Some of the greatest Oppikoppi memories are made while trying to hunt down your campsite. However, this is not a good enough reason to wipe your memory and forget where your temporary tented home is. Street names are clearly marked, and we suggest that you memorise your location (or at least write it on your arm). Street names such as Fokkol Nonsins Draai (named after the late South African painter and musician, Huyser Burger), Ready D (inspired by DJ Ready D) and Beton Boer (named after the Koos Kombuis tune, Boer In Beton), show that this festival never forgets its heroes... and aids its patrons to get to their bundu homes safely.
What started out as a drunken night in the bar on top of the hill soon snowballed into something that's been revered the world over. Entrance to the first event in 1994 was a six pack of beer and got you front row seats to Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart in an intimate setting next to kegs of Castle Lager and a pool table. Although the festival started off focusing mostly on rock music, more genres were soon added, and it now plays host to roughly 160 sets of international and South African music and entertainment acts of all genres including rock, hip hop, hardcore, punk, ska, folk, blues, drum ‘n bass, big beats, kwaito, jazz, funk, traditional, world music, comedy, metal, indie, house and others. Oppikoppi has always been at the forefront of what is happening in the socio-economic and political contexts in South Africa and has played its part in changing the country and bringing people together in a spontaneous way.
The first official Oppikoppi (that was not a bunch dudes playing for friends at the pub) was called the Festival Of Rock 1 and acted as a launch pad for the local live music scene. The festival featured Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart, Squeal, Sugardrive, Battery 9, and Urban Creep, to name a few.
When Oppikoppi started growing, entrance warped from a pack of six suds to R30 per person. These days you can't even buy a Happy Meal for that price.
In The Year Of Our Lord 1998, this home-grown festival surpassed 10 000 patrons for the first time. That number has now doubled, but we'll get into that later down the line.
In 2008, British media, The Daily Mirror, ranked Oppikoppi as the 4th best music festival in the world. How 'bout them apples?
Yup. The festival has grown yearly, from around 2 000 attendees in 1995 to around 20 000 in 2016. And we're expecting that number to grow even bigger in the years to come. Here's to Oppikoppi 2018 and beyond.
There's a dude named Nino who's attended more Oppikoppi festivals than years that some of us have been alive... and he's got the festival shirts to prove it. We bumped into Nino at OK22, where Jon Savage commemorated him with a bottle of tequila.
At Oppikoppi 2013 a beast of a drone took to the sky over Northam and rained down free beer from the heavens. How did it work? From the Oppikoppi app, festival goers could order a beer and, by tracking their GPS co-ordinates, the drone (named Manna, after the biblical story of bread falling from the sky) would deliver a cold one. This made international news and was picked up by Russia Today and CNN. In fact, it was such a hit that the indie rock band Mumford & Sons wanted in on the deal, and a prototype was presented to their production company.
Chris Kreef, the mad genius behind the 0.5-star Kreef Hotel, started by setting up others' tents at festivals. This soon evolved into South Africa's first moveable tent motel (complete with bottomless bacon for breakfast, hot showers and much-needed personal space).
Who was James Phillips? Maybe that's something you shouldn't ask around older rockers... but that's why we're here. Also known as Bernoldus Niemand, or Mister Nobody, James Phillips was an anti-apartheid activist, musician and lyricist from Springs. His impact on the South African rock scene was so big that Oppikoppi named a road and the main stage after this legend. The James Phillips Mein Stage will be groomed prim and proper to once again claim its rightful place as the thatch of thatches and the leading light at a festival that has been, um, going through stages. Expect a tighter and more condensed festival, packed to the brim with bands and artists that reek of faculty and hutzpah.
Renowned graphic designer and artist Resoborg (of Design Indaba fame) was commissioned to do the overall design and official artwork for the Oppikoppi 2018 festival. From designs on skateboards, to corporate illustrations for banks in South Africa, Resoborg offers a professional service in crafting, typography, graphic design, illustration, logos, corporate identity, packaging, art direction and murals.
Since the primary days when jazz records were first played at Oppikoppi, DJ Bob has carefully nurtured his motley audience to become familiar with other-worldly jazz and funk sounds. For the second year running, DJ Bob will be hosting his Jazz Club at Oppikoppi 2018.
Yebo. There's an app for that too. The Oppikoppi app contains useful information such as a venue map, artist line-up, their time schedules and other useful information. Think of it as your star map to the dustiest weekend of your life; it'll help you get from A to B... given you've not stopped at the watering hole for too long in between travels.
For the first time since the 90s, Oppikoppi 2018 will boast an artist list that's homegrown from the top to the bottom. Favourite acts to check out this year would be Satanic Dagga Orgy, Sun Xa Experiment and Wonderboom, to name a few... There will be only two bands from overseas as part of the festival's foreign-exchange programme.
Oppikoppi's official mascot is a bull terrier named Phleki (that'd be a play on the Afrikaans word vlek, referring to the dog's dark patch over his left eye). This mascot headed the 2016 creative campaign for the Gert Vlok Nel inspired The Unsea.
2017 was a very interesting and fun year for the Oppikoppi 2018 crew. They saw a Belgian investment, lots of experimentation with dates, acts, partnerships with their friends at Rocking the Daisies, and plenty of behind-the-scenes manoeuvring in the small bar. OK23 saw the festival move dates from the usual August long weekend (well, sort of) to October. For Oppikoppi 2018, the gang had a long hard look at where they are at, all the experimentation of 2017 and also where they want to go for the next decade or so. Out of this, the Oppikoppi 2018 crew narrowed it down to two things: Dust and Tunes. They are really happy to say that the festival will be moving back to August. No rain, no mud. Normal unadulterated chaos and hedonism, mixed with just enough tunes and friends. Nomakanjani, as it were.
Maybe you know this; maybe you don't. Either way, head over to Spotify, sign up for free and stream the official ruk en rol soundtrack to the fourth greatest music festival in the known universe. Featured artists include Spoegwolf, FPK, Black Cat Bones and Springbok Nude Girls, to name a few.
In 2005 the organisers thought it fitting to introduce the Afro-house duo Mafikizolo to the line-up. According to festival director, Misha Loots, the power went out during the first song, and the crowd lit up the stage with their camp torches, reflecting the proverbial rainbow nation we've all been yearning for.
Sticking to the guns honed by the forgotten art of the DIY 'zine, Oppikoppi publishes a collection of artwork, essays and poetry at the festival called Ons Klyntji (our little one), curated and edited by the legendary Toast Coetzer (travel writer, musician, poet, artist, Katu Vellies brand ambassador and TV star).
Albert Frost has played every single Oppikoppi to date. Yup, even the very first one when he was a lighty playing alongside his dad, Frank Frost (who has an Oppikoppi street named after him), in the legendary South African rock outfit, die Blues Broers.
In May 2017 the Flemish Minister of Culture, Media, Youth and Brussels Affairs, Sven Gatz, announced that Pukkelpop will be teaming up with Hilltop Live, the company that brings us Oppikoppi, to form a new company, Matchbox Live, which aims to grow music festivals in South Africa. Pukkelpop is one of the longest running music festivals in the world and has hosted a long list of A-grade artists. The finer details aren't well known but we're excited to see what comes out of this bromance!
Instead of taking up a bursary to study engineering, Carel Hoffman broke the news to his parents: he wants to host rock 'n roll parties on a farm in Northam. Now, 24 years later, Carel brags with the illustrious title "President for Life and very Primed Minister". We're excited to see what Carel Hoffman and the team have up their sleeves for the festival goers of Oppikoppi 2018.
No matter what – that's nomakanjani translated from isiZulu. That's the theme for OK24. Oh, and it's a 1999 hit song by the African queen of pop, Brenda Fassie. No matter what, there will always be an Oppikoppi, baby. In dust we trust!
What Is It?
OppiKoppi is back for its 24th year – can you believe it! And this year, the theme is Nomakanjani, inspired by a song by the legendary, Brenda Fassie classic. After 24 years, OppiKoppi is moving to the second week of August and will once again be bringing festival-goers a fantastic, strong and relevant South African and international lineup that you just can't dare to miss. Band announcements will be heading your way very soon. But in the meantime, get your tickets and start preparing yourself for an epic weekend like no other. Make sure you get your tickets now.
When Is It?
Thursday, 09 August 2018 to Saturday, 11 August 2018.
Where Is It?
Oppikoppi Farm, Northam, Limpopo.
How Much Is It?
Tickets cost between R 575 and R 675 per person and are available at Plankton.mobi.
For More Information
For more information about this event, click here.
5 - 7 Aug: OppiKoppi - For the lovely young taken to THE UNSEA
Oppikoppi is the highlight of the South African festival calendar, where festival-goers from around the country will flock to the most exciting (and daunting) event that SA has to offer. Set in a giant, rocky dustbowl, Oppikoppi is unlike any other festival out there and needs a fair amount of preparation. We have compiled a list that we hope will make your experience a whole lot easier.
We all know that guy who passes out before the main act even arrives at the venue ... don’t be that guy! As hardcore as it may make you feel, there’s no need for you to wake up and down 10 shots of tequila while half of Oppikoppi is still passed out from the night before.
Now, we’re certainly not saying that you shouldn’t get hammered … but you have three days of raucous partying to get through and you need to be able to stay standing for the most part. Everyone knows their limits and it would be sensible not to cross the “I’ve just vomited in my shoes” line. All we’re saying is that you need to pace yourself and all will (probably) go down smoothly.
Oppikoppi is a giant dustbowl covered in stray logs, rocks and broken bottles that tend to come out of nowhere. As great as the hot sand may feel between your toes, we highly recommend that you only wear closed shoes – one wrong step could ruin your entire experience and we don’t want that.
As soon as you arrive, we suggest that you take note of the locations of the medical and Red Frog tents. Don’t forget your prescription medication though as the Red Frogs generally only have the basics as well as some sugary sweets and water. They’re also there to convince the odd festival-goer that he is not being chased by a three-headed land shark but is, in fact, having the heaviest trip of his life and will be okay. The medics are there to help – put them to good use!
There’s nothing better than waking up at Oppikoppi and having a cold shower under the sun while hanging like a chandelier from your bender the night before.
Oppikoppi provides shower facilities and you should make use of them before your mates make you sleep in the sand. Wash your hands after using the loo and before and after eating to avoid the almighty gastro bug. For those of you that are really hardcore (which is basically most of the people at the event), a wet wipe bath and a bottle of water over your head will suffice.
Oppikoppi can get boiling hot during the day. Top that off with dust clouds and non-stop partying and I think you can see why staying hydrated is vital!
Keep a bottle of water handy and top up your system regularly, even when you don’t feel the need. There will be a stand in the entertainment area where you can buy an Oppikoppi-branded water bottle which will entitle you to unlimited refills for all three days. Get your bottle as soon as you arrive … you’ll thank us later.
Go with a group of mates that are there to do the exact same thing as you – have a massive party! From the start, collectively lay out a solid set of campsite rules for the entire squad to stick to and there should be no problems.
Oppikoppi has several stages and it’s easy for squad members with different music tastes to split up for a few hours. Set up a meeting time and spot so you can all regroup and have a jol together.
Who would say no to making new friends? Oppikoppi is filled with thousands of weird and wonderful people from all over the country who have loads in common with you. After all, we’re all going for the love of music!
Whether it’s someone standing next to you waiting for a band to start, a fellow drinker in the bar queue or someone who’s wandering around looking for their tent, stop and talk to some of them and you may end up with a new bestie.
Some of the greatest Oppikoppi memories are made while trying to hunt down your campsite. However, this is not a good enough reason to wipe your memory and forget where your temporary tented home is. Street names are clearly marked and it will be to your benefit to memorise your location (or at least write it on your arm).
A flag, some tinsel or some colourful Christmas lights chucked into a tree can be your saving grace when trying to find your tent. Don’t forget to take a torch!
We’re not saying you should map out your every move, but at the beginning of each day, make sure to go over the lineup and jot down the stage name and set times of the acts that you’d like to see (your arm will be an excellent drawing board for this).
Put some time aside to head back to the tent before the night session to get changed into warmer clothes, regroup, chill and grab a bite to eat. Remember to include bar time.
The days at Oppikoppi can be boiling and the nights freezing … so best you prepare for it all. You’ll mainly need to pack short sleeves for the day and at least a hoodie or jacket and some jeans for when the sun goes down.
On that note, we do tend to overheat while having it on the dance floor surrounded by fellow fest-goers, so bring a backpack with, in case you need to take those layers off.
Your campsite is not just a place to sleep – most mornings are spent recovering with your buddies and most nights end in a solid chill around a campfire. Make your campsite as comfortable as possible.
Set up your tents in a circle with a gazebo in the centre for everyone to chill under. Dig a fire pit and place some chairs around it for the squad to recover (make sure the fire pit is blocked off to avoid burning the entire place down). Temporary home sorted!
We hope that our survival guide will help you in preparing for the controlled madness that will inevitably go down at the 21st Oppikoppi. Each day is filled with an incredible international and local lineup that’s sure to keep those ears entertained for the entire weekend. We cannot wait!
Snacks and food
By Adam Lenhoff