CHRIS VAN DER MERWE
Northam. 4 August 2011. The pearly gates of Oppikoppi appear before the windscreen. The smell of dust and stale alcohol permeate through the air conditioning. The friendly folk of Oppikoppi make their way to the drivers’ window. You have arrived at the Mecca of local music festivals.
Oppikoppi Unknown Brother was the 17th annual Oppikoppi festival and it was one for the books.
Good times were had, awesome music could be heard throughout the Oppikoppi farm and there were even rumours of an engagement or two going down.
The Oppikoppi festivals have always been notorious for the high levels of debauchery throughout the weekend. Oppikoppi Unknown Brother was no different. It all started on Friday 5 August, with the best that local music has to offer. Bands such as Alleen na Desember, Isochronous and the legendary Fuzigish entertained the crowds. The whole set-up was pretty well-organised and maintained throughout the day. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect festival. This was clear to all those present when the microphones stopped working during eF-eL’s performance of their song “Sindikaat”. Luckily for all the fans, eF-eL were good enough sports to redo the song at the end of their performance.
This was not the only technical difficulty of the weekend: a speaker also cut out during Jax Panik’s performance on Saturday night. And on Sunday night, Lark fans were kept waiting as the band at the neighbouring stage ran over time.
Nevertheless, the show must go on.
The sun rose over the horizon on Saturday morning to greet some of the Oppikoppi-goers still going strong from the previous night’s party. Hangovers were inevitably experienced all over the farm but with a quick dose of some McNab’s energy pills, the party continued.
The December Streets and The Lise Chris Band got the day off to a rocking start with some chilled yet dance-worthy music. But this was just the beginning. The day continued to deliver some memorable performances from the likes of local Pretoria band Allan John, as well as Holiday Murray, Bittereinder and Van Coke Kartel.
Live bands weren’t the only thing to see though: there was some breathtaking drum and bass, dubstep and even trance to lose yourself in, courtesy of the Redbull Music Studio at the top of the famous koppie. Well-known DJs such as Hyphen and Double Adapter rocked the turntables while the few Oppikoppi troopers still brave enough to carry on partying danced the night away.
And then it arrived: the last day of Oppikoppi. Some woke up with a sudden pain in their hearts at the realisation that Oppikoppi was just one day away from being done for the year. But as quickly as that realisation came, an epiphany hit the whole of Oppikoppi – this was the last day to give it your absolute all.
Sunday was without a doubt the day with the best line-up of the whole weekend. There was something for everyone. Groups such as Die Tuindwergies, Tumi and Dance, You’re On Fire gave it all they had and the crowds did the same.
The highlight of the weekend was the David Kramer tribute show. The legend himself jammed all his classics, such as “Meisie Sonder Sokkies” and “Stoksielalleen”. A range of guest artists appeared, such as Tamara Dey and our own Pretoria boy, Jaco van der Merwe of Bittereinder. The night ended with spectacular live performances from American rockers The Used and Canadian punk band Sum 41.
All in all, Oppikoppi Unknown Brother was unlike any Oppikoppi before it. It was the first to feature two big names in international rock music. The festival’s own unique banking system was also introduced – which had its pros and cons.
There is a lesser-known sickness that hits people who leave Oppikoppi on that Monday known as the post-koppi blues and Perdeby is suffering from it. The only thing left to do is sit down and count the days until next year’s instalment of South Africa’s biggest music festival.
Photo: Charné Fourie