Oppikoppi again

We’re back from the bush after our second visit to the Oppikoppi festival, at the Oppikoppi  (‘on the koppie’ = hill) farm in the bush near the mining town of Northam in Limpopo province. We’re veterans now, and didn’t even blink at the awful fake Dutch windmill in Hartbeespoort, the misleading road signs in Brits, the rhesus monkeys scavenging along the Limpopo roads, or even at the dusty scenes at the campsite that seem straight from the third ring of hell. Getting closely acquainted with a wide variety of prickly thorn trees is just part of the game.

This edition of Oppikoppi was the first to be sold out. We had to go deep into the bush to find our preferred peripheral camping spot (though even from there the main stage was easy to hear), and the crowds – 99% white, most apparently also Afrikaans speakers – at the main performances were dense. It’s still winter here, so strangely the festival has some people walking around in bikinis or half naked during the 22°C heat of the day, and others wearing woolly hats and thick jackets fit for skiing for during the 4°C night – though many are too drunk to notice something as trivial as the temperature. With 13,000 people milling around, this edition was crammed – perhaps dangerously so. There’s only one entrance from the camping into the festival area, and this is along a narrow unlit road littered with badly parked cars. In the early evening a large crowd was pushing to get in, and I was just wondering how much is needed to get a drunk confused herd to stampede. Also the queues for the food stalls which crossed main walkways and the unmarked steel tent pegs sticking out of the ground here and there are things that will need to be addressed if the festival is to remain safe.

Our favourites this year were Wrestlerish, Billy Talent, and TUMI featuring Isochronous.

Drunk, up a tree.

The DJ stage, on the plains beyond is Northam town.

TUMI and Isochronous calling for a riot on the Bushveld stage.

View from the top of the koppie over the main stage, the camping area (smoke = braai) and the Limpopo hills beyond.


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