This past weekend I attended RAMFest 2010 in Johannesburg. It’s the first time in the 4 year RAMFest history that the music festival had a Johannesburg show. The RAMFest 2010 festival was held over 3 days near Worcester in the Western Cape province on the weekend of the 26th of February. Considering that the Johannesburg festival was only scheduled for a single day tickets were not overpriced (R100 at Computicket or R150 at the gate). Gates opened at 12 noon on the 6th of March 2010 for Johannesburg festival goers.
We found parking quite easily in the parking area at Emmerentia dam and proceeded to the gate of the festival at 12:30 in the afternoon. Entry to the festival went fairly quickly since we arrived at the right time and the cues were not long at all. As we walked in to find a spot on the lush green banks of the venue we were greeted to the sounds of Wrestlerish. Their soothing sounds were the perfect backdrop for setting up our sunny spot (since all the shady spots under the trees had been taken). Being from Pretoria and used to humidity and heat I was surprised to find that Johannesburg can get hot as well (and I’ve currently got the sunglass and arm tan to prove it). After a quick trip to the RAMFest bar to find refreshments to help cope with the heat The Sick Leaves appeared on stage. The band provided the perfect background music for festival goers streaming in through the gates. Next up was Isochronous. I was completely impressed with the passion and intensity that this Pretoria-based band displayed on stage. Their unique sound soon attracted a few festival goers to the front of the stage. They were absolutely brilliant. After a quick lunch (courtesy of the same Burger Express stand which is famous at the Oppikoppi festival) and another trip to the bar I retired to the grass bank till the end of the Isochronous set. After running into an old Pretoria friend we proceeded to the front of the stage to find a nice spot to watch Bellville rockers aKING. They proved to be a crowd favorite as festival goers flocked to the front of the stage. aKING played songs from both their albums. Soon they had the growing RAMFest crowd singing loudly along to their tunes.
This video is an excerpt of the aKING performance at RAMFest 2010:
After aKING it was Jack Parow’s turn on the RAMFEst stage at Emmerentia dam. Unfortunately I missed this performance almost completely due to standing in a half an hour cue at the bar (which apparently almost ran out of alcohol at 16:30 in the afternoon). After handing over my old Pretoria friend’s cigarettes to him and obtaining a six pack from the bar we proceeded back to the stage to find a spot for the performance by Afrikaans Electro sensation Die Heuwels Fantasties. It was the first time that I’ve seen them performing in daylight (they performed at night time at Oppikoppi 2009 Smoorverlief). They soon got the crowd dancing and singing along to their songs. Die Heuwels Fantasties expressed extreme passion and intensity in their performance. I nearly got goosebumps when the crowd started singing along to their hit song Leja. The finished up their set with their hit song Pille Vir Kersfees which had the crowd jumping up and down. Die Heuwels Fantasties were definately one of the highlights on the day (in this blogger’s opinion).
This video is an excerpt of the performance by Die Heuwels Fantasties at RAMFest 2010:
After Die Heuwels Fantasties the crowd were treated to the hardcore sound of The Narrow. Seeing the front section of the crowd engage in one of the most intense moshing sessions in South African musical history and hearing the 10,000 strong crowd sing along to Lonely Lonely made the day a most memorable one. The Narrow are truly one of the best live acts in South Africa. Their heavy set was the perfect backdrop to a beautiful Johannesburg sunset. The Narrow proved to be one of the most popular acts at the Johannesburg RAMFest 2010 show.
This video contains an excerpt of the performance by The Narrow at RAMFest 2010:
After The Narrow set and a well-deserved sitting break we moved to the middle of the crowd to catch a glimpse of BOO! in action. It has been 6 years since I’ve seen BOO! perform live. They have definately not lost their touch. On stage Chris Chameleon proclaimed “I will not move to New Zealand to hang out with Jurie Els because I don’t like New Zealand” which resulted in laughter echoing amongst the crowd. At this stage someone also decided to puncture a bean bag which resulted in the crowd tossing it around and sending polystyrene bits flying. BOO! got the crowd dancing to their unique combination of sounds (generated by the trumpet player and Chris Chameleon voice). After seeing them perform at RAMFest 2010 I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re also one of the best live acts in South Africa. After BOO! we took a break, lying on the grass on the side of the RAMFest stage. Next up was the Cape Town based band Lark. Their unique hardcore electronic / rocky sound got the crowd into a frenzy. Inge Beckmann’s voice echoed over the grounds and was an excellent backdrop for a nice rain-free evening in Johannesburg. Lark got the crowd going as well. After Lark it was the turn of British / Australian electronic sensation Pendulum (who performed at more than 20 music festivals worldwide in 2009). They electronic breakbeat sound got the crowd jumping up and down. The RAMFest crowd were treated to an excellent laser light spectacular combined with absolutely brilliantly mixed electronic tunes. Feeling a little old for this we left about halfway through their set to retreat to our humble abodes.
This video was taken as Pendulum were making their way onto the stage at RAMFest 2010:
In retrospect, the first ever Johannesburg RAMFest was absolutely awesome, despite the long bar and portapotty cues. Maybe this could become a yearly thing on the Johannesburg musical calendar. The crowd of more than 10,000 was the biggest crowd ever to attend a performance or festival at Emmerentia dam.
Here are a few photos taken at the festival:
More photos from RAMFest 2010 in Johannesburg will be uploaded in the coming weeks.
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