By Cornelius Potgieter
With Imperial Destruction’s next Night of Destruction looming nearby, I chatted with the main man behind the scenes, Wian Bester, in order to find out more about this new, exciting concept that is fast gaining support in the local metal scene. Check out what he had to say below:
1. Tell us a bit about how you came up with the Geraasplaas concept?
Geraasplaas has been a vision that Imperial Destruction and a few friends have shared for quite some time.We were always in the front row at every Ramfest and Metal4Africa event. but felt we needed more metal events, especially seeing as the heavier music doesn’t get showcased at bigger festivals anymore. The idea started out when we played at a good friend’s birthday party back in high school, We played a few other house parties, but the cops weren’t as enthusiastic as we were. By luck we manged to get hold of a venue in Gordons Bay where we had our first official NOD followed by two other successful events, including a fundraiser for a friend lost in a bike accident. On my 21st birthday we even managed to get local idols Mind Assault to play alongside reggae legends The Rivertones at a craft beer brewery in Somerset West. For us it was just about the party with friends, and the vibe caught on! When my folks moved to a farm in Riversdale, it was like a blessing from the Gods of Metal to take our vision to open skies. Our one mate Richard jokingly said: “Lets make some geraas op die plaas (make some noise on the farm)”, and then the name just stuck. We first tried to host our event in collaboration with the Aloe festival in Albertinia but some locals took it among themselves to boycott us from the festival to protect themselves and their children from us “devil worshipers”. Some physical persuasion and a few black eyes later, we decided it would be best to move the event to our farm as the original plan intended. In less then a week we build our own stage in our shed, lit up some bonfires and let the good times roll. It’s still a learning process but we are humbly learning and improving after each event.
2. How have your events been received by the local metal scene?
The second event had double the amount of attendees and I take great pride in seeing Jason’s artwork on shirts around Cape Town and even some folk around Gauteng and Port Elizabeth. We even had some German headbangers at the festival who said it was their first metal event in South Africa. Our event may look like a peanut compared to Wacken, but they had a blast with the locals. Our staff here on the farm are proudly wearing their Geraasplaas shirts around town and defending their new found passion. Not only did we find a new safe haven for alternative music but we are managing to grow our family. We have received plenty of great feedback and people are begging for the next one! What makes our events so unique is the fact that it’s something new. People are tired of the same old venues, it’s nice to explore some new parts of the Western Cape and make some new friends along the way.
3. What can attendees to your next festival expect?
Expect a proper two full day festival with bands from all across the country. PROPER TOILETS!!! We also want to expand our stalls into a nice craft market area with more variety for attendees. We are looking at building an outside stage soon enough once we see a bigger growth in support, which I hope will be in the next year.
4. Are you planning on eventually showcasing international bands at your events?
Our first priority would be to establish a solid and secure venue for the local scene but I would love to bring down bands from neighboring countries and even new friends from Romania! One of my biggest dreams are to have Slayer and Amon Amarth playing in my backyard! Sadly the ZAR is pretty shite and it would cost a fortune. But hey, dream big, ya know?
5. Do you have any other big plans and/or events in the pipeline for the near future?
Doing two events that close to each other was a big gamble but we managed to pull it off. We will be hosting another event in December here in Riversdale, just to ensure we have enough time for proper planning. I would love to build the two outside stages and our beer tent in the next year, but farming is our first priority, and without sponsors it can be quite a struggle. That’s why we will forever be grateful to Wrath inc. for their contribution for last years show and big ups to the lads from Bokgot for all their help! the Bokgot Brothel is still standing proudly. We want to make Geraasplaas more than just about the music, it should be a getaway experience that can bring some tourism to this area. Personally experiencing Hellfest in France has shown me how a small town can benefit from such big festivals and I would love to make the event reach its full potential. We want to expand into a proper 4×4 course around the farm including hiking and cycling trails as well as proper camping sites for caravans etc., but for now our biggest concern is making the music happen! We are currently working on a mini open air event for 26th of March in Wellington. Check the page here:
6. Any final words to your fans and followers?
THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Imperial Destruction throughout the years and making this event possible. You’re all defenders of the faith and we salute you, see y’all at the next one.