After a ridiculously uncomfortable night in the back of a Volkswagen (click here if you have no clue what I’m talking about) with my head pounding, stomach growling and trying to fend off the advances of my fellow intoxicated festival-goers, Saturday dawned.

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Might’ve been these desperate souls…

Though there were many awesome bands I wanted to see at RamFest the day before, my main reason for picking up a ticket: to have the chance to rock out with Bring Me The horizon. And that I did. But first…

The punishment fit for the crime

Because I overdid the partying on day one – and passed out in a car like a 12-year-old boy, who had just had his first beer – I promised to stave off the boozing… at least until an hour before the main acts came on stage. So, any hopes of skipping the most epic hangover ever, by just staying drunk, were dashed. There’s no babalas like a RamFest  babalas…

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“Jy lyk hond-kak, bra.”

Reunited and it feels so good

For reasons unknown – to me anyway – Ed only arrived at RamFest late afternoon on Saturday. His reason for coming to the fest was much the same as mine, although the band he wanted to see blow up the stage most, was the mighty Rise Against!

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Preparing for the show

After hanging out with Ed and discussing how awesome the world is, I had to take my leave. This was because BMTH would be on stage in just a few hours. And if you’ve ever been to a show where international acts were gonna be performing, you’ll know that to get a good spot in the crowd, you’re gonna have to get there EARLY.

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But before that, a little detour had to be made to the camp site for er… “essential supplies”. I still had a mostly full bottle of Jager hidden away for just this occasion. I covertly stashed the bottle in an unsuspecting friends bag and we made our way to the stage. I had completely forgotten that all bags were to be checked at the entrance – because you weren’t allowed to bring your own booze into the area… The security woman grabbed the bag and started feeling inside. Now I don’t know what it was; luck, skillful hiding or divine-rock-intervention, but after feeling through the tiny bag, she didn’t find the huge bottle of alcohol. I was surprised, but not as much as my friend who right after we got into the stage area, found out that he had been an improvised “drug-mule”. But nevertheless, we made it inside – prohibited alcohol and all. And thus it was time to show the Johannesburg natives how Pretoria okes do it!

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This is not how we do it…

Felt it… it was there

It was about 7 at night, we’d been standing in the perfect spot not too far from the stage for the last 2 hours, listening to a few… well, not too great bands. Half an hour went by, and then the mood of the entire crowd suddenly changed. PESTROY

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The very underrated Pestroy took the stage, and fuck, did they do a great job at warming up the masses. Their crazy technical breakdowns, blasting through the crowd, made you quickly remember that you were at the heaviest festival in South Africa. Pestroy’s bassist is the greatest example of how bass should be played in a metal band. He was arguably the most energetic person on stage that night, and his interaction with the crowd was unparalleled. The dude was fucking insane, and Pestroy owned all who came before.

Shane Forbes - the craziest motherfucker on stage that night

Shane Forbes – the craziest motherfucker on stage that night

Bring Me The Fucking Horizon The stage went dark. The banner rose up. And awesomeness was revealed.

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It all started off with a little intro that sounded very much like a section from their song “Hospital for souls”. If you know the song I’m referring to, you’ll know that there’s a bass-heavy part that sounds brilliant. Well, if you think that part sounds awesome from just listening to it with headphones, imagine that times a thousand. The bass in that intro almost blew us away – thanks to the amazing sound setup at RamFest. Every single note, reverberated throughout the crowd, and it almost felt like you were being hit in the chest repeatedly (which is a very good thing). Check out my personal review for their new album here.

Represent!

Represent!

First up was the brilliant new track from the UK juggernauts “Shadow Moses”. The slow start of the song followed by the anthem-like lyrics was a brilliant way to start their set. It had everyone in the crowd (myself included) singing along “We’re going nowhere!” It was followed by the insanely epic “Chelsea Smile”… which signaled the start of the first mosh-pit. Check their full set-list here. There were in total about four or five mosh-pits and two walls of death, I took part in them all. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

The blood, the shoe, and the challenge

About half way through BMTH’s set there was a particularly brutal wall of death I obviously took part in.

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When the breakdown dropped, I stormed into the opposite crowd. Everyone was getting the crap beat out of them, and as I was being pushed around, some poor guy fell on my foot trapping me in place. Bodies piled up as I was trying to free myself. When I finally got my foot back, I realized that I’d lost a shoe during all the madness. I tried looking for it while in the chaos of the mosh-pit, but gave up quickly and kept moshing. I still haven’t found the shoe. After the insanity, I also found that my leg was bleeding like a stuck pig. It was at about this time that I heard Oliver Sykes say something I’ll never forget. He yelled “I’ll give a blow-job to the first fucking person that makes it onto the stage!” Many people seemed to like the idea, and went completely ape-shit. (One guy did make it onto the stage, but I don’t know if Oli kept his promise later that night…) Rise Against! 1Tim+McIlrath+of+US+punk+rock+band+Rise+Against+at+RAMfest+Johannesburg+held+at+Riversands+farm+on+Saturday+March+16,+2013 Well, what do I need to say about this one… It’s the iconic Rise Against! After BMTH’s set, I had to get out of the crowd to go and lick my wounds (had wounds… but didn’t actually lick them). So I had to watch the headline act from a few hundred meters away. Still, even from that distance, the vibe from the crowd when “Prayer for the refugee” was being performed was immensely powerful.

Final thoughts

RamFest 2013 definitely didn’t disappoint. It had everything any live-music-fan could ever want – and a whole shitload more, just for the hell of it. Great line-up, amazing venue and brilliant atmosphere:

This is RAMFEST!