Hey Gorgeous,I realise that our fling is over, but thinking back about our time together, I decided to write you this letter in love and appreciation. Our romance may have been brief, but it was hotter and dirtier than ever before. I miss our debaucherous nights and scorchingly passionate days.
We were on fire… apparently so were a few tents near the river. I hope you enjoy this letter as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Ramfest VI, I love you and I always will.
Everyone who attended Ramfest IV.
If we all had to write love-letters to Ramfest this year, I’m pretty sure they would all read something like this, so I thought I’d take the initiative.
I’m sure you would all agree that many comparisons can made between Ramfest and a rough weekend fling:
1) You end up sprawled on the ground on various occasions.
2) Alcohol is a necessity.
3) Clothing is not encouraged.
4) Protection must be worn at all times.
5) You are probably being filmed.
6) A few days later you realise you probably have to see a doctor about that.
So how did this savage romance begin this year? As these things normally do, it all started with a…
Having planned ahead, I had taken Friday the 26th of February off for one reason only: getting to Ramfest as early as I possibly could. However, people that know us Western folk well, also know that “early as we possibly could” is a very broad declaration and has little or no impact on our own version of reality.
I was awake first. Annoying, but being a habit there was not much I could do about it but make a list of things that needed to be done before we could go to Ramfest. A list just seemed like a very annoying thing to have to do, so not surprisingly I decided to wing it. I jumped in the car, and headed for the Somerset Mall – a place I very rarely venture to. I bought the Ramfest tickets at a computicket and realised that I really didn’t actually know what we needed besides that.
The first thing that came to mind was clothes, so I headed to JayJay’s and acquired myself two super-cool t-shirts. The only thing I could think of besides that was mouth wash, so another purchase was made. I rounded off my extravagant shopping experience with a hearty Wimpy breakfast, and feeling quite pleased with myself I headed home to check what the bro’s were up to.
When I arrived home Nick and Eagleheart were (surprisingly) awake. Apparently Phil was the culprit, as he had arrived in desperation to look for his missing wallet. His mission seemed to be going a bit better than mine, seeing as they were planning on leaving a good hour or two before us. Did they manage it? Yeah they did. An hour or two later, we were ready for action as well. The car was (overly) packed and we were off! We had a few stops to make around the Helderberg but not much later we were heading down the R44 towards one of our favourite weekends of the year.
We made a quick detour into Stellenbosch to pick up our regular co-roadtripper, the beautiful Caitlin Jayne, and about an hour later we were in Worcester. It was about 2pm, and scorching. Arriving at Nekkies, we found the campsite already overflowing with tents. We were greeted by the welcome sight of Phil ‘Grizzly’ Joubert with a beer in his hand and word that they saved us a spot for our tent near theirs. Saying “spot” doesn’t really convey the true essence of the size of this tent. I’ve seen smaller houses. The Eiffel Tent is truly a marvel; loads of thanks to Loki’s dad for letting us use it.
We unloaded the car and headed down to inspect our place of residence for the next few days. It was the perfect size, and together with the Heldervue boys and their women we had the start of a little tent community going. Not much later, the rest of the troops arrived in the shape of some of the Wild West girls: Zoe, Roliza, Jen, Tessa and Mieke, followed closely by the always cool Scott ‘I-Like-To-Party’ Murray. We were also surprised by the arrival of Mone, one of our very good friends that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like. We love you, Mone! Our community was complete, and the partying commenced almost immediately.
Julian, Fourie and Phil left to do their sound check around 4, and by the time they got back to the campsite there was time to re-fill our drinks and to head to the main stage. It was time for Ramfest to officially open…with Heldervue.
Needless to say, they were fantastic. By the time their set was done, I was sure my voice was already damaged from singing along so we decided to head to the tents for cooler pastures, and to make sure we were ready for the next bands we wanted to support. I also bumped into the lovely duo of Tecla and Alice, much to my delight!
This is where things get a little hazy. Obviously with “a little hazy” I mean that I am going to try my best to remember the events between Heldervue’s set and Sunday morning. Bare with me.
The next band I remembered seeing was Kidofdoom. I’ve heard many good things about them from friends who are avid fans (whose opinions I trust) like Liam Lynch and Lize Kay, so they were definitely on my “must see” list. They were really great. It is very strange seeing a full band on stage with NO vocals that rock that hard. If any of you ever get the opportunity, take it. You won’t be disappointed.
Somewhere during Kidofdoom I also ran into Sarah from The Ragdolls fame. If you haven’t this girl sing, you haven’t lived. Yeah, The Ragdolls are that cool. In any case, a little note that Sarah made on my arm with a permanent marker told me everything I needed to know: “The Ragdolls. Saturday 1pm. Be There. Love, The Pope”. It was a good thing as well, because I treated the inscriptions that appeared on my arms like the guy in Memento did with his photographs – as a substitute for memory. I needed all the help I could get. Omega was also there, and it was good to officially introduce myself after being in contact on facebook a few times.
The rest of the night was a blur; all I know is that at some point during the night I was stricken with a sun-enduced headache like I’ve never had before. I decided that sleep was a good option. That, and a bottle of Cream Soda that was floating about the campsite. Did I mention that we also stayed to watch the UK group Johnny Foreigner? I’ll give them one more go if I come across them again, but they really didn’t impress me at all.
Most of my friends were M.I.A. at this point, but I didn’t care. I drifted off to a peaceful night of… not getting much sleep at all. During the night, Caitlin and Jen plonked themselves down on either side of me and both proceeded to talk in their sleep for the remainder of the sleeping hours. I’m not one to speak though, because being a snorer of much vigour, I am strictly forbidden from judging other people’s sleep behaviour. Did I mention I also had someone’s knee embedded into my ribs? Yeah. Embedded. At some point I also remember Phil and Jess yelling at some annoying girl who was bitching and moaning outside the tent about…nothing much of significance, really. They made short work of her so that we all could sleep further, in “peace”.
I woke up very early. Ian was relatively awake as well (surprisingly) after also having had a rough night. We decided to go exploring, so we headed in the direction of the main stage, which is where we found Zoe and Roliza still partying their asses off at the Electro Tent. Troopers!
Ian and I then decided to go down to the river – what good is being around nature if you can’t see the sunrise decently? We went and chilled next to the river until the sun was up. Many discussions later we headed back to the campsite where we discovered Zo and Ro, who had returned from their adventures and were both still wide awake. Relatively.
We were also joined by Ian Conchar. It was good to know that if we lost one Ian, at least we would already have a spare. We did promise Ian that we would replace him with a black guy though, because that would be the only way he could be cooler: “I’m a internet marketer, yo! Damnnnn!” (I blame The Hangover for this insanity)
Ian seemed a little worse for wear at this point so he headed up to my car, where Nick was sleeping for some extra shut-eye. I stayed awake filming for a while before deciding to jump on the sleep wagon.
What felt like twenty seconds later I was awake again and ready to take on the day, until I took a step into the blazing sunlight and I nearly caught fire. Honestly, it was pretty close. Apparently, Worcester is located about five-hundred meters from the surface of the Sun and/or Hell.
I have never seen a group of people collectively move this slowly and shy away from sunlight this enthusiastically. The next few hours were spent recovering and chilling, with Scott providing bacon, egg and cheese burgers for breakfast… which very likely saved my life. We all decided that the river was a good idea, and armed with our vices we headed towards the bustling river where Griet‘s Voodoo Beach Party was in full swing. It was great! The river water was refreshingly cool and the drum & bass was pumping loudly. Hangovers lifted, there was nothing left to do but to carry on.
Remembering my date with The Ragdolls, so Nick and I headed down towards stage. We decided to check out the UniJunction deck, which Promotional Models – under the supervision of the lovely miss Samantha Tunnah – were promoting. We also bumped into a friend Shanine, who was helping out with the promotions.
The deck was pretty cool. It provided us with seating, shade and a bar… the holy trinity of a festival daytime mission. We were also provided with some Bioplus sweets, which came in very handy in surviving the rest of the day!
Drink in hand, we sat back and enjoyed Sarah’s amazing vocals. The Ragdolls are going places! (Some of you might remember that I mentioned them in a post a few weeks ago)
Anyway, Nick and I decided to go exploring again. but we didn’t get far. As soon as we left the deck we ran into Phil, Julian and Jessie. They were hiding in shade next to the sound deck, and everyone’s favourite drunk-punks, Half-Price,were just starting.
Half-Price have been going for quite a long time, but surprisingly they were another band I just never managed to witness live. They performed one or two songs a few years ago at Hidden Cellar, just before Japan & I (if I remember correctly) but due to sound problems they left the stage without playing a single song. I really enjoyed their Ramfest set though…very awesome. It’s good to see a local group that lives up to punk sentimentality. Party, party, party. One of their more zany songs pretty much just had them repeating the words “Columbian Cocaine! Russian Vodka!” over and over. It was hilarious and very entertaining.
From here, we headed back to the camp site… and I had some much needed R&R. I expected to sleep an hour or so, but when I eventually awoke, a good 3-4 hours had passed me by. This was the first bit of decent sleep that I’d had, so I felt a bit more energised. Then sun had also set so the air was amazingly cool.
The excitement layering the air thick throughout the campsite was tangible. Saturday night had one of the most insane band line-ups in Ramfest, and possibly even South African history. Am I exaggerating? If you were there, you wouldn’t disagree.
The first band I saw as we arrived was Taxi Violence. As always, they rocked like men possessed. George van der Spuy is one of those frontmen that just gets the crowd moving. That, and they hired that guy that fires sparks at the crowd. Always a winner, especially since at that point , eight thousand people were in the perfect state of mind to go “Oooh! Sparks!”. While we’re on the topic, have you seen their music video for Devil & Pistol? Watch it now!
After the fantastic Taxi Violence it was time for Isochronous. Wow. These guys had quite a hype to live up to, with various sources ranting and raving about how brilliant these guys are… and they were spot on. I was just amazed at how young they were. Doesn’t it usually take people years to produce an original sound and vibrant, energetic performance like that? They were rock solid on stage and somehow they just seemed… free? I know that sounds crazy, so maybe ‘liberated’ is a better word. I don’t know. All I do know is don’t miss these guys in action.
It was around this time that we were joined by Marius, a welcome addition to the posse for the night. Most of us scattered into different locations (or were lost) but me Ian, Marius and Nick stuck together. We bumped into Tecla at some point as well, but it’s all a blur. Everything except the music.
Next up was the always-good Die Heuwels Fantasties. This was one of my favourite performances by them so far, and Jack Parow (who apparently had a bit of a rough set the morning) was on form for “Die Vraagstuk” as well. Big ups… you guys rocked.
Third up was Lark. If you haven’t heard of Lark or never seen Lark perform live, then I hang my head in shame on your behalf. Inge Beckmann along with Paul, Fuzzy and Mr. Sakatumi are masters of their craft. Inge Beckmann is a goddess on stage. There is not much I can say about them, except… wow. Look out for their “V” tour. They will be performing at Klein Libertas and Assembly soon, and then somewhere in Johannesburg and Pretoria as well. Facebook knows all!
The next band were South African music legends Boo! I remember listening to Chris Chameleon and his stark raving mad band years ago on Barney Simon’s Night Zoo (I miss that the Zoo… who remembers Uncle Paul’s Bedtime Stories?) and I’ve always loved them. Then, Chris decided to star in a soapie or two and even turn to performing cheesy Afrikaans songs. I’m not sure what spawned the change, but Boo! was back and in top form. Chris, once again stepping into his drag and high heels, had the most insane vocal range I have ever heard in my life. He might not be human; I wouldn’t be able to tell. Who cares, they were awesome! For those of you hoping to see them live soon, I have a bit of bad news though. Yes, they will be back with a brand new album and a new look but that is also the bad news. We were the last group of people ever to see them perform as the “old” Boo! … in Mr. Chameleon’s own words. No matter, though, I am sure their next incarnation will be equally fantastic. In the meanwhile, get those Hot Tub Time Machines ready, go back in time and get yourself the “Pineapple” album. I know I did. My Delorean knows no limits… Great Scott!
Last up was Pendulum. It was only the DJ and the frontman from Pendulum, but they brought the house down. Imagine a few thousand people, all dancing like possessed lunatics, lasers firing overhead, the incredible, incredible music almost deafening. Listen out for their new single entitled “Vulture” . One part I distincly remember was when they sampled the intro to “The Final Countdown”, and just as it broke down it changed to the most ear-splitting dubstep I’ve ever heard in my life. It was both the most horrendous and the most beautiful sound I’ve ever laid ears upon. I can’t explain it any better than that unfortunately. After Pendulum were done we headed back to the tent and passed out in exhaustion. My legs were on fire. My life was on fire.
Pretty soon, Sunday was on fire as well. It was 42 degrees in Worcester, and we were already burnt to a crisp and hung over. While most parties decided that chilling in the shade was a good idea, I took a walk down to the main stage, meeting up with Sterling Trimby, Thandi Holtzhausen and Carina. We sat in the shade and watched 7th Son, and they were not what I expected. Very South African; very cool. They did a really interesting cover of “Kids” from MGMT.
Around this time I decided that we would have to try and head homewards, but there was still a lot to do. I headed back to camp, where nothing much had changed except that Fourie and the other boys were ready to leave. The next thing I knew it was only the tripod (being myself Ian and Nick) and the gang of WildWest girls left. Did I mention the girls partied through the night again? They like to party.
The next hour was spent taking down The Eiffel Tent- biggest tent in the world. Every ten minutes we would pour water all over ourselves because being soaking wet was the only way to survive in the blistering sun. I even had a towel over my head which lead to inevitable Arab jokes. But I can take it.
What felt like forever later, the cars were packed. The girls had been chilling under a tree waiting for us, so we decided to take one last dip in the river before making trails. We stormed down and I decided to jump in clothes-and-all. The return trip would be a lot more pleasant, soaking wet…
So here I am on a Wednesday afternoon, just finishing this article. I mention this because I am still a broken man. My body is sore and my sunburn is peeling… I’ve seen better days.
The days of Ramfest. If it happened every weekend I’d die a happy man. On the other hand, that doesn’t say much about my life expectancy.
(Thanks to all the people who’s photos I stole)