I have no idea whether George Ezra fans have some collective term for themselves ala Gaga and her Little Monsters, but if they don’t this is as good as any. It has a slight religious adorarative quality about it.
George doesn’t seem to be huge in SA, I mentioned to several people that I was going to the concert and they had no clue. Once you say ‘that guy who sings the Budapest song’ they all know who he is, but our family have been fans since we saw him perform at Glastonbury in 2013 during one of our “Glastonbury in Africa” evenings enjoyed via Chromecast and our giant telly. We bought his EP when Norm went to the UK shortly after. It’s one of my car CDs for when an annoying song plays on the radio or that eejit DJ comes on after DJ Fresh.
Understandably I was very excited to see that George was coming to SA. We bought tickets for me, Norm and Caitlin and as usual we opted for the VIP level, referred to as “Premium” by Seed Experiences. The prices were Standard – R575 ex. booking fees (an additional R60 per person!) or Premium* – R865 ex. booking fees (an additional R60 per person!). We paid R2685 in total.
The tickets never said it wasn’t a seated venue and I just assumed it was until we got the pre-concert info mailer. It said that blankets were allowed to sit on but if you brought chairs you might be asked to move to the side.
Ummmm…what?! I paid almost R900 to loll about on the grass? Hell no. Due to my hip replacement that is impossible.
The mailer provided an email address to contact re disabled facilities so I sent an email, 24 hours later I had no reply so I sent a follow up mail.
I waited all day again and the night before the show I tweeted them and they had a frazzled sounding young man ring me. He said my chairs would not be a problem.
Off we went on Saturday about lunch time and headed to Durbanville Racecourse. Our Premium tickets provided “access to priority parking, separate entrance, exclusive bar and ablutions.”
We drove to the Premium parking and indeed, entrance was quick. The layout we were given as a map was this.
Norm told me we were not in the premium seating, we were in general seating, he pointed out the premium seating was way behind the tent and you could not even see the stage. Caitlin also said that everyone was being served in the premium bar area, she had to wait for a queue of people in blue armbands. Hmmmm…..
After we finished eating I went off to the ladies. The premium tickets came with “exclusive ablutions” according to our tickets, so I was surprised that no one checked my armband. There was a long queue as a result, I spotted blue arm bands as well as the premium. There was supposed to be a separate male and female facility but the female side was locked up shut. The other side only had half the loos working as most would not flush. I queued for ages and when I got in the attendant said sorry they are all closed. I told her I didn’t care, I paid almost a thousand rand and I am about to pee my pants. It was going to be either a sink, a bush or a locked loo. Her choice. So she opened the door.
I again tweeted the organizers to say it’s ridiculous that the VIP seating was miles away and 70% of the toilets are out of order. They tweeted back that they were sorting the loo but no comment about the other shitty seats.
From where we stood in the general seating at least we could crane on tip toe to see.
The next band on was Beatenberg a local South African band. They were excellent and the quality of the sound and acoustics was faultless. Kudos to the sound engineers.
After they finished a lot of people rolled up their blankets and disappeared, some just stayed but stood. We kept our seats but once George started singing we moved in to be under the edge of the tent with our chairs. The sun was setting and it was cooling off a lot.
People crowded closer and closer, pushing shoving and generally being annoying. I have a real issue with people pushing me, it makes me mental.
A girl wedged herself in my space and then a very tall guy and his girlfriend wedged in so close in front of me my nose was against his back. I thought he was just snapping a pic and waited, but the camera came down and he stayed right there so I tapped his shoulder and asked “are you actually going to stand right here in my face right on top of me?” And he said ‘yes’. WTF?? I asked again and he and his girlfriend both said “yes”.
I saw red.
I shoved them both so hard they literally flew. They were skinny and surprised, so I had the advantage. I then moved forward in front of them and they started shouting. I ignored the annoying wee girl and just moved her out of my face and got up in the guy’s face and when he stepped toward me Norman then tapped him and just wagged his finger in a “I suggest you avoid my crazy/helluva mean wife or I’m not responsible for your safety” and they looked back at my face and then back at Norm then shuffled away backwards, hands out in surrender.
Enough people saw this that I had a great time with no further annoyances. Crazy occasionally works in my favour. We stayed for the encore and walked out to his closing notes.
We did enjoy it but I can’t do general admission or no seating again, it’s bad for my blood pressure. I won’t do another event by seed experiences as I feel they ripped me off badly for the “Premium” surplus cost. It was a load of nonsense. If not for that I wouldn’t have had a bad taste in my mouth.
George was his usual laid back charming self and engaged the crowd, telling cute little tales between songs which demonstrated why he is so successful at telling them when they are put to music. The musicians and artists were brilliant, the weather was perfect, the food excellent, the efficiency of the event planners and staff on the ground was great. The only complaint is the tiered pricing for a very flat level of experience.