Never have I experienced the sweet smoke smells linger on every step of a festivals beat as much as at Rocking the Daisies 2012. The embrace of marijuana culture was wonderful, with friends and strangers always close enough to share another spliff. Finally out of the city, the twitter feed neglected, and my iPhone now merely functioning as a camera and iPod, I joined the 15,000 other eager festival goers in anticipation of a weekend of music, friends and food.
I arrived after work on Friday to a cold but enchanting hillside. Parking was easy and although our bags were heavy we didn’t have too far to walk to arrive in a well organised campsite. This was a common theme as it became evident that RTD got everything regarding facilities down perfectly, showing just how well organised a festival this is.
Toilets had long queues as to be expected but were for the most part very clean. There were basins to brush your teeth and the chance to have a hot shower after a night of partying cannot be described. Camping areas and trails were well organized and the freely available water was a nice slap in the face to other festivals where you had to pay 50 bucks to maintain your hydration.
The main stage was a monster – a great place for any musician to play, and one they all seemed to love. The electro tent could have been described as an industrial facility, with smokers happily puffing away (inside the tent!) as everyone squeezed themselves in to get a listen of the EDM. The Red Bull speakers were incredible as usual, with the bass at the back of the tent still palpable.
The beach bar was a great advert for Mainstay, and the perfect place for all the jocks to remove their shirts and tense their abs for a couple hours. As you arrived on the beach you actually were deceived into believing the weather suddenly was warm.
The food court was great with every option one could hope for. I must make special mention of Knead and Hudson’s burger joint as two places I was very excited to see. Finally, next year, make sure you try one of these crepes. From fudge and Nutella to savoury, this place had it all. Furthermore, touches like free coffee and chill tents with crayons were just a few more things that made this festival stand out.
There were so many great bands who performed out of their socks that it wouldn’t be fair to mention just a few. I will rather opt for the safer option of commenting on our headline acts.
Koan Sound played at midnight on Friday – an incredibly aggressive but vibey set of bass music tore through the crowd. Extremely enjoyable for any that appreciate this sawtooth rich form of moombah, and probably the main reason complaints of back pain were rampant throughout the campsite the next morning 🙂
Bloc Party came on at 11 or so on the Saturday night. This was the band everyone had been waiting for. Unfortunately, the consensus was one of disappointment. The sound quality seemed muffled, vocals less impressive than expected, and there was a general lack of enthusiasm about the set.
My opinion, possibly haze induced, differed. Memories of friends smiling and dancing, the beauty of the rain and fireworks, and the tightest execution of any drumming performance I’ve seen made it all worth my while. We will all always remember “This Modern Love” though. Incredible hearing it live.
Activities of all sorts were available, so no one could ever feel bored. From drumming with Hemporium to watching short films in the Shnit theatre there was something for everyone.
Two other points worth noting were the number of animal hats! Every direction you looked, people were wrapped up in a couple of layers sporting beanies in shapes ranging from koalas to huskies. Another quirk of the festival was the constant shouting of “Alan, Alan… Steve!” If you were lost on this one, check out this video from a couple of years back that somehow went viral for the festival.
We eventually made it through the rain early on Sunday morning to wake and pack up and were greeted with a departure nightmare. We took an hour to leave the car park, only to arrive at another queue on the road. Thankfully, a final bat seemed to get us through this last stretch of the weekend. In poor taste, Rocking the Daisies twitter account tried to shift the blame for the poor departure plans on an incredible Glaceau Vitamin Water and Synergy Live marketing campaign. After spending an hour in traffic to be greeted by smiles, a drink and a pamphlet, you know where your next dollars on festival tickets will be spent!
Overall a great weekend away in every respect. Daisies once again impressed with it’s growth from year to year, and has become an even slicker and more diverse operation. One can only wait to see what next year has in store.
Thank you Rocking the Daisies 2012!