Rocking the Daisies – International Event
May 01, 2019
Rocking the Daisies is an eco-friendly music and lifestyle festival that takes place in South Africa. With over 10,000 people attending the event, the event offers one of the best live entertainment performances in the continent. Rocking the Daisies is arguably, the biggest and the most successful event not only in terms of turnout but also financial revenue, raising millions of Dollars every year. So, how did it all start?
When Brian Little and Craig Bright first decided to host a music festival, they knew they’d have a few challenges. They had no money, no venue and no acts, and while a few isolated events existed, there was no music festival culture in South Africa.
They decided to do it anyway. Step one was choosing a date. Spring in the Western Cape seemed like a good time, and they could align it with the Namaqualand flowers. Now they needed a venue.
“We started calling our old boarding school mates to see who had a farm we could use. One guy said yes. It would take us four years to pay him the rental fee we agreed on, but at least we had a venue,” says Bright.
Next, they needed cash. Bright sold his house and Little sold his car. They both borrowed cash from their parents. “We were so inexperienced we ended up spending money on all the wrong things,” says Little. “We put a full 2kms of fencing up,” recalls Bright.
Through contacts they secured new local acts the Parlotones and Goldfish, printed fliers and hoped for the best. All in all, the event cost USD 77,000 to put on. They had about USD 25,000 in cash.
After selling everything else they could, and Little moving out of his house and onto a mate’s couch so that he could rent it out, they were still USD28,000 short.
Turning Things Around
“We owed on the venue, the bands and the equipment,” says Little. “We worked with some very understanding people who basically waited a long time to be paid.”
Based on those numbers, the future of Rocking the Daisies seemed uncertain at best, but Bright and Little didn’t let it deter them.
“We knew we’d lose cash; we’d made the decision to view it as an investment and lose it well,” says Bright. “We had such great feedback and support, and that motivated us to keep going, despite our losses.”
The following year they had 4, 500 people and partnered with Cloof Wine Estate for the first time. To this day, Rocking the Daisies continues to be held in this beautiful setting.
By year three, 10 000 people attended the event. Today the title sponsorship has grown from about USD3000 in year one to over USD245,000.
“We’ve learnt so much about perseverance, following your passions and organic growth. We’ve been patient, and we’ve grown this incredible brand as a result,” says Little.