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Rockstock

Photo Courtesy of JP Du Plessis

What started out as a simple idea for a campsite party has turned into a yearly tradition here in Rocklands. It is part of the culture, not to be missed and gives all the climbers something to hone there skills on other than the sandstone blocks. As always this year had to be bigger than the last. That meant a larger sound system, more lights and better DJs to follow the climber's performances. The brainchild of Justin Hawkins, Rockstock started with humble beginnings in 2006. He wanted an event to bring together all the climbers staying at different locations in the northern Cederberg and celebrate the community, meet new friends, and all have one hell of a time. The idea was to host a kind of lip sync contest. Each team would select a song of their choosing, create a routine, perform to live music and the crowd would select the winner. The first year went off so well with the help of DePakhuys owners Thys Kruger and Mark Botha, that it was decided to repeat the event every year. I missed Rockstock in 2009 and 2010, but I got a chance to perform last year for the first time. Justin, our friend Manu and I did the opening act that was not to be judged against that years contestants. I think we did Justin Beber proud.

This year would be Corinne's first Rockstock and a chance for us to perform together. We wanted to win, but more than anything we wanted to make the crowd laugh. Making a winning perform for Rockstock means picking a song people know and making the performance as funny as possible. Scott suggested "I'm too sexy" by Right Said Fred and we immediately knew we had a potential winner. We recruited Justin's girlfriend Lisa for our act and rushed to Clanwilliam to buy costumes and props. We spent the afternoon before Rockstock chorographing our performance and building the costumes.

Meanwhile everyone in the camp who was not out climbing was helping to setup for the event. The weather forecast was for rain, so Thys and Mark had purchased a large tent to house the epic sound system Justin has rangled up. As things started coming together in the late afternoon, the rain struck hard. Leaks in the tarp over the DJ booth had to be fixed and water draining past power lines rerouted.

As evening set in and the few dozen people whom had braved the weather crowded under the lapa for shelter, things started looking grim. I had read on the weather report that the rain was to let up at 8 pm. At about 7:50 I set out from the lapa, snapped this photo:

and stood by a huge bonfire while the rain continued. This prompted a few others to join me. The rain stated to let up as we stood around the fire sipping beers and rotating to dry ourselves out. All of a sudden the rain stopped. I glanced at my watch, the time read 8:03. In the next hour three times as many people and performers showed up and the energy was high. Rockstock was on.

Cody Roth mc'ed the event posing as Nicolas Sarkozy for reasons slightly beyond my comprehension. This year's climbing contingent is about 50% French, so perhaps that was a motivator. Justin was welcomed to the stage as the Madiba, which drew big laughter and a few gasps. He started the event off and took his position behind the light and smoke machine controls. The performances started strong with the folks from the Hen House doing a rendition of Thriller. This was followed by a chaotic performance from a mixed group of drunken climbers. It lacked polish, but their intentions were spot on. We were up next and rather than describe our performance I'll let this video by our friend Jackson do the talking.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhWsgUAC3mw&feature=youtu.be;rel=0]

More performances followed, climaxing in an original song composed and performed by a group of Swiss. It was created using an iPhone app and highlighted the main characters of Rocklands over the years, drawing applause and laughter from all the veterans of the area. While everyone loved Pimp Dawg Diggalo and his Funky Ass Hoes (our team name) the Rocklands Crew (the Swiss team) took the prize and we agreed they deserved it.

Photo Courtesy of JP Du Plessis

After the awards ceremony the DJs took the stage and the real party began. Everyone danced, chatted and partied the night away until the sun began to rise. It was another epic Rockstock and perhaps the best one yet. Everyone here comes to South Africa for the climbing, but when they arrive they discover there is so much more happening then simply climbing on rocks. They meet new friends, discover new culture and get to take part in events like this. The rocks bring them here, the people keep them coming back.

-Steve