I have always been a huge fan of live music and performances in whatever shape and form they may present themselves and the “Unstoppable Phenomenon” which is OppiKoppi has always been and probably will always be my Number 1 event to attend every year, in August when the land is at its’s dustiest, the nights are at their coldest and the sun is practicing for summer over Northam. This time around I was lucky enough to attend the event as a media representative of Mixed Apples (another unstoppable phenomenon). As the count down was drawing to a close I could no longer contain my excitement and it was evident that I was going to make the most of this OppiKoppi Festival.
At the crack of dawn on the 8th, I was up and ready for action, Bags packed, cooler stocked and armed with an arsenal of marketing material I made my way to the convoy rendezvous point. In no time we were on the road and my excitement may or may not have led to me leaving the convoy behind to find their own way. Upon arrival, we checked in at the Harambee Hotel, which in it’s own right was an unforgettable experience on it’s own. Friendly staff and porters had my home away from home setup in no time at all.
Time to go find some familiar OppiKoppians, The beauty of this is that one can consider almost every one of the 20,000 strong crowd a friend, but still i had to find the guys I left behind. Like a thunderous roar the stages started banging with familiar sounds of South Africa’s best musical talents, “I am home!!”. Friends found, Cash Cards loaded and walking shoes (converted into party shoes) on I started to familiarize with the layout and headed straight up the Koppi to see the Red Bull stage and it’s usual glory of high energy music. The Beers start flowing and we are missing our dear friend Tequila! When life doesn’t stock lemons – Drink Lupini.
Hours turned into days and I find myself having a hard time keeping up with all the awesomeness on show but yet I manage to get myself around and see almost all the performances I had ear-marked and I was more and more mind-blown with each performance I watched. Some of the most notable performances in my opinion included 2Lani tha Warrior, Jullian Gomes, Bittereinder, Shortstraw, Zakes Bantwini, Dan Patlansky, Jack Parow, Mi Casa and Jeremy Loops (in no particular order).
However, as can be expected Saturday evening was the most incredible of them all, as a “relatively small” crowd began to gather at the James Philips Main Stage I was waiting with baited breath to see Robert Delong do his thing, “WTF!!” this guy is incredible, in no time the crowd was massive and everyone was left in awe by this youngster producing this insane electronic music right before our eyes! So began a night of pure musical miracles, Up next was something that will forever be in the Koppi books and listed as magical, Mango Groove, the age old Afro sound that stood up to apartheid had everyone filled with emotion and euphoria, this performance was just unreal and EVERYONE acknowledged this occasion, even Claire Johnston could not hide her emotions as she had everyone singing, dancing and smiling from ear to ear. I will never forget that moment. Of Course the showstopper was Deftones, struggling to stay awake and running out of my last bit of energy I made my way into the back of the crowd and waited. The crowd erupted into a roar of screaming, clapping, whistling and chanting! there they are, the most anticipated band of the weekend. As their insane set progressed one could feel the energy and passion radiating from the stage and it gave us all a much needed boost in spirit. The performance was remarkable and the way in which the band interacted with the crowd was proper cool, even taking items from the audience such as a blow-up sex doll and HUGE drinking funnel, these guys are serious entertainers! Whoa what a show! Now I’m tired and cold time for bed.
Just like that and the festival was over. Once again at the crack of dawn, we were on the road back to civilization. Now all I am left with countless awesome memories another countdown to the next OppiKoppi.