Dancing in the dust at RTR

Posted by Aileen Raymond Monday, January 7, 2013 0 comments

A five day festival on a farm seemed like an excellent idea and when I first saw the line-up of Rock the River 2012/13, I thought that I just might not survive this one! This was going to be DPC's third festival in a single month and we were as ready as we could ever be. We packed our bags and booze and left all our baggage at home. This was going to be a serious trip and we went with a big load of energy. Only, no one can prepare for a five day festival of this calibre.

We arrived on Friday afternoon at the venue to find it a bit deserted and dusty. It looked quite like something out of a cowboy film shot somewhere in the Nevada desert. Okay not quite like that, but you get the picture more or less. We decided to test the ground and went for a walk around the site.

"Jissus, dis gevaarlik hier" Van Coke Kartel.

Rock the River is a different kind of festival. Here you will find a mix of all ages and genres mixed together onto one farm. Add a killer line-up on three stages, a piece of raw land and some hardcore wind. The result? One big, mind BLOWING party! Yes, that wind was blowing like the end of the world came a few days too late!

Now, there were definitely more tattoos than people at Rock the River this year, but it was a Monster of a trip from the moment we got there. No pun intended.

Friday's excitement was mostly centered around Van Coke Kartel's set - Obviously one of DPC's favourites. They do it right and they know how to kick off a party. The four-piece really initiated the festival on Friday evening, as they played their apocalyptic beats to a smallish crowd. The bunch enjoyed themselves enough to break down the barriers in front of the stage though. On the first night already? Note to organizers: If you don't want festival goers to behave like animals, make sure you put your barriers up right. Needless to say: The last half of their set was spent between three big security guards glaring over us like policemen. Nothing can spoil a Van Coke Kartel set though and we were ready for the rest of the fest with huge smiles on our face. 

Saturday was spent hopping between the stalls, to find water and food, and the river. It was hot and we were hungover. We found a tap (in the middle of absolutely NOWHERE) that said: "Drinking water". We opened the oasis of a tap and out poured steaming, hot water! Now here is a nice problem to solve (to all festival organizers): How do you give thousands of people fresh, free, cold drinking water? Think about it. We decided to take the trip back to Cape Town for more money, warm jackets and a decent shower. Ah, the joy of a five day festival close to Cape Town! :)

We kicked off Sunday with Tatum on the Main Stage. Although I have heard of them numerous times before, I have not had the chance to see them live. They played to a small, rather hungover, crowd that were trying to hide about 15 meters away in the shade. Tatum, who have worked with Theo Crous, was quite entertaining and they had many a festival goer crack open their first beer. I would like to see them again at one of their Cape Town gigs and I can actually see the twins doing cabaret in an intimate theater in the future.

I had a lot of fun watching some lesser known bands like Set for the Sky. These guys gave it their all and as tiny as they were on stage, gave an extremely energetic performance. Some of these guys
have huge potential and I am sure if we give it a year or 3, these guys
will be up there, opening for the big guns.

At 18h00 it was time for Lucy Kruger to grace the main stage. What can I say? This girl is now the darling of South
Africa's 'up-and-coming' music scene. So soothing was her voice on Sunday, that I found myself at times just swaying slowly with a huge smile on my face. I saw Lucy at Mercury Live launching her debut album, Cut Those Strings, a few months ago and  I must say: She sounds even better. As she sang Catchy
a guy next to me commented" Why can I not meet a girl like
that?". Truly, she is something. People, go listen to this lady, go buy
her albums - her voice is fascinating. I felt a little irritated by the fact that there was such a small crowd at her set. She deserves a massive audience. Her songs are perfect for a late afternoon at a festival and I think, together with the experienced Schalk Joubert, it was a beautiful performance.

Much excitement was created prior to Woodstock Mafia's set. And with bloody good reason! As soon as the first note was played, the crowd was sold to frontman Joe Theron's voice. It was amazing watching them play - passionate and happy about entertaining
the crowd, especially Bassist Ryan Matthews. They attracted the first big crowd on Sunday and they thoroughly deserved it. I
think everyone will agree: These boys have done well in 2012 and they
will probably soon take over the SA Rock scene up there with Van Coke
Kartel. Well done guys!

Good Night Wembley was up next and George Van der Spuy had the crowd jumping at his feet as they played. Girls were pushing and shoving next to me, to get to the front. Van der Spuy shouted a few comments into the crowd and girls, everywhere, screamed at the barriers. Good Night Wembley performed with a lot of ease and gave the crowd just the right dose of Rock n roll. It was the start of the evening and I felt I had to take a break from the Main Stage to recharge my energy.

For the next couple of hours we moved between the Electronic Stage, tent, bar  and Metal Stage. I started to notice quite a few more people arrived since that Friday and I was happy to see that all the stages were supported by a decent crowd.

We catched Enmity on the Metal Stage. What a strange thing! I know a lot of hype was created before their show, but this was something quite different. I appreciated the instrumental talent and so did the rest of the crowd - soon there was a mini mosh-pit that sucked us in and left a few people on their backs!  

Finally it was time for Lark. Lark Electro is a musical miracle. Mr Sakitumi, how do you get to be so musically talented? Inge Beckmann, do you actually have three voices coming out of you at once? Incredible. They were also one of my favourite sets at Rock the River. Inge's voice exploded into the cold air and left us standing silently in awe. This is world class talent right here.

I enjoyed the metal stage immensely over the weekend! Although I haven't listened to
any hard metal for a long time, it brought back a lot of memories. Arc Reactor was one of my favourites and we were soon jumping and dancing around
like bunnies on ecstasy in the wind.

The electronic stage played beats all day. They attracted very small crowds during the day and people were mostly hiding under the two tents on the sides - It was just way too hot on the dance floor. On Monday evening I had a really good time at the Electro stage. We were dancing under the moon to some serious dubstep and for the first time at a festival an electro set became one of my favourites.   

2012 was brought to an angelic end on Monday by the Rudimentals giving an entertaining countdown. What a beautiful way to end a crazy year! I felt content standing in front of the stage surrounded by a lot of happy people celebrating music and life.


The venue was beautiful, but far from perfect. It was dusty and windy with little natural shade. But that is how I picture Rock the River to be - on a piece of untamed, open land where metal heads can shake their long hair in the wind, hippies can stomp in the dust and rockers can sing and shout as loud as they want to. With all the festival's flaws, the organizers actually hit the nail on the head - Rock the River is suppose to be this raw!

It was a long festival, it was a great festival! What a trip to see such a diverse crowd, partying together under one (windy) sky. Cheers to Rock the River!

A HUGE hats off to Antonio Manuel for all his hard work!

Thanks Ice Carstens!:)

Contact me: eliinthecity@gmail.com

Judul: Dancing in the dust at RTR
Ditulis oleh Aileen Raymond
Rating Blog 5 dari 5
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