When we die one day, hopefully everyone would have had the taste of an Oppi Koppi weekend. It was my first and while I’ve gone to a few local festivals, I didn’t quite feel like I had roped in enough knowledge about how to prepare myself for Oppi. I figured that no one can really prepare. All you need to do is embrace the unpredictability of dust-covered blankets, buckets full of ill-prepared vodka mixes and the characters we meet along the way. And there are definitely characters that will stand out in their entire hippie, boertjie, poppie, festival junkie state. I didn’t know where I quite fitted in – I was the first-timer with all the excitement I could hold. From Boom Street to Foktrappies, I encountered people who hung on people, the exposed backs and bums of tall dancers who wanted to share their history, music, cigarettes or whatever dear potions they mumbled off. From pyjama outfits to animal suits, the festival allows for a balls-to-the-wall sense of being – anything goes, anyone goes.
And I kept thinking “Why haven’t I done this sooner?”
There might be a cloud of dust in your throat (the dust was not an understatement that’s for sure) and hard ‘beds’ to go home to (if you happen to remember where your camp is) but there will be an emotion that will trump it all – that you’re in a congregation that adores music and the coming-together of fans or people who just want to break free from the mindless, day-to-day tik-tik-tiking on their keyboards. Perhaps, Oppi is an annual bite of heaven; or something that everyone aspires to after they turn 21: an ever-present youth.
From Jeremy Loops’ seductive, crowd-pleasing antics to the drawl of Mr. Folk in Matthew Mole, the congregation moved like everyone knew everyone. From new experiences in Bye Beneco and the chilled vibes in Al Bairre and Beatenberg, Oppi seemed to churn out musicians in their element. From the absolute mastery of Bittereinder on stage to Crash Car Burn’s old favourites, it seemed that everything that reminded people of work and life and bills and comfort disappeared. And for now we were all experiencing Oppi 2013 in all its glory – and my first one. With the “awe ma se kinders” from Jack Parow to Yellowcard’s flashback to our teenage angst, there was no better way to spend a weekend.
And with the Redbull Stage demonstrating the liberty of dance while the rock stages attracted oldies with ‘Oppi ‘92’ t-shirts, there was an acceptance of all. And yes, we’re all somewhat segregated with our different likes and dislikes but there is no hostility. A music festival is so different and maybe we can all act like perfect friends in that environment because it seems other-worldly; like we’re spending a weekend in an un-burstable bubble away from daily news reports.
The chit-chattering of 4am teeth when the winter seems too long
Deep-dark thumbles and chapped lips
The knocking of portaloo friends and the stink of
wine, smoke, dust
as the sun sets and we order our desserts
The round glasses, the cowboy hats and penguin hats
Coats and jeans and underwear mismatched
And we’re all out of place
The dying, cold fires and tornados of air
The bounce of half n’ half
The colours that make us
All the same but entirely different
The hipster cools
The local wanderers
The zebra pack and whistles late at night
The scream and crackle of the braai
And the ‘good morning, round three’ calls
Couches that are planted in tradition
And flags like pirates after the bounty
The promise of a one-day shower
Why thank you Oppi…