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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
HomeVinylMusic NewsOppikoppi; The Festival that Never Should Have Worked

Oppikoppi; The Festival that Never Should Have Worked

…but offers what South Africans crave.

To the neutral ear, the idea of Oppikoppi sounds terrible; It’s so far out of the way and getting there is a mission. Once you’re there you have to battle dust, thorns and awkward shrubbery. Once you’ve cleared your camping area, you would notice that there is little to protect you from the blistering sun, save for the freezing weather that kicks in after sunset. In fact, knowing the precise moment in the day to change from shorts to pants and again from pants to shorts is no less than an art. Why would any self respecting person put themselves through this agony instead of staying in the comfort of their own homes protected by air-conditioning and DSTV?


As much as I wish to know the answer, it’s pretty irrelevant because Oppi proves, year on year, to mean enough to its attendees to make all the issues above seem redundant. Its beauty lies in that the meaning drawn from it is specific to each individual on the Northam farm. There is no set of universal experiences that everybody can take back with them and I suspect it is this freedom that allows fest goers, whether they camp in Mordor or one of the tent hotels, to live their best life for 5 days.

From running into friends you haven’t seen in years to experiencing new music to partying like and with rock stars to finding a special person to pass out with under the stars, Oppi provides the broadest ultimate canvas on which one can paint a number of lasting memories. I’ve yet to come across such a canvas anywhere else.

Of particular enjoyment to me was discovering a group of ballies who met at Oppi in the 90s yet now live on opposite sides of the country. Each year they get permission from their respective significant others and meet up at the Top Bar (the most cultured bar) to regale one another with tales of their previous 360 days.

Added further to the canvas of opportunity is the litany of artist to check out. This year, I managed to get about 40 acts in, of the some 170 on offer. I witnessed some people who didn’t see a single show but only went for the camping gees. Others spent as little time in the camps as possible and were glued to a combination of stages.

Of course, even if you remained in your camp, you’d not escape the music. If you managed to block out the blaring sound of the Redbull stage pumping until 5am from the other side of the koppie, you’d still be inflicted with the sounds of the Scottish marching band or whichever band is being dragged through the camp on the mobile stage throughout the day. Add to that activities like the naked run, all the promos, the countless Windhoek and Cuervo, Oppi sets itself up to allow the festival goer to set up their own experience.

South Africans are rarely spoilt for choice. Whether we hit Steers or McDonalds, the meals may be marginally different but in the end we’re still going to have a burger, chips and Coke. Oppikoppi takes a different approach…offering people a ton of paint, various brushes and a blank canvas then saying, “Here! Do what you will with this!”.

The organisers have even taken ownership of the adverse aspects of the festival and appropriated them into the experience. From coining terms such as black lung, in dust we trust and formalising the condition known as Post Oppi Depression, the thorns, dust, weather and struggle for shade all form part of the greater Oppi experience.

The fest may be 22 years old and the level of organisation certainly shows this but whether it’s your first time or you’ve been at it since the 90s, you’re guaranteed only one thing, your experience is what you make of it. If, like most South Africans, you crave temporary blank slate with all the tools to craft good memorable moments in your life be certain to be at Oppikoppi 2017.

We Oppi’ed with mates from Bloemfontein and framed ourselves as the most dysfunctional army to walk the earth…our reports can be found below:

Departure Report:

Voting has many benefits…such as early access to Oppikoppi.

Thumb inked. Petrol tank full. Hubbly lit. Email out of office activated. Satanic Dagga Orgy CD on repeat. ID stamped. Windhoek packed. Unsea Camp Mystic Bloem forward party is go. Repeat. Forward party is go.

Don’t be kak…go vote! And see you at Oppi!


Arrival Report:

Unsea Team Mystic Bloem sitwrap: The forward party was unfortunately reduced to one member when International Man of Mystic Henri  could not get a flight. Regardless, the forward party wrestled thorns and acquired a large piece of land close to all amenities thus incredibly valuable.

Squadron Bloem 1 announced their departure at 10H13, and yet again at 12H15 through Tank Commander Mokete  followed by Tarien at 12H50 who gets no title as she air hostested her way through radio transmissions. Bloem 1 is therefore unaccounted for.

Bloem 2 possibly 3 has indicated that they will be bringing reinforcements in the form of Communications Commander Motsamai and Squats Lieutenant Adri but that these reinforcements require the patience of the night.

Attacking from the flank we’ll find the introduction of Potch 1 most useful. Demolition of Worms Expert Werner  has radioed in to indicate that they are in place and set for departure in the morning.

Securities Major Francois  has been radio silent leaving us to assume he’s absconded.

This leaves Logistics Sergeant Richard Anthony Chemaly of the forward party under-resourced with the expected reinforcements delayed.

He is fortunately channeling his inner Free State and so far managing to hold on to his disproportionately large piece of land in Africa using little more than wit, a hammer and a bottle of Klipdrift.


Day 2 Morning Report (Vid)

In case our parents want to know how we’re doing. My fingers are too cold to type so you’ll get a video

Bloem 1 has arrived. Bloem 2 possibly 3 and Pretoria 1 en route. Potch 1 is radio silent. Nelspruit 1 set to hit the road tomorrow.

Day 3 Morning Report

All Units save for International Man of Mystic and Nelspruit 1 have arrived at the rendezvous point. We’re preparing breakfast now. The base camp is completely set up flying the flags of the Shimlas, Jolly Roger and Cuervo.

Upon settling, we began the mission of emptying bottles and cans to build the signature fire pit.

We also negotiated to place select friendlies along our borders to limit our defensive requirements so we could focus on our energies on our offensive strategies…this has proven to draw many M.O.S. to base camp.

The units regaled each other with tales of travels and historic memories. We sent a small detachment to the preparty following dinner. Soon after the rest of the collective joined, the preparty could not contain us and was shut down.

Units then reconvened at base camp to sing various songs including R Kelly – Ignition (remix) and Rafiki’s song from Lion King.

Bands begin playing today therefore our mission is going to be high in protein.

0 casualties thus far


Day 3 Tequila Report

Unsea update…That 1716 (incidentally the year of the battle of Petrovaradin) in the background is the number of Jose sold at Oppi…these three dudes put a 30 unit effort (in a single 30 seconds) in to support that number….still standing…kiss kiss


Day 4 Morning Report (Vid)

Forward party reporting on Morning 3 offering explanations to everybody who received an incoherent voice correspondence and apologising profusely.

Day 5 Morning Report

Unsea Report. T minus 24 hours prior to extraction. The troops have served with distinction yet the strain can be seen on their faces and body movement. Personally, I caught the lady I was courting with another dude so I’ve had to branch from the squad and endeavor an extra-judicial mission ambitiously code named Operation Oppie Rebound. Morale was at an all time low but fortunately we were able to summon General Valiant Swart who himself enlisted the assistance of Major Anton L’amour. They regaled us with nostalgic tales of our homeland, The Mystic Boer.

With renewed vigour, the troops (well, Adri) cleaned the camp and feasted on the last of our rations (we’ve since realised that we still needed more but fortunately there is a Checkers not far from the battleground).

This last evening promises to be the most challenging as the powers have enlisted mercenaries from the United States in the forms of August Burns and Yelawolf.

Extradited Kongos are also rumoured to return and unleash retribution on the nation they left.

Yesterday, we were most drained following battles with Grassy Spark, Tidal Waves, Fokof, tons of Boosh bands and numerous others.

Nelspruit 1 has defected and radioed from the road that they will be okay. Pretoria 1 and Forward Party are scheming business ideas following the Unsea. Hong Kong 6 and Bloem 2 possibly 3 are arguing about the number of times one can split the number 8. Bloem 4 is staring at them with looks of judgement in their eyes. Thus far, it’s been a quiet morning at base camp but we are all terrifyingly patently aware of the implications of the ominous silence.


Day 5 Economics Report

Unsea sitwrap…Bought the 50000th tequila…but I was thirsty…so I ordered 23 at once because price elasticity and economies of scale make me pursue market efficiency.

Scary fact, this means that at 20 bucks a shot… The turnover of tequila sales at the Unsea is more than one bar. This is higher than the annual turnover of any VAT and tax benefited SMME.

Small thought then to entrepreneurs out there…a great product can reach an audience of 20 thousand people and turnover a bar in 3 days…just ensure that the product is Cuervo and the location location location is Oppi.


Day 6 Survival Report (Vid)

Day 6 Clean Up Report

Post Oppi shower tip: you’ll be full of dirt and won’t want to mess up your bathroom nor that of your own club…so hit the Rustenburg Virgin Active and tell them you work on the mines. ‪#‎SoFreshSoClean‬


Written by

Born and bred in Bloemfontein on a diet of cynicism, brandy and terrible literature, this little boy, disguised as a sane adult, takes comfort in knowing that the world is wrong and is set on proving it. Did we mention he's an attorney with a degree in economics? Rich quit his job, jumped on a train, currently pays rent to hold his stuff in Hillbrow and is actually the most non-attorney attorney around. He's a law firm specializing in Entertainment and Entrepreneurship. He's also moved on to Jack Daniels. You can tweet him @uncle_chem to find out about his un(self)employment adventures.