The African Bush brings out the best in local music and dusty mangoes – Oppikoppi23 – Me, Now The Mango picker
In the literal sense, OppiKoppi is a colloquial phrase derived from ‘Op Die Kopi’ in Afrikaans or ‘on the hill’ in English.
Located in the grassy bushveld of the Limpopo province, South Africa. The festival represents the diverse and charismatic charm of the South African Arts and Music scene. What all started as an intimate gathering of roughly 400 music enthusiasts, has become a hallmark festival for an estimated 20,000 people.
Despite the festival predominantly being focused on rocking tunes from local bands, the dusty grounds offer up a little something for everyone, from drum and bass to jazz, and so much more. There are several stages dotted around the infamous farm, which offers festival goers the unique experience of hearing one genre and voice, and then moving on 50 metres and coming across something completely different.
The accommodation is what you would expect for this kind of soiree, dusty, bush camping in the African savannah, in an area that is affectionately known as ‘Mordor’. However if you have the cash to splurge, you can set yourself up in a ‘tented hotel’ for the glamping option.
The festival is known for kick-starting many local artist careers, however as the years have rolled on, the main stage has played hosts to artists such as, The Deftones, Sum41, Billy Talent, Bullet for my Valentine, Seether, Johnny Clegg, Twin Atlantic and Australia’s very own Flume.
The adventure began on a Thursday, I arrived bright eyed and ready to rock out and spend the next couple days living in my own wonderland. After pitching a tent and ensuring my whiskey was easily accessible and cooled to perfection. It was time to crack open a drink and assume the position, the whiskey went down well, and that oh so familiar festival buzz began to sink it.
Next it was time to roam the land and revisit the haunts of yesteryear. The bands had already begun serenading the eager crowds and my friends and I, embraced the good vibes.
After some time spent exploring the hunger set in, and I was in need of actual sustenance. When it comes to the cuisine offered up at festivals, you can either strike gold, or land up with food resembling coal. Oppi however seemed an exception. The variety of vendors means there is something for every taste, and level of sobriety.
South African bands are the best
The first highlight for me was seeing FuziGish my scar punk hero’s of my teenage years, and they are still just as amazing 10 years on. Their funky beats had me reliving the era when, admittedly I owned a fake ID.
The next treat for the ears is a South African band to keep your eye on, and they really pack a punch. The rising stars known as Boxer are hitting the local scene in a big way. Their unique voice and upbeat tunes will have you tapping your feet with a smile on your face in no time.
The four stages bring to you the rocking beats, but when it’s time to boogie the Red Bull stage or ‘Top bar’ offers up something a bit more electric. The walk to the Red Bull stage can be treacherous (if you take the shortcut), and if you are anything like me, a fall is probably on the cards at some point. But arriving on the hill gives light to a new dimension of the festival. DJ’s keep the party going well into the early hours of the morning. Naturally, it was on this hill that I enjoyed the remainder of my evening. With tequila in hand, Oppi was in full swing!
Day 2 began with bacon and egg rolls at camp before layering on the sunscreen and heading out for a full day of awesome music, sunshine and hangover recovery. The day itself was relaxed and easy going, just the way it should be. Then as the sun began to set, local bands such as the Cermaics , Nomadic Orchestra and Go Barefoot kept the dust dwellers jamming at fill tilt. All to warm us up for the international acts of that eve, The Naked and Famous and Two Door Cinema club Now, T / N / A / F stirred up emotions from my youthful years, and as for Two Door Cinema club, well let me tell you those men are champs, they had thousands rocking out despite the rain pouring down. With passion and good vibes that show has been flagged as an Oppi highlight.
By Day 3, your body has adjusted to mad amounts of walking, and camping next to those guys who have to play the bag pipes at 6am. It’s the day that the last of the dusty creatures crawl out of the wood work and everyone is ready to party.
After spending most of my morning avoiding sunlight and chilling at the campsite, it was only right to head out on an adventure, and adventure I did, well kind of. The Jack Daniels tent is a shady and cool spot, with a view of the main stage area and Jack Daniels on tap, yup how can anyone say no to free Jack! So that’s where my friend and I warmed up for the evening. Feeling strong with that Tennessee spirit we enjoyed some coffee, well, BlackCoffee. A Proudly South African DJ who flew out from his residency at Ibiza just to play Oppi! That guy hits the decks with pretty amazing skills. Just what we needed to get us going for Flume, and I must say Flume blew me away, the love from all of his fans, his excited presence on stage, and the amazing music, that right there was another magical Oppi moment.
With all the big artists being checked off my list, we made our way to Top Bar, for one last razzle with all the peeps. OppiKoppi proved to be another memorable adventure and is without a doubt a festival I will attend again, and again.