'Change is never easy': Rocking the Daisies organisers respond to new drinks policy backlash


Cape Town – Popular local music festival Rocking the Daisies introduced a new drinks policy on Friday which says in part: “You will not be allowed to bring alcohol or any liquids into Rocking the Daisies 2018…Enjoy your favourite drinks cold, poured and prepared for you just the way you like it."

While some ticket holders have welcomed the new policy, others have asked the organisers for a full refund of their ticket.

ICYMI: This year's festival will take place from 5-7 October at Cloof Wine Estate and feature acts like 6lack and Mura Musa. 

READ THE FESTIVAL’S POST ABOUT THE POLICY (INCLUDING HOW MUCH DRINKS WILL COST AT THE EVENT) HERE:

HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DEBATE HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT THE POLICY ON TWITTER:

Channel24 reached out to Rocking the Daisies about the backlash and festival director George Avakian responded with a statement. 

READ ROCKING THE DAISIES' FULL STATEMENT HERE:

"Firstly we would like to apologise to everyone for the frustration caused, especially announcing such a big change a month before the festival.

"I would like to start by debunking a myth doing the rounds that this is our first year in the festival. It’s important to note that this isn’t our first or even second year involved with Daisies but we have been involved since 2016 and this is in-fact our third run at this.

"Dealing with the issue at hand : This is not the first big change to Rocking the Daisies 2018, many people have seen our changes, including the splitting of camp sites - We were proactive in implementing new systems, creating a safer environment rather than reacting to an influx of crime related activities that have plagued our festival brothers and sisters around the country. As we mentioned earlier this year, the safety and security of our festival goers is our key focus. This change was ridiculed across the board until news of the crime issues got worse and worse and we have subsequently received 100s of mails thanking us for thinking ahead.

"Onto the alcohol - Not having control over what gets brought into a festival is a very big concern for us, we did extensive bag searches last year, but to physically understand the contents of each bottle would be impossible. We needed a holistic response to this and have been working on a solution which we have finally solved — albeit a short while before the festival. "Looking to cut out all decanted plastic bottles/cups we wanted an easy solution for people not having to carry their booze into the festival. We solved this by selling products as close to our cost price as possible : you will see a 440 ml beer can cost anywhere around R12-R14 a beer at a liquor store and we are selling it on to the festival goer at R15 - some products are even being sold at cost. We are being accused of only caring about the money but we have taken R20 a can off our beers and even more off ciders ( as a small example ) We will undoubtedly be making a loss on our bars this year as we have removed the industry standard 200-300% mark-up and replaced it with anything from 0% to 20%.

"It is impossible to recover the costs of infrastructure, staff and logistics attached to all of these drinks on site, especially with the festival being an hour out of Cape Town. This is not a move made out of greed, if it was, it would be a highly unsuccessful way of doing it.

"Importantly, we completely understand that this will affect peoples budgets and we are working on a final price list to see if we can work the prices down at all. "Water : South Africa currently has no solution for water outside of plastic bottles or glass, we have been working extremely hard on this and have a solution lined up that will create a new reality for South African festivals that can be picked up and used by the rest of the industry going forward. This will have an unmeasurably positive impact on our environment. IMPORTANT there are water points providing free water across the whole festival.

"Our final hurdle was plastic cups, with the help of our headline sponsor we believe we might have found the answer to a global problem on plastic cups, an indefinite solution that will change the way festivals and events around the world serve drinks, again, this will be coming very soon!

"As much as it might hurt at first, talking about environmental change and actually actively implementing changes are two different things. We have chosen to back our words up with action, no matter the growing pains that come with it.

"This solution will keep our roads safe, make our festival truly green and our festival goers safer than ever.

"Change is never easy although it is necessary for growth."

EVENT INFORMATION FOR ROCKING THE DAISIES 2018:

DATES: 5-7 October 2018

VENUE: Cloof Wine Estate

TICKET PRICES: Phase 3: R895 incl. VAT & booking fees 

Tickets can be booked here.