Rocking the Daisies turns into ‘Robbing the Daisies’

2013-10-08 18:02

Thieves slashed and pillaged tents at Rocking the Daisies while unsuspecting revellers partied the night away over the weekend.

At least 15 000 people attended the popular music and lifestyle festival on a farm near Darling in the Western Cape. The bash kicked off on Friday to a sold-out crowd, featuring British rock band Skunk Anansie as the headline act and a string of local artists including Desmond and the Tutus, the Dirty Skirts and Dubmasta China.

But while thrilled partygoers sang along to Skunk Anansie’s hit singles late on Saturday night, thieves rocked up at tents, looting belongings and trashing campsites.

Victims said security had been sparse and blamed greed on the part of the organisers.

Cape Town PR expert Jocelyn Meier’s Apple Mac computer and BlackBerry were stolen from the tent she shared with her boyfriend in the VIP area, known as the Heartbreak Motel.

The Heartbreak Motel offers tents with ready-made beds, shower facilities and “24-hour security” at R5 995 per unit for four days. The festival cost them an additional R900 cover charge per person.

“I mean, it’s more like ‘Robbing the Daisies!’” fumed Meier today.

Her boyfriend’s iPhone was also stolen from their tent. A friend of the couple, who was based three tents away also in the VIP area, returned to a slashed tent and an absent laptop, hard drive, money and cigarettes.

“We were at the main stage. When we got back to our tent at 2am on Sunday morning our stuff was gone,” recalled Meier. “Our tent was locked in front but they got in through a zip at the back. Our friend’s tent was slashed.”

She added: “When we cornered a manager, he asked whether we had been drinking too much.”

A female festivalgoer wrote on the festival’s Facebook page: “My black iPhone 5 and Sony camera was stolen out of a locked tent ... Our campsite was trashed, tents ripped open etc.”

Marc Bright, the financial director of Seed Experiences, the company behind Rocking the Daisies, told City Press that he was aware of the incidents.

When asked about security at the event he responded that it was impossible to guard every tent individually.

“Security was at the gates to prevent unauthorised entrance and there was roaming security. But due to the size of the area it is not possible to guard each and every tent individually,” he said.

He added that although organisers took security and the safety of festivalgoers “very seriously” ultimately it was up to patrons to accept responsibility for their possessions.

He said the police were called in over the weekend and that some stolen items had been recovered.

“Seed Experiences have confirmed that once all items have been collected and listed, they will publish a list on Facebook for the public to respond to.

“Heartbreak Motel management would like to reiterate that we will endeavour to assist and resolve each and every case to the best of our ability, as well as pursue the matter of breach of security with the security providers and revert as soon as feedback has been received,” states an email to people who were robbed.

Said Meier: “Everybody is blaming everyone else. The point is there were too many people and not enough security.”

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