A look back at Synergy Live 2015
If there’s a festival in South Africa that’s been around for longer than any other event its size, it’s Synergy Live. They’ve been known for their electronic music line-up, but every year they spoil the rockers, pop-lovers and indie-inbetweeners with some awesome local and international bands. This year was no exception as they invited a few really big deals: The Black Cat Bones, Jeremy Loops, Sibot, Bittereinder, Matthew Mole, Gangs of Ballet, Crystal Castles and a whole lot more.
The hype around the festival was mostly focused around the Sirius Sunday experience that enjoyed massive success last year, but all four stages had pretty amazing line-ups. So, the bags were packed, the sun was out and the road to Synergy incredibly beautiful.
I was quite dispirited, though, when we arrived at the festival only to be told that there’s only 1 media armband, even though we had been issued two media tickets – no big deal, it just creates a hassle if you’re in one car and share a tent. Once we got the car pass, we were told to drive to the “media parking” area. Truth be told, no one knew where we had to go. We were told twice to turn around, and eventually one of the security guards showed us to a “member’s camping” area, where we decided to stay.
So, on a beautiful green lawn, between lovely pine trees, our weekend kicked off. Friday warmed up a bit slow, though. It seemed like most people decided to only arrive on Saturday, which meant we could take a comfortable walk through the festival grounds before the party started. Synergy did away with the funfair they had every year, and instead had some very cool other features including a wagon that served Black Label on-tap! The crowd slowly but surely grew with each act and the vibe picked up quickly once the sun went down.
The Black Cat Bones rocked my entire festival. I think (and hope!) every single person at Synergy could hear them as they blasted through their set. Possibly the new biggest rock act in South Africa, they had the audience on their feet, arms in the air and showing why rock ‘n roll is still very much alive.
Sibot + Toyota was another highlight of the weekend with a massive set featuring extraordinary lights and sound. Most of the festival-goers looked forward to Crystal Castle’s set on Saturday, but on social media attendees lashed out about how it was only a “DJ set”. Although festivals are there to bring us music, it is also our choice what we want to listen to. Crystal Castles brought to us what they are currently busy with, and not what “the crowds want to hear”. I say good for them.
The Olmeca Era Club Tent and the Bacardi Beach Bar were also packed throughout the weekend. If you wanted a break, the massive Theewaterskloof Dam offered an amazing swimming spot right in front of the beach bar, and the comedy tent provided sum much-needed mindless entertainment for anyone who needed a laugh.
Besides the great line-up on Friday and Saturday, Synergy also brought back the hugely successful Sirius Sunday dedicated entirely to electronic music, and the party carried on until late in the afternoon. Again a huge highlight for the festival-goers.
Although electronic music is currently quite a big deal in South Africa, I would like to see Synergy put the other acts on a completely different stage (away from the ‘beating’ tents), to encourage more rock, indie and blues-lovers to attend the event.
As usual the festival had an excellent range of stalls, clean toilet facilities and bars with little to no queues at all. Synergy seemed smaller this year, but a successful weekend, nonetheless.