“Turn it up. Bring the noise.” – Mark Chapman, Groinchurn
Rock and metal fans are in for a treat at ROARFest this year on the 30th of November. This is the first of what is set to become an annual event focusing on all things retro, original, alternative and rock-related. The organisers are planning a full day with beer gardens, food trucks and a market. The lineup includes the very best the South African rock and metal industry has to offer and showcases a wide variety of its sub-genres, including a highly-anticipated reunion show from grindcore heavyweights Groinchurn, a rare appearance from longstanding alternative-metal royalty The Narrow, Johannesburg metal-core goliaths Facing the Gallows and Soweto-based rock newcomers Shameless. Rounding off the lineup, progressive punk rockers ATFN, post-punk trio The Medicine Dolls, brutal death-metal brigade Bleeding Spawn and stoner-punk noise mongers Black Math will be taking the stage.
I caught up with Christo Bester from Groinchurn to find out what they have been up to and what they have planned for the event:
You’ve last played together in 2014. Why the long hiatus?
The reason for the hiatus is that the individual members are scattered across the world. Mark (guitars) lives in Australia, Sergio (Drums) lives in Sasolburg and Christo (bass/vox) lives in Johannesburg. We had no plans to actually continue after our last show, but when the offer for ROARfest came, we started considering recording some new stuff and possibly touring Europe / America again.
Ah, awesome! So, you’ve formed in the 1990s. What have been some standout shows and memories throughout the years?
There has been many, starting probably with winning the Wings Battle of the Bands in 1997, followed by playing in Europe for the first time in 1997 and then going on to play with and meet many bands that we were fans of. The 2014 Sepultura show was also cool.
How was the metal scene in South Africa back then and how have things change?
I think social media has had a massive influence on the metal scene (and any other music scene, for that matter). Back then, things were very much by word of mouth and by attending shows. There was a sense of camaraderie. Today’s scene seems a bit more compartmentalized, more choices/options for fans in term of bands and music styles and regular international acts.
You’re on the lineup for the first-ever ROARFest. What do you hope this event will bring to rock and metal fans in South Africa?
We totally love the diversity of the line-up. Hopefully, it will expose people to different genres.
And are you planning any new music for the event?
We have no plans for any new music for this event. We might put out some new material in 2020.
This is a great lineup. Any of the other bands or artists you’re really keen to see?
I have seen many of the bands on the lineup, looking forward to seeing the bands I haven’t seen before like Medicine Dolls and Blackmath.
Please share a link to one of your songs you think would give people a taste of what to expect at ROARFest.
This will be released as a limited edition 5” vinyl – available at ROARfest
Lastly, what do you have planned for the rest of the year and 2020? Are you perhaps going to continue with the gigs? I’ve read something about a world tour. 😊
We might have some exciting announcements following ROARfest, which might include new material and a possible European and American tour, nothing confirmed as of yet.
ROARFest 2019 details
When: 30 November 2019
Where: Carfax, Newton, Johannesburg