In Review: Cotton Fest 2020

The one and only Boss Zonke is characterised by his flamboyant and fashion-forward sense of style, his brilliant bangers “Sidlukotini”, “Buy It Out” and “Stay Shining” to name but a few, and his taste for the finer things in life.

And in a society saturated with and dictated by the trappings and curation of social media feeds, the bar for events in SA continues to be set higher and higher, sometimes with unrealistic expectations.

But let me tell you, what expectations Cotton Fest had set in 2019, they smashed with a Beyoncé circa Lemonade baseball bat.

The doors opened on time (Global Citizen Festival at FNB Stadium didn’t even do that), the security was airtight at all entrances, the tag system and processing was efficient, the team on deck were courteous yet firm and most importantly, the line-up brought its A-Game with 100 acts across three stages.

Reason abandoned the stage halfway and decided to create a mosh pit and tear it up with the crowd around him, Costa Titch and Dee Koala almost blew the floor under VIP on the Rage In The City stage. Emtee, Yanga and K.O. also had stand out performances and their crowds agreed, with some of the most enthusiastic responses of the day.

But the night belonged to Riky Rick who was determined to not be out-performed and pulled out all the stops that smelt like a world class performance.

Choir renditions of “Nafukwa” and “Sidlukotini” alongside Riky’s live band added another dimension of intense power and feeling to songs we’ve heard become so used to hearing over the years.

A moment of silence of Riky’s first-time-seen-in-SA, elevated moving stage that had us all with our jaws on the floor, marvelling in how that thing even worked. The level of energy in that station was enough to power the city for the next five years! I joke but wow do we need that energy thanks for fokkol Eskom.

From year one to year two, Riky Rick’s Cotton Fest more than doubled in attendance, and with over 10 000 people jolling at The Station, I think it’s safe to say that he pretty much shut Newtown down.

It’s an impressive feat to say the least but with its slick operation and even slicker line-up, Cotton Fest is on its way to becoming a powerhouse event that elevates SA hip hop culture whilst bringing both new and established artists along for the ride.