stage on the Friday evening, which was probably the most consistently attended stage at the festival. Performing old and new songs off his upcoming Cape & Good Dope album, YoungstaCpt displayed why he represents KAAPSTAD and is well on his way to being the best rapper in South Africa. Half way through his 20 minute set, he appeared on stage in a Jason mask that took the atmosphere from being relatively normal to straight up gangster. He blessed the audience with his unique freestyling skills and in my opinion, offered up one of the best sets on the Two’s Up stage for the weekend.
Desmond and the Tutus
You could sense the hangover in the atmosphere on Sunday morning. The entire crowd gathered at the main stage was taking refuge on benches that they had successfully retrieved from the bar area, much to their satisfaction. Desmond and the Tutu’s, an indie-rock band, took to the stage at 12pm and served up a greasy, and well deserved portion of audio-visual stimulation. Performing well known tracks such as Lazy Bones and Boogieman – The energy and spontaneity that these guys possessed on stage was seriously pleasing and refreshing to watch. Whether it’s switching clothing and instruments amongst band members to pulling hysterical faces at every moment possible, it was a Sunday afternoon written in the stars, or on the hungover faces that made the most of every penny spent on their festival ticket. I remember listening to an interview with them on 5FM a couple of months ago and I clearly remember Shane, the lead vocalist, saying that they never plan a performance. I like that.
Everything about SxRTD2016 was as near to perfect as you will possibly get when it comes down to the nitty gritty of festival organization in South Africa. The production was outstanding, the traffic flowed, ablution facilities were plentiful, smiles were dialled, stomachs were kept full and the drinks were cold! Unfortunately, when every SxRTD2016 attendee departs from Cloof Wine Estate on the Sunday afternoon, there is a huge impact on the environment that cannot go unnoticed. SxRTD2016 has done a huge amount to minimize the impact of mass consumption through a multitude of green measures. These range from encouraging festival attendees to live an eco-friendly lifestyle whilst possessing a “leave no trace” policy where individuals are encouraged to “do your bit, pick up your sh*t”. Additional carbon offset measures such as tree planting days, recycling drives, wind farm credits, biodiesel power generation as well as cycling and walking to Daisies initiatives have all proved hugely successful in reducing the festivals carbon footprint.
I could carry on and go into more specific detail but that would take away from the fun of actually attending a festival such as Superbalist is Rocking the Daisies. Do yourself a favour and gather up some friends, hide your wife, hide your kids and start planning next year’s Superbalist is Rocking the Daisies pilgrimage. We’ll leave you with exclusive Gold Creatures content of some more of our favourite acts and people from SxRTD2016.
You can also check out all of the event photos and more artist photo’s in a full Facebook album here. If you find yourself – tag yourself!
For additional information and content regarding SxRTD2016, please visit:
See you next year!
Writing and Photography by Kyle Kingsley Green