Why Botswana's new heavy metallic competition is price touring for

An enormous competition is a wonderful cause to plan a visit – however if you happen to’re in search of an off-the-beaten path expertise, you are going to want a information. Right here, author Jamie Fullerton explains why Bostwana’s heavy metallic competition is price touring for and how you can make it occur.

Botswana’s heavy metallic scene is one among Africa’s most fun and welcoming music subcultures and it is discovering a brand new dwelling in October 2022 for the return of Vulture Thrust Metal Fest.

Providing high-octane rock with a vibrantly inclusive angle, the occasion will happen within the village of Rakops in central Botswana. It guarantees a novel option to discover the African nation, whether or not you’re keen on metallic or not.

In addition to a spot to rock out in famously pleasant Botswana, the small competition is a base for guests exploring the encircling sport reserves and occurring heavy metallic safaris of types.

This is all the pieces you’ll want to know in regards to the bash.

What’s Vulture Thrust Metallic Fest?

Vulture Thrust Metallic Fest marks the return of heavy rock festivals to Botswana after two years of COVID-19 shutdowns.

Rakops will briefly turn into the middle of Botswana’s metallic subculture, with bands and followers establishing camp within the village on October 28-29. With the occasion going down close to the vacationer city Maun, organizers hope to draw extra foreigners than earlier native rock festivals have. 500-600 followers in whole are anticipated.

2022 marks the third incarnation of Vulture Thrust however will likely be its first taking place ‘IRL.’ It was set to launch in Rakops in 2020 however went on-line (and once more in 2021) because of pandemic restrictions.

Vulture Thrust is organized by the group behind Ghanzi’s Winter Metallic Mania Fest, together with Tshomarelo’ Vulture’ Mosaka. He is a founding member of the band Overthrust, who will play on the Rakops bash.

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Botswana’s heavy metallic competition, Overthrust © Courtesy Picture

Scorching leather-based: Botswana’s metallic scene

Vulture cites Nosey Street, who gained traction by way of the Nineteen Seventies, as Botswana’s pioneering heavy metallic band.

Curiosity in heavy rock grew within the nation, in keeping with Vulture, helped by foreigners bringing in information, particularly in Maun, the place a number of expats have been primarily based. Momentum constructed within the Nineteen Nineties when Nosey Street established a music competition, and different Botswana bands, akin to Metallic Orizon, emerged.

Enamored with this music, in 2008, Vulture, who grew up in Rakops, fashioned Overthrust to play “old-fashioned metallic.” Quickly after, Vulture organized the primary Winter Metallic Mania Fest in Ghanzi. Fifty individuals confirmed up.

“We have been taking part in excessive music, and folks did not perceive it,” mentioned Vulture. “Some individuals criticized us, pondering we have been taking part in ‘satan music.’ However we did not hand over.”

Overthrust has written songs about darkish topics related to Botswana, akin to corrupt clerics and perception in ghosts. Through the years, extra followers hurdled the simplistic notion that addressing darkish topics made you immoral, realizing that this was not, the truth is, ‘ satan music.’ “We’re making an attempt to convey these topics to life by way of leisure,” Vulture mentioned.

By the mid-2010s, a small, vibrant Botswana metallic subculture had galvanized, with native festivals as their heart factors. Metallic’s world uniform — black garments, tattoos, band t-shirt — supplied a picture template, however native twists have been added. Cowboy hats grew to become in style among the many bands: tricks to Botswana’s cattle farming tradition somewhat than US affect.

Vulture: “We made a subculture not solely by way of music however by way of id. In the event you see somebody in Botswana sporting a metallic t-shirt, you instantly join. There is not any distinction between a band member and a good friend.”

The scene’s protection within the foreign-style press led to some fearing that outsiders view it as overly enamored with US tradition. That is regardless of Botswana’s metallic bands typically writing music with rhythms very completely different from conventional US-style metallic acts and utilizing African devices.

Nonetheless, Vulture welcomes world consideration. Like different Botswana metalheads, he works a day job to fund his music and sees all protection of the bands and festivals as a significant enhance in an setting fuelled by ardour.

“By attending these exhibits, they [Botswana metal bands] can work together with musicians from different nations,” he mentioned. “They get interviews and publicity. These exhibits make them need to maintain going.”

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Overthrust metal band performing on stage
The competition is a celebration of Botswana’s music scene © Courtesy Picture

Who’s on the competition line-up?

Heavy metallic logically dominates the invoice of the competition’s fundamental stage, with bands taking part in on it from 8pm on the Friday and 2pm on the Saturday, rocking by way of to 4am on each nights.

Overthrust will play, plus fellow Botswana bands, together with Stane, Remuda, Humanitarian, PMMA, Alive N Bolder and Bankrupt Souls, the latter that includes members of Metallic Orizon. PMMA, mentioned Vulture, is “brutal – they play like Judas Priest.”

He additionally highlighted Alive N Bolder, saying: “They’re older gents, however they get loopy on stage. It is a good feeling to see an older particular person taking part in rock ‘n’ roll the best way they do.”

The competition cannot afford large worldwide acts, however some bands from past Africa have been eager to become involved. Swiss black metallic band Gravpel is scheduled to play, with acts from Germany additionally anticipated.

Earlier than the principle stage bands gear up, DJs and different musicians will play on the positioning from the Wednesday. They are going to showcase different genres, together with jazz, home and Kwaito music, which originated in South Africa.

How do I get Vulture Thrust tickets?

Tickets to the competition price 100 pula ($8) or 120 pula ($9), together with tenting. A VIP ticket, which features a t-shirt, prices 350 pula ($27). You’ll be able to request to guide advance tickets by way of the Vulture Thrust Facebook page. Barely higher-priced tickets will likely be out there on the gate.

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When ought to I get to the competition?

Primary stage bands start at 8pm on Friday October 28, leaving loads of time to journey to Rakops that day. The primary stage motion begins once more at 2pm on the Saturday, closing at 4am Sunday. From Wednesday, in addition to music on smaller levels, there will be actions and meals stalls on the positioning.

A superb trigger, a enjoyable march

Heavy metallic festivals in Botswana have a historical past of elevating cash for good causes. Vulture determined to launch his first competition after seeing homeless youngsters in Ghanzi. “I noticed destitute youngsters roaming the road,” he mentioned. “I used to be informed that some did not have or go to high school. I mentioned we should always do one thing about it.”

The ensuing Winter Metallic Mania Fest raised cash for kids’s support organizations. 2022’s Vulture Thrust Metallic Fest will increase funds for individuals residing with disabilities.

At 10am on the Saturday of the competition, bands and followers will march from Rakops Main Hospital. This procession of honking automobiles, monumental motorbikes, plus metalheads on horse and foot will end with a cash donation ceremony.

Male Kalahari lion resting, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
After the competition, there’s a chance for attendees to affix an safari © Mike Powles/Getty

Be a part of the heavy metallic safari

You will not spot rock beasts like Mastadon or Scorpions at Vulture Thrust, however you would possibly see an elephant close by.

Competition-goers can be a part of animal-spotting journeys in autos on the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday of the competition week, visiting Central Kalahari Recreation Reserve and Orapa Recreation Park. You may doubtlessly see elephants, lions, cheetahs and crocodiles.

Competition organizers will guide these journeys for followers and band members. Message the occasion’s Fb web page for info.

Competition meals

Food and drinks, together with vegetarian meals, will likely be out there on the competition website. Meals ought to price round 40-60 pula ($3-5).

Organizers are bringing a correct espresso machine from Maun to the competition as a result of, mentioned Vulture, “vacationers like espresso an excessive amount of.” Among the many alcohol sellers will likely be Okavango Craft Brewery, which runs a microbrewery in Maun.

For the ultra-hungry, a aggressive consuming competitors will happen on the competition website involving followers gobbling native meals and fizzy pop. Maybe not the most effective precursor for mosh-pit flailing.

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What to convey

Contemplate leaving cumbersome baggage and valuables in safe Maun lodge storage, particularly if you happen to’re tenting on the competition, so you may take what you want for the occasion. Rakops is a small village so pack luxuries, harder-to-buy facilities, and money earlier than you go.

Whereas the temptation to put on leather-based will likely be nice, temperatures can attain 93 levels Fahrenheit in Rakops in October. Deliver a hat, solar slap and bug spray.

The music will likely be ear-splittingly loud, so convey ear safety to keep away from harm. ACS skilled earplugs are well worth the expense, however any earplug safety is healthier than none.

The place ought to I keep?

You’ll be able to convey a tent and camp at Rakops’ Matsaodi campsite, by the competition website. Occasion tickets, together with tenting, price 120 pula ($9) upfront and will be booked through the Vulture Thrust Facebook page. Alternatively, you should buy tickets, together with campsite entry on-site.

Competition tenting runs from the Wednesday, October 26 to Sunday, October 30, however if you happen to keep simply the Friday and Saturday nights, you will catch the core occasion.

There are a number of small resorts inside a few kilometers of the occasion, akin to Xere Lodge and Rakops River Lodge. The competition group has booked some lodge rooms for followers, which will be reserved through the festival’s Facebook page. Rooms price round 600 pula ($47) per evening.

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Tips on how to get to Vulture Thrust Metallic Fest

The occasion takes place by Matsaodi campsite in Rakops. The village is a 210-kilometer, two-hour drive southeast of Maun: the north Botswana city in style with vacationers because of its safari and airport entry.

You’ll be able to rent a automotive in Maun and drive your self, or get a bus from Maun Bus Station. Ask drivers if their bus stops at Rakops — tickets should not price rather more than 70 pula ($5).

Alternatively, take the unofficial Metalhead Specific. “We’re anticipating an enormous variety of metalheads touring with their very own autos from Maun to Rakops,” mentioned Vulture. “They put on leather-based pants; you’ll determine them. They’re very pleasant; you may say, ‘Can I’ve a experience?'”

Tips on how to rock out if you cannot make this competition

If you cannot get to Vulture Thrust in October 2022, do not fret. Sister occasion Winter Metallic Mania Fest is anticipated to return in Might 2023 in Ghanzi, and count on Vulture Thrust to return in late 2023.