Waking up on Saturday morning I experienced two firsts; waking up earlier than 7am on a Saturday morning without setting an alarm, and waking up at a festival without a hangover.
I bee-lined to the showers thinking that I’d beat the queue but yoh, some of these Dazers know how to early bird. The queue was stupidly long. And the shower was ice — let’s just say that it was the first time in months that I abided to the 2-minute shower rule.
Returning to the campsite already significantly more abuzz than my rising, we gathered around plug points to charge phones and trade war stories from the night before.
I pretended to ignore the wind and made my way to the beach to get my hands dirty for the Beach Co-op’s beach clean-up.
I regretted it the second I stepped onto the beach. Holding a clipboard and taking notes towards scientific research mid gale force wind is all work and no play. But I just kept thinking about all the good karmic points I was building up for saving the penguins.
The beach bar was a lituation, with a strong herd of Bokke supporters gathering to watch the final. I stuck around long enough to sing the national anthem and felt I’d done my due diligence as a South African to wish our boys well.
As much as I believe South Africa needed the win, something to be proud of again, I really didn’t like that the game had so many people missing the music. Hello Dazers, music festival happening over here?
The best thing to happen to the Vans B-side Stage since L.A. Witch was Orah & the Kites.
Lord Jesus those ladies can sing. I’ve seen their sound and setup take many shapes before, but I’d never seen them play with a full band. Kieron Brown (Bam Bam Brown) joined them on bass, Giovanni Serci (Rudimentals) on drums, Tristan de Beer (who recently launched his project — Face) on guitar.
The harmonies, the instrumentation, the message behind the lyrics. Ntokozo Mzimela, keyboardist and lead vocalist for OTK, called up Mikhaela Faye (Floors Live), Helen Wells (Hyroine) and Sarah Farrell for their final performance, “A Woman Cloaked in Thunder”, an ode to women.
It goes down as one of the festival’s most meaningful moments for me, some pretty powerful stuff! The audience was fired up by the end of their set.
Dreams of a whizzer by the beach bar were quickly shattered upon arrival, as they’d shut it down shortly after the game. Seriously guys, whose idea was that?
The wind had died down, the sun was out in full force, and the campsites were empty. Between the Main Stage, the bars, and the beach, jollers were jolling, with no hungover Dazer left behind.
The Sun Xa Experiment took to the Main Stage as mid-afternoon peaked. In their signature body paint and traditional African outfits, they slayed song after song. The entire rhythm section shared a single brain, rolling through the set in tribal synch. Buyisiwe Njoko’s vocals echoed as if we were indoors and commanded attention.
By the end of their set, she had everyone chanting, “Sun Xa Experiment” on repeat – right after she scolded all of us for not being able to “Xa” better. Also, can someone give Karolo More (dancer) a raise? The man’s got moves! He was incredible. And they were majestic!
I embarked on a serious mission to recruit every Dazer I possibly could, demanding them not to miss Mabuta’s upcoming set.
My heart was beating triple time when I saw SAMA award-winning bassist and composer, Shane Cooper, walking onto stage with the rest of Mabuta. But their audience was dismal. Clearly not enough Dazers knew what sort of music royalty they were actually sleeping on.
Everyone who was hip enough to be there for their set was treated to some of the finest instrumental electronic-world-music-meets-jazz I’ve ever heard, nay, experienced.
My favourite moment was when Cooper announced, because they only had ten minutes left, that they’d play a 12-minute-long song. Every member in the band has mad chops, but Bokani Dyer’s keyboard solos especially caused a stirring in my loins.
Technically, they were the band to beat.
I’m not sure if it was the heat or if I was just that shook by Mabuta’s genius, but either way I needed to take a break.
Eventually, with hearts and drinks to the brim, many of us made our way to the beach for round two of Mother Nature’s sunset performance. Strewn along the pathway leading to the beach, we were basically cheering Her on. But this time all we got was a disappointing disappearance behind the clouds. You really didn’t need to be there.
What the darkness brought was a heaviness in the air. Thick, palpable anticipation for the fretted farewell of the year — Medicine Boy’s final set. Ever.
Every song they’d ever written, every gig they’d ever played, and every emotion they’d ever expressed built up to this moment.
Andre Leo and Lucy Kruger chose their words wisely. Accompanied by the Last Light Ensemble, a selection of musicians who’d played different roles in Medicine Boy’s musical history, their music had never carried more weight. For music as widely known as theirs, there was little singing along. Hezron Chetty — songwriter, mad violinist and friend — was part of the MB army. A general with high ranking, who will soon be bidding South Africa adieu for European adventures — played with a painfully cutting honesty.
Leo ended off the set by popping a bottle of bubbly and passing it around the stage. He introduced the members of the Last Light Ensemble, as they collected stage front. They’d barely taken a bow before the audience erupted in unforgettably thunderous applause. We all cried sad tears, and we all cried happy tears and the makeup was flowing steadily. And just like that, it was all over.
Dazers zombied from the Main Stage in a stunned stupor. Shit had just gotten real! We felt raw and emotional, and we desperately needed a top up.
The moment I’d been holding out for had come and gone, subsequently blowing my mind. The next moment was the moment I surrendered to the jol, because after that set, what else could I do?
Perhaps the Bokke’s win played a hand in it, but Day 2 at Endless Daze belonged to the South African musos hands down! And while I don’t have another Endless Daze experience to compare it to, the diversity in this year’s line-up successfully catered, with quality, to a very diverse bunch of attendees.
Much love ED. I’ll be back for sure and you ain’t gotta ask me twice.