Dazed & Confused

Trying to make sense of the Endless Daze Festival in Silwerstroomstrand

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photographs: Nick Gordon

The lead guitarist for Bilderberg Motel and an organisor of his very own micro-festival, RestFest, made the following public service announcement the week before Psych Night & Vans presents Endless Daze Festival:

“I quite often have friends who aren’t actively out there taking in gigs asking me to turn them onto good local bands. Well this weekend there’s a plethora of them all in one place. From the majestic dirty magic of Sannie Fox’s African-hued blues to the brilliance and quirk of Bye Beneco. The jaw dropping beauty of Medicine Boy’s songwriting and soundscapes sharing the same space as the sonic genius of Bateleur. The sexy surf rock of The Deathrettes all the way to the mad scientist genius of Felix Laband. The technical flamboyance of Mr. Cat & the Jackal and the all encompassing artistry and creative involvement that is a BCUC show. AND that’s not even half of the acts on offer. AND they’ve tossed in a couple of foreigners for good measure. Seriously, if you like music make a turn that way. It’s close, it’s on the beach, it’s cheap. I’m not sure what else one needs out of life.”

And so thanks to Sean Gibson’s recommendation we decided to have a flutter. And why not? With live music venues closing down, the proliferation of DJs over instrument-based music, and it being all of five-weeks since our last festival experience, TWoU headed to Silwerstroomstrand at 9am last Saturday morning to see what all the hype was about. 

The only other person at registration gave us a smile, took our names and then handed us our wrist bands. A process that took all of two minutes. In fact, the only line we ever saw was for the tote bag workshop where we were able to get our choice of artwork by the likes of Ninja Bread Boy, Jade Klara, Simon Berndt, Ian Jepson and Amor Coetzee printed onto a bag, which was then filled with a lucky-packet of Vans merch.

The captive audience waiting here was the perfect opportunity for the drunkest guy at the festival to explain his state of inebriation to everyone within earshot. Describing how after he’d woken up with a tick sucking on his neck and a girl who wasn’t his girlfriend breathing in his face, his Oliver Peoples sunglasses snapped in half, his only option was to start drinking again.

“That’s why I’m so pissed now. What’s that, water? Hell's teeth. They serve water in jail. Have a proper drink, man.”

Those who hadn’t started partying again were nursing hangovers and talking in voices that sounded as if they’d been gargling eggshells. Going by their descriptions of the night before, even though everyone really enjoyed Froth, BCUC was the highlight of the evening. Otherwise it was simply about joining hundreds of others on the dance floor and then bobbing up and down to fuzzy distortion and trippy lazer lights while pouring good times over one another like champagne.

Waving around a tin of craft beer in a plastic pink chalice, Mavuso was engaged in several conversations at the same time, one of which was to parry Jame’s running monologue comparing the screenprint activation to toastie ovens.

James: Let's go line up for a cheese and tomato tramezzini. 

Mavuso: That’s the sixth time that you’ve said that.

James: So you don’t want a tramezzini? Bladdy Warren crying this morning about having to do his activation. Why do I care? I don’t have to do an activation. I can get pissed. I couldn’t actually get any more pissed. And it’s bladdy 9 o'clock in the morning. What else am I supposed to do? I know, I’m going to activate another beer!

Mavuso: Well I’m going to sit here, look cute and imagine that this is a mimosa that I’m drinking.

James: There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

And why would you want to be anywhere other than a festival where you can watch a band and then have them join you on the grass afterwards to catch the next one? A place where everyone knows your name, everything is working out great, and everyone is happy with how smoothly everything is running. With 1500 people present at a venue that has capacity for double that, Endless Daze was a very civilised affair, with spotless ablution blocks, more than adequate facilities and a laminated sign giving whoever caught anyone mistreating these nice things full permission ‘to moer the offending vandals’.

The dirt roads leading between the parking and the campsites and the stage were covered in waffle sole prints. Patrick from Vans said that all the acts received a care package when they arrived and that while it’s important to sponsor a big name rapper like Stilo Magolide, it’s as vital to support the up-and-coming acts too. 

Later that evening, fresh from a European tour and before playing a Leonard Cohen cover, Medicine Boy’s Andre Leo explained how because they never get booked to play any festivals he decided to make his own festival, and then invite all the bands that he wanted to watch to come and play with him.

Together with four friends, Andre started Psych Night five years ago, a platform for smaller experimental bands to showcase their sounds, and then invited internationals like Night Beats (2013), Golden Animals (2014), Allah-Las (2015) and the Black Lips (2015) to help grow the scene. Endless Daze is the first festival - featuring two more internationals Froth and The KVB – and the success of it is testament to the hard work and passion that everyone puts in.

Philip Kramer closed the festival playing as After Hours, and put together a mixtape featuring acts from the diverse lineup. There he explained how Psych Night is really more than music, and that it should be seen as a scene, a sub-culture, and more of a movement. Which we agree with – the festival was a safe space for like-minded individuals to meet and let their freak flags fly.

They met under the moonlight…

She had a white fur coat and skin that glowed and he had kind eyes and a few tins of cold beer that he carried with him in his parka. They both like Felix Laband and that was pretty much all they knew about one another as they swayed and swirled and flittered and pounced and everything melted into everything else, in a night that was magical and much-needed by the both of them.

He was having a hard time, going through customs he called it, and with the fear taking its hold he held onto a guide-rope at the far end of a stretch tent until she of the sea-green eyes untethered him. After she coaxed him into grabbing the goat, she saw to it that he was front and centre for the Kalahari Surfers set. He told her how the band was playing tracks that their frontman father had written back in the 80s, and she replied that the kids were wearing the same outfits that their parents had been married in. They liked each other even more after that exchange.

He had long hair and she’d shaved her head. She liked the way he moved on the dance floor and he told her that between a 1 and 10 she's an eleven. It’s not the first time she’d heard the joke, but she laughed anyway.

So, what’s the point? Is there anything more to this than the drinking, dancing, listening to music, and cheese and tomato tramezzini? Well, does there even have to be? Despite what some other festivals would have you believe, not everything is about finding a heightened sense of being, sometimes it's as simple as getting messed up with your friends and losing yourself to excess before checking back into reality come Sunday morning.

Lost in lazers and then much later sprawled out on a dune, it felt like we were a part of something great. Pioneers of sorts! The first to witness something special. Because if musicians are putting on the type of parties they want, instead of bitching about a lack of them, and in an age where so many forces seem to be working against the idea of making things simply for the sake of it, and instead of marketing to millennials they're exploring sound, executed in a way that's all about good vibes, then it’s essential that those who believe in this don’t lose hope.

Let the good times roll. Psych Night's Endless Daze Festival rocked.