Ramfest Cape Town: A Day of Thunder Review,11.03.12

2012 sees Ramfest celebrate their 6th festival in Cape Town. After the news broke that the festival would no longer be a 3 day event but rather a 1 day party, it would be an understatement to say that, Capetownians were pissed off. After much ranting and raving on the Ramfest event and Facebook page, the concert tour continued with its 1 day recipe; that being 1 day, same ticket price = more expensive international bands. This year was my 4th Ramfest event and although I was also saddened that it was no longer a 3 day festival, I was open to trying out a 1 day – “Don’t knock it until you try it” and all that. So yesterday lunch time I hopped in my car and drove up the N7 to explore the ‘new’ Ramfest concept.

Held on the Ostrich Farm just outside Cape Town on the N7, a popular venue for numerous other events, it was a pleasure to arrive at a venue so close to home. It was a 33 degree day but because the venue was so nearby, I wasn’t feeling half-baked before I’d even arrived. There was ample parking space, efficient ticket handlers and helpful security – this DOES make a difference. I thought it was a bit cheeky that fun rides were available, this is a Synergy Festival concept, not usually facilitated at Ramfest – I think it should stay that way.

Many people suspected Ramfest would be a poor festival because it had changed to a 1 day but this was not the case. The infrastructure of the festival was good. There were more than enough toilets close to each dance floor. (After Oppikoppi, I will never take for granted having a loo near the action! No 2 kms walks around Ramfest – thank you!) There were pseudo water towers at the loos which allowed festival goers to wash their hands but to also cool themselves down. There were all the usual amount of food outlets but more importantly there was a massive beer tent and huge L shaped bar. I love that Ramfest is sponsored by Hunters because I’m usually forced to drink all sorts of other ciders at a festival that I don’t really enjoy. Nothing like an ice-cold Hunters on a beautiful hot Cape Town day! The problem with shade came in at the dance floors – there were none! This definitely impacted negatively on the festival as most people hid inside the beer tent to avoid the heat, which meant the bands didn’t have as much support as they could have had.

So, the new Ramfest concept: same price, better international bands, did they achieve this? I think so. The main stage was hosted by South African comic, Paul Snodgrass and our South African bands did kick ass – this we know. Awol Nation played just before sunset and did a really good job. The singer and drummer switched positions just before the end of the set which was fun to see. The next international was Netsky on the electronic music stage. Girls and boys alike highly anticipated Netsky’s set and went mad on the day to prove it. Accompanied by MC Darrison, Cape Town showed their love and Netsky felt it – as confirmed by this Twitter account later that night.

In Flames set the crowd into frenzy with their brand of metal, rocking the Ramfest audience into the night time darkness. It was fantastic to hear metal back in Cape Town and they had a really good sense of humour and welcoming tone – although they didn’t sound very Swedish! I thought they were American! None the less, they rocked and seemed to have had a good time as well. Infected Mushroom was the headlining act. They did a live drum n bass cover of the Foo Fighters’ Pretender which rocked. I was impressed to see them hanging out at the electronic stage to take in some of our local acts earlier on in the day. I love festivals as it allows people to watch bands or artists that they wouldn’t necessarily pay for in a club environment – this being a case in point. Although most psy-trance heads hate IM in Cape Town these days, the bottom line is that they’re an excellent live band. They really are worth the experience every few years or so.

Because of the crazy hot weather, the night couldn’t have been more beautiful. The main stage looked amazing with all its colourful lights and lasers piercing the pitch black night and there’s nothing better than live music. The fact that the electronic stage also closed before IM went on was a good move as it brought focus to one area and united the festival as a whole. Although rumour has it that Ramfest will return to a 3 day festival next year, those who stayed away this year still missed out. One thing is true: a one day festival does force patrons to actually watch music. At a 3 day festival so many people party on different schedules, resulting in heavy trips or hangovers, meaning that the focus is removed the from music. Although I didn’t manage to catch the whole set of any artist (I was too busy running around between the stages trying to take it ALL in) at no point was I away from the music. Although the impending Monday morning should have impacted on people’s willingness to party hard and stay out late, it didn’t seem to as the audience was still going strong after 11pm.

Thanks to Ramfest for trying to push the boundaries and providing a massive party once again, regardless of the format, it still rocked. Bring on 2013!

Rolling Stones Magazine took some photographs, tag yourself HERE: Or find yourself on the Thunda site HERE:

Special shout out has to go to SFR and the crowd who sent Hyphen sailing during Niskerone’s set!

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