It finally happened mama! Your son is official an Oppikoppian!
Okay… so like everyone else, I too have a bucket-list which got shorter this past weekend as I partied my youth away on the dusty Oppikoppi street farm for three consecutive days.
Initiated in ’94, this year’s festival was themed “The Odyssey” and was conceptualized by the AAA School of Advertising (CPT). Inspired by Greek mythology, the concept is explained as:
“The entire Trojan campaign lasted 10 years, thereafter Odysseus / Ulysses travelled another 10 more until he was reunited with Penelope on his home island Ithaca.
10 + 10 = 20
OppiKoppi = Odyssey. Even if you are not mathematically inclined, the connections sounded too good to be true.”
Over 120 artists and 20 000 dusty folks swarmed the property to attend this massive event. That earns the organizers one heck of a round of applause.
Kings Events Co. got me and a group of other attendees to Oppi round about 3pm but, me being the newbie that I am – overwhelmed by “toddlerish” excitement – I got lost… Sigh! But because I was at Oppikoppi, I was surrounded by the most gracious souls. With their help, I managed to find my way around the farm. I was even offered a lift by a foreign visitor (who had an American accent) that was apparently there to write an article about South Africa. She even went as far as offering me a cordial invitation to use her car as my bed for the duration of Oppi… I had to decline the beguiling offer though. With all that in mind, referring to them as “nice people” feels like such an understatement. I mean, even the security/maintenance guys were open to the idea of adopting me as a friend.
As the first day progressed, I found my way to the media centre to prepare my equipment for the acts that would be performing later on that evening. It came as no surprise to me that Muzi murdered the RedBull Stage with his strangely produced sounds. That fella certainly kicked off the festival on a high note. Thereafter, the Joburg-based band Newtown Knife Gang left the James Phillips stage in awe; they were truly my highlight for the first day. DJ Doowop made a bomber, clotting the eardrum with various insane drops of those dubstep tunes, accompanied by the non-stop dancing of Lex Lafoy.
I was awake by 3am the next day and made a nest by the fire outside the sleeping tent while I took in the vista of the sun as it peeked over the hill’s outline. It started off as a dull Friday so I decided to do a roundabout through the camp sites and the sun befriended my skin in a very intimate manner.
Regarding day 2’s performances? OH MY GOD… Matthew Mole, Ganges of Ballet, Zebra & Giraffe, HHP, PH Fat and the most diabolic Dookoom kept the crowds (and myself) dancing the day away… Are you still drooling? As for the rest of it – my images will do the talking
Adapting to everything; the dust, the mucus, the minuscule amounts of sleep, the body aches, dirty fingernails, the sweat, the never ending enthusiasm, the screams, the chants and the familiar aura of strangers… Odyssey was truly epic.
Even through the racial slurs from drunk mouths hovering around at night that had me cringing with disappointment, all in all, it was a great experience.
The large number of fun elements through the festival did not distract from the music which is the heart of the festival. And what a music fest it was.
I am without a doubt going back next year however, I will be well prepared this time around.
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Words and Photography by @Ric3hard