Navigating a festival has many elements. Saving up for the day, getting there and the logistics of finding a place to stay for the weekend. Rocking the Daisies is an annual festival which personifies the acronym “YOLO” (you only live once). Boys and girls of all races are bathed in the Darling sunshine, feasting on music, food and drinks for three glorious days.
My festival companion has decided against joining me this year, so I was left to plan everything and find my way to the other side of the Western Cape. Although I have been to the Western Cape a million times before, I have never had to plan a solo trip in less than 24 hours, let alone attend a three-day festival all by myself.
With a small budget, no car and lots of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), I got on the cheapest bus to Cape Town, which arrived at 9 am the following morning – just in time for me to catch Day 2 of the festival. Post an agonizing 18-hour drive, which entailed four toilet breaks and superfluous drama from a drunk passenger, who was thrown off the bus in Bloemfontein at midnight.
I finally arrived in the Cape Town CDB, fatigued, famished and in a panic because I’d missed an entire day of fun. Unlike last year, the festival started on Friday instead of Thursday, which left me with just 24 hours to party up a storm. After consulting my GPS which read that my destination was an hour away, it dawned on me that this trip might have been a terrible mistake – but the reality was that I was already in the province and should make do with what I had – a ticket, tent and about R4 000.
I checked the internet to see if anyone was offering a lift to the festival, and found a shuttle service called Road Buddy Charters, which cost me only R350. I was chuffed at finding a shuttle service so reasonable, so it made sense to make a stop at the liquor store to spoil myself. Lord knows I deserved a drink. I jogged my memory to the bus trip the previous night and decided to add another bottle of gin. Why would anyone subject themselves to such nonsense?
However, I soon realised the stratospheric mess presented an opportunity for me to stretch a buck by sneaking my own alcohol into the festival, instead of spending copious amounts of money on every form of alcohol.
At this point, I was really pleased with myself for sticking to my tight budget. If I continued at this rate, I might have enough change to buy myself the cheapest flight back to Johannesburg. Excitement rushed through me as I got closer to the sleepy town that comes alive once a year. I announced my arrival on my social media pages and was soon welcomed by a shirtless old friend at the entrance and he basically embodied everything Rocking the Daisies was about, and more.
In no time, I was also caught up, bumping into old friends, making new ones and completely consumed by the music and glory of Rocking the Daisies. As Ralph Waldo would say, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
Tips to festivals
1. Book accommodation in off-peak seasons
2. Book travel in advance in case you have to make changes
3. Open a festival account to avoid running out of money4. Pack a mini-emergency medical kit