10:00 Am. And unusually quiet for what can only be described as a milestone event. Ten years of the biggest dance party in Africa. Yet this time around, strangely the people hadn’t camped outside waiting to be allowed in. This time, there was no queue extending down the street for people waiting to park nor an equal mass of people walking in and lining up, waiting to get in. What was going on?
Upon entering the venue I felt the energy begin to heat up as the music had already started to fill the air. The crowd was small, but growing by the minute and you could feel the twinklings that today was going to be unforgettable. The sun was beating down on us as the African tempos started blaring out the speakers filling our bodies with the energy to make it through the next few hours. This was going to be insane.
We milled around, checking out all the floors and getting a feel for each one. Each dancefloor provided it’s own unique flavour to the day – each perfectly located so as not to drown out one another in terms of sound and crowd. I grabbed myself a drink from one of the tents and relaxed to take in all of my surroundings.
Before I knew it, the party had really begun. The crowd started getting their ankles wet and so began the cheers and whistles as the DJ began to drop some insane mixes. The next time I turned around to check out the scene, I saw thousands of people with their hands lifted jubilantly up in the air, accepting the music, letting the rhythms take control of their bodies. This was it, this is what we live for. United by music, united by one energy. This is who we are and this is our message. We are South Africans and we know how to party!
One hour after the next, swaying the amassed sea of people, the music just kept coming. It didn’t let up, not even for a second. Even when the lines weren’t connected for Fresh to begin his set the crowd was entertained by a beatboxer who not only had the crowd jumping and screaming for more, he even had the one and only Vernon in the background doing his signature move. Only in South Africa can we make a party happen even when there is no sound. The rhythm is in our blood.
Ironically, being a party called H2O, we were blessed by Mother Africa raining down on us. The crowds started to dwindle down which was disappointing as there was a mad scramble for shelter but for the die-hard few, they continued to be slaves to the music and kept on going. In true African style, the rain came and went but the party still pushed on.
Kudos to everyone that made it the event possible. This year I now know why I didn’t have to queue for so long; it was because this year the team had planned for every eventuality. The shuttle buses that were running from the fire station ran smoothly, the parking had been well organised and the door staff were running a tight ship. Even service at the bars was quick and efficient. They couldn’t have made it run any better. 25 000 people were catered for. They were all entertained and I’m sure they will be back for more. My only worry is, that after such an amazing jol, how are they going to cater for all the friends of the 25 000 that couldn’t make it this time? Planning better start soon on making Wild Waters bigger.
So if you missed out this time, you missed out on a partyload. Yes that’s right, you know exactly how silly you were. But, all is not lost. We were all thinking of you while going crazy to some of the nations and the world’s best dance acts. There will be more. But this one is unique. This was a Decade of Dance. It was awesome!
Words by Mike Fletcher. Pictures by Lee Botha