When you think of music festivals, images of euphoric crowds, dazzling stage setups, and electrifying performances may come to mind.
However, beyond the beats and melodies lies a meticulously orchestrated business that powers these grand spectacles, the ever-growing creative sector in South Africa and beyond.
It is no secret that the global entertainment and music festivals industry took a hard knock following the global Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions on movement.
According to industry reports, the total losses faced by the industry were valued at $9 billion. As the world emerges from the challenging period of this pandemic, businesses are slowly and steadily returning to a sense of normalcy.
Hub for development
The sheer scale required to put on a festival such as Rocking the Daisies is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Apart from the 7 000 jobs created across professions and skills bases, the festival has grown into a vibrant financial ecosystem that spans across industries in the entertainment, logistics, food and beverage, technologies and innovations market. It is projected to rise in financial evaluations north of $150 million by 2027.
The popular festival hosted in the micro economy town of Darling, Western Cape transforms into a bustling hub for economic and skills development growth annually through this festival.
The festival requires many low-skill jobs such as security guards, crowd marshals, cleaners, lifeguards, food vendors and so many more. These are all opportunities that are directly and indirectly sourced from the community of Darling and the neighbouring wineland towns in the province.
Not only does the festival create direct employment for these underdeveloped communities, but they have in recent years inherently influenced the infrastructure development of the area.
Brands align with vision
In 2023, to ensure reliable network connectivity for festival goers and general security systems at the festival, fibre technologies have been installed at the festival grounds which will, in turn, upgrade the network reliability of the region as a whole.
“For us, putting on this festival spans further than just creating musical performances that are engraved into the minds of our attendees for years to come. It is about building a community that benefits from the 18 years and 18 more to come that we have put this on.
“It is about uplifting local artists, small businesses and partnering with brands that align with our vision to go even further with our aspirations” said Shannon Valster, head of entertainment and event production at Steyn Entertainment.
To bring to life the ever-growing Rocking the Daisies festival, brand partnerships play a crucial role to ensure the property can compete with the international festivals playing on the same level.
The reality for the South African market is that the cost of living simply does not allow the festival to place their ticket sales entry price points at a point that covers the enormous budgets required to put on the festival, let alone discuss profit margins.
To paint a clearer picture of the vigorous fund generation that has to take place, the perfect case study is looking at the artist bookings that take place.
In South Africa currently, the highest-paid artists charge an estimated R250 000.00 to perform on international stages, converting this to the international names that bring in the tens of thousands of attendees to Cloof Wine Estate each year takes that figure up to a whopping R4 350 000.00 per main stage artist.
So, for the festival and its organisers, brands that believe in its vision are an essential piece to the puzzle. The power of collaboration has been at the heart of reviving the festival over the past three years.
Global spirits maker, Diageo SA, heeded this call through ushering its iconic brands such as Johnnie Walker and Don Julio to the centrefold of assisting the resurgence of the sector and Rocking the Daisies in particular.
Keep the lights shining
Johnnie Walker is in its second year of being the headline sponsor the Rocking the Daisies festival and in doing so, has ensured the 22 000 light bulbs installed are kept shining bright all weekend long.
“As a global brand, Diageo is deeply committed to supporting music festivals as a means to foster not only unforgettable experiences but also to drive local economic growth and inspire cultural development,” Ssaid Natalia Celani, Diageo SA marketing director.
“We believe that music has the power to bring communities together, celebrate diversity, and ignite creativity. By investing in festivals, we aim to not only create memorable moments but also to leave lasting positive impacts on the regions where these events take place. Our vision is to be a catalyst for change, enriching local economies, and nurturing cultural vibrancy through the universal language of music.”
The investment in festivals goes beyond the economic value chain; these entertainment spaces play a crucial role in transcending the social bonds for its consumers and the creative sector as a whole.
Elevated and enchanting
Rocking the Daisies is the largest music festival on the continent and the opportunity to perform at a festival of this scale functions as a necessary nod to entertainers to continue to play their part in elevating the industry on the continent and beyond.
This year, Don Julio has drawn its cards by introducing The Don’s Table, an immersive journey, transporting festival attendees to the plains of Mexico through Tequila infused dishes and piquant cocktails. This curated experience reinvents the expected ‘streetfood’ servings of the festival grounds, by offering attendees an elevated and enchanting journey designed to tantilise and submerge the RTD.
Johnnie Walker in its second year as headline sponsor has thrown its weight behind trailblazing women through its partnership with SheSaid.so. This partnership will see a 360 degree PR campaign built around up and coming women DJs, who will enjoy the razzle and dazzle of media attention ahead of their headline performances at the Johnnie Walker Flavour Lounge.
As festival goers load their tents and sleeping bags on their way to Cloof Wine Estate this year, they ought to remember that their decision to Keep Rocking with the Daisies is a resounding commitment to the prosperity of communities and the enrichment of the entertainment industry as a whole.
These vibrant celebrations of art, culture, and diversity not only drive economic growth but also nurture the very essence of our society, fostering unity and creativity.