RAMfest 2014 Johannesburg: My Experience

I’ve been excited for this day since I started counting down the days on 187 days. The day has finally arrived, the day I’ve been waiting to come for about 7 years, the day I would see Biffy Clyro live on a stage right before my eyes!

Biffy 1

I already started packing everything I would need on the Wednesday morning, even though I was only leaving on Friday, and only sleeping there on the Saturday night. It made the dream real, okay? Friday morning I was already up at 3 AM packing the things into my car and then waited till 8 AM before I could leave to pick up a few friends who were going with me.

The day started out with us getting lost on our way to the RAMfest venue, but we finally arrived at Witfontein Farm near Bronkhortspruit. A muddy and wet farm awaited us as we drove in; we put our gumboots on and made our way to the stage area. The smell of freshly made burgers and bacon frying on the grill in the Burger Express cart made my taste buds tingle as I walked past. Beer was first on the list of things to do at RAMfest, as one does at festivals. As the cold Stellenbrau draught ran down the side of the glass, it all became a reality right then and there, I was actually at RAMfest.

On Friday all the bands I personally wanted to see was on the main stage, the whole reason I even was at RAMfest to start with. Biffy Clyro and Foals! We sat in front of the entrance from 13:15 waiting to go in to the main stage area and be in front for Biffy Clyro. They finally opened the area at 16:30 and we ran as if our lives depended on it, we made it to the front, right in the middle. We were going in front for one of my favourite bands in the world, in a mere couple of hour’s time.

The bands got things underway with at around 17:00 with UK act, Vuvuvultures, who put on a good platform for the other bands that were still to come. Off topic, they are an extremely good band to photograph. One of my favourite local bands at the moment were up next, Gangs of Ballet blew my mind! The modesty these guys put forward just makes them so much better. They are, according to me, one of the most talented bands currently on the scene. They also attract the hottest girls. Bonus.

ISO was the last band on stage before the main acts started. It was my first live performance that I saw, only hearing the songs on radio. They started off with a Pendulum cover that was so unexpected that my mouth fell open as I watched in awe what this band was busy doing right before my very eyes. They were amazing!

Foals were the first of the main acts to take the stage at RAMfest 2014. I am a huge fan of the music, although I have never been a fan of the band members at all. I feel that they always look like they don’t actually want to be there and just do it for the money, even though they do that so extremely well you don’t always see their douchebaggyness come through, but I am a live music lover that sometimes expect too much out of a live performance from a band of their stature on a much smaller stage than they are normally used to. The performance, musically, was excellent!


Biffy Clyro! The whole reason I went to RAMfest, the whole reason I’ve been excited for the past 5 months, the band I’ve been waiting to came to SA for the last 7 years were finally here! They brought up the drums an hour before the band was due to perform, it felt to me that they did that to make me wait in agony for the last hour before I could see them. I was not disappointed. They are hands down the best live band I’ve ever had the privilege to see live. The energy, the sound, the band members and the interaction with the crowd was just perfect. I can’t say anything bad about them. When the show was over, I was right in front scream like a madman, Ben Johnston looked me right in the eye, smiled and threw a drumstick right into my hands! BEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE!

Biffy 2

Saturday morning got underway with us leaving home again (Without getting lost this time) and arriving at a farm where by the looks of it there had been a war the previous night. Mud everywhere, cars stuck in the mud with the bonnet buried under the mud, people falling out of their tents to have a quick puke outside with people taking pictures. I felt back at home. Today was metal day! Killswitch Engage and Trivium was set to rock our faces off!

Pestroy had their very last show at RAMfest before going on a long hiatus. They sure made the best of it. They had people jumping around for a whole hour before saying their goodbyes and taking a picture with the crowd and then making way for a pumped up Trivium, ready to take the music to a whole new level! People were growling along to every song as the set went on. Killswitch Engage came on stage with some massive tunes and a general appreciation of the fact that they were in South Africa for the first time. Some of the band members even said that they felt honoured at the fact that they could be here and that they never thought that they would ever come to our country.


Killswitch Engage

Sunday morning came; hangovers were the main topic of discussion on the farm. I left the farm at around 9 AM and I couldn’t stop taking about Biffy. I told everyone that gave me 5 seconds of time how awesome they were and that I would sell some of my organs to see them live again. The road back home was a short one; we thought we were about 200 km’s away from home since we got lost the first day. Turns out that we were 55 km’s away from home. I felt dumb.

Lastly, big up’s to RAMfest for the most perfect timing I’ve seen in a long time. There was a time through the day where I thought that they would never have every band on the time they gave, but it was perfect timing. Every band was on at the exact time they said they would be on.

Thank you RAMfest for giving me the best weekend of my life and bringing one of my favourite bands to South Africa.

What was your experience? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading my review, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing is caring after all.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Ewald Cloete
I live Music. Sometimes watch Movies. Road Tripper. Photographer. Lover of life and living. Extreame OCD. Just call me Iron Man.
Ewald Cloete

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