BEYERS DE VOS
On the first day, there is vodka.
There is also the usual admin to sort out – bank cards, merchandise, breakfast – followed by an inspection of the bigger, better entertainment area. The new stage, Wesley’s Dome is awesome (later in the weekend Enter Shikari will make full use of it to blow minds away).
The rest of the day is a summer haze seen through vodka-tinted glasses. Lazy strolls through Mordor (as the camping area is very affectionately known) and visits to the more arty corners of Oppi, where exhibitions and film screenings give respite from the more fervent aspects of the festival, dominate the afternoon.
And then, to the stages! The line-up is a little bleak until Southern Gypsey Queen. They are celebrating their tenth Oppi with a great performance, and the likes of Flash Republic and Taxi Violence put on their usual good (if slightly uninspired) shows. The best performance of the day is given by Beast (followed closely by Bittereinder), which, despite deficiencies (mainly the fact they aren’t, and will never be, as good as Lark), steal the night with their dark, powerful sound. But after they strike the last chord, and the last note of Inge Beckman’s truly awesome voice fades into the night, the trek up the famed Koppi begins, because the party is far from over. Here lies a last refuge for the drugged and the dancing: the Red Bull stage, where you can party until sunrise to the rhythmic beating of endless dubstep and electro.
On the second day, there is tequila. At Oppikoppi the days are warm and breezy, the nights are long and freezing and tequila is a drink for all weather. So, a few minutes (and a few shots) to charge phones at the nifty Jose Cuervo charging station (because even at Oppi, the habitual appeal of Twitter will not be ignored) and then up to the Jose Cuervo deck (ignore the product placement in this paragraph, please) where the tequila flows freely and the view is spectacular; the perfect sanctuary.
Today, the line-up gets a little more interesting. Jeremy Loops and Bombay Show Pig bring a folky mood to the afternoon. Friday night sees great performances from Desomond and the Tutus and Babylon Circus (they hail from France. Go and buy all their records right now, if you know what’s good for you) and truly awful performances from Thieve and Toya Delazy (lip synch, much?). In fact, Thieve is presented with the award for worst performance of the weekend. This wasn’t what fans had been hoping for, and the cries of disappointment will echo through Northam for the rest of the weekend.
On the third day, there are the Eagles of Death Metal. Who even knows what happened before the Eagles of Death Metal took to the stage – at this point, more drunk than can be remembered, dirtier than anyone will ever be again, memory is a luxury no one can afford. Eagles are maybe not the most anticipated of the international bands, but they are certainly the best, giving a high-octane performance oozing with sexy rock and roll, which is, after all, what Oppikoppi is really all about.
And for the most part, it lives up to this ideal, and becomes, as usual, the highlight of the year. The bigger entertainment area, the new stages, the bars dotted around the camping site, accommodated the bigger crowds with ease. The naked run gives new meaning to the phrase: “rock out with your c**k out, jam out with your clam out”. The food is as good as ever, the hippies as happy as ever, the atmosphere pervaded by the sweet smell of hedonism at its most glorious.
Then, on the fourth day (insert sad sigh here), there are the post-festival blues. People, rising like zombies from a post-apocalyptic landscape, scrounge up the energy to pack up the broken and the bruised and brave the long road back, arriving home dirty, dusty, defeated – until next year. Oppikoppi, you sweet thing.