Rocking In The Gardens


When Rocking the Daisies comes to Johannesburg, it finds itself on the soil of the Emmarentia gardens, where its hits full bloom.

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The Rocking the… series, now in its 5th year, is one of South Africa’s premier eco-friendly music festivals. With its second instalment in Johannesburg, the ‘play hard, tread lightly’ event has turned green into the new black.

The festival took place over two colourful days on 9 and 10 October. Unfortunately Indie Does It was unable to have a correspondent attend the Rocking the Daisies event in Cape Town, so I will gladly share what went down at Rocking the Gardens, and I’m pretty sure Daisies was all this – times ten.


With an open mind and green attitude, I arrive on Saturday morning and am welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd enjoying drinks in the afternoon sun; the sweet sound of The Jack Mantis Band purifying the air. The line-up presented a selection of artists that juggled between some old school rock, reggae, pop, electronic and ska.

With two music stages, the variety was indisputable. The second stage aka the Botanic Beat Boutique offered entertainment by Sisco, Kriger, Kid Fongue, El Gordo and Joint Nation. The main stage on the other hand, my place of refuge, rocked out with the likes of Rambling Bones, Newtown, Wrestlerish, Tidal Waves and more.

The Dirty Skirts burst onto stage with their splendid ‘Homewrecker’, swooping the crowd off their lazy asses and into a dance mojo trance. Jesse Clegg was another one to impress, with his soppy pop rock tunes frequently heard on radio. Of course Zebra and Giraffe were there doing what they do best – stealing the hearts of young girls – I mean making beautiful sonic progressions of electro rock.

The night ended with headliners, New Young Pony Club.  Never having heard of the UK based five-piece, I had no idea what to expect. The group looked like something out of the 90’s, from performance to attire. Their sound was a blend of disco mixed with high energy pop. Not really my cup of tea, but certainly compelling in its own right, with a performance truly epic in both scale and execution. They were without a doubt entertaining to watch and the clouds that rolled in shrouding the evening sky only added to the display.

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One thing is sure about this music event, anything and everything is completely out of the ordinary.

For the ladies, the Levi’s Daisy Den offered a break from all the festival madness, with a place to chill out on lazy ottomans. The Den provided ladies with private bathroom facilities while Guervo Gold served tantalizing margaritas. Exclusive ladies brand Ava was also there to pamper ladies, treating them to fashionable manicures and pedicures.


Rocking the Daisies Music Festival has always had a focus on balance, by promoting the ethos of sustainability. The enterprise won the award for Small and Medium Business Sector at this year’s inaugural Climate Change Leadership Awards. This recognises them as leaders in climate change issues and honours their participation in the attempt to combat global warming.

Over the weekend a number of initiatives took place into order to promote the green lifestyle. The Green Market offered craft stalls that sold a number of handmade goods, many made out of recycled materials. If you were one of the lucky few to have registered your ticket purchase with Nokia, you would have been seen strutting your free hemp T-shirt round the gardens in ultimate eco-conscious style (or just overjoyed to have a free T-shirt that says Rocking the Gardens on it.)

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Nokia also held a recycling campaign, in which they collected old and unused cellphones and chargers for safe recycling. As part of the initiative, Nokia agreed to plant one tree for every 20 devices they collected. Last year, it was noted that the organisers planted an average of 222 trees.

Final word

Amid all the live entertainment, the ultimate goal was creating awareness for greening living. Whether this message was successfully recognized by the thousands of people that walked the grounds over the weekend is doubtful. Nonetheless all constituent parts of the festival came together to such great effect that its initial purpose contributed to the end result.

After a great weekend of all things green, there are three things I’m sure of:

  • Music is the universal language of mankind
  • Rocking the Gardens is a hippie’s paradise
  • And New Young Pony club stole the show!

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