Coke Fest scores below Zero

By Simone Armer

The organisers of this year’s Coca-Cola Zero Fest have promised to bring fans “12 hours of rocking music and unbelievable experiences, making it the most adrenalin-fuelled festival in South Africa”. However, a recent poll on the festival’s unofficial blog site shows that 75% of people who voted (1875) will not be attending this year’s gig, simply because “the bands suck”.

Oasis and Snow Patrol are this year’s headlining international acts, followed by Bullet for My Valentine, Panic at the Disco! and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Compare this to the previous years’ line-ups – in which Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses, Muse and Korn featured – and you can see why some fans are a little disgruntled. Second year BA student, Craig Albers, feels the line-up is discouraging heavy rock and metal fans from attending. “The fact that there is only one semi-heavy band and a number of soft, commercial bands just seems to be a money-making ploy,” he says. Albers will be attending the Splashy Fen Music Festival instead, which starts just one day before Coke Zero Fest kicks off in Johannesburg.

However, not everyone is disappointed by the line-up. South African student Dominique Le Grange, a Johannesburg local, has attended the past two festivals and feels that this year’s has just as much to offer. “I like the bands playing this year. There is a combination of hard and soft – as there has been in previous years anyway! I think the image of Coke Fest is much the same as it was before,” she says.

Along with the name change (the festival was formerly known as My Coke Fest, and Coca-Cola Colab before that), the organisers have also continued with last year’s change of venues. Previously Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban each hosted the same event, but last year Durban was left out. “Judging by the crowd attendance at the 2006 Coke-Fest in Durban with Metallica, I’m not surprised,” says Albers, who is from Durban himself. “There are many rock fans in Durban and they’re probably pretty pissed off right now”.

With so many mixed views, it’s hard to predict the success of this year’s festival. Fans like Le Grange remain optimistic, though. “The whole day out there, with friends and good music and all the rest is always worth the money. Obviously every year the bands change – and not everyone will be 100% happy with the bands playing – but it’s great to get the variety so it’s not just the same thing every year,” she concluded.


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