If I had to sum up Oppikoppi 2015: Fantastic Mr VosVos in just one word, that word would be “Rustig”. For those of you English-speaking citizens who do not understand the local taal (oops), “Rustig” is yet another way for the South African Nation to say “Chilled Vibes”. And that is exactly how ‘Koppi 21 was for me. Now you may be thinking, ”Oh em gee, that is sacrilege, Henry. You can’t have a rustige Oppikoppi. It is simply not done.” To you, Fellow Human, I say hear me out for a few moments more.
Oppi 21 started out as all Oppis do: with an insane amount of excitement and expectation.
“I wonder which international acts they are bringing to SA this year.”
“Oh, I hope they bring Super Band X this year. We have been dying for those guys to come to here.”
“No guys, obviously it is going to be The Awesome Y’s. They mentioned in a tweet that they will be in Africa around that time.”
And then as some of the most recent Oppis have gone, NONE of those bands were announced. In fact, no international act that you have ever heard of in your life was announced. Except for that cool Gypsy band who sung a song about wearing purple. What was their name again?
Now again, you may be wanting to scream out in some kind of unfounded rage, “No, Henry. You are wrong. I totally know Gogol Bordello, Brand New, Circle View, Twin Atlantic and Livingston’s music. I even know that Livingston’s lead singer is a South African dude named “Beukes”. “
To you, I say, “Good on you, Human Being. Your musical knowledge surpasses that of the common South African pleb and you should receive a medal. Or a Noddy Badge at the very least.”
Most of us, however, fall into the category previously mentioned. We go out, YouTube, Wikipedia, Soundcloud and do absolutely almost anything to find out who these bands are, what they sound like, and if you are that way inclined, what they look like.
We will listen to their music all day, everyday, just so that by the time ‘Koppi comes around, we can at least know the words to some of the choruses.
And it is for this very reason that Mr VosVos was so Rustig. Eventually you get tired of listening to a random band you have never heard of. Eventually you make peace with the fact that you are going to Oppikoppi and you probably don’t really have the intention of seeing all the international acts. So you get your friends together, rock up to Oppikoppi and actually just have the most chilled vibes weekend. You don’t feel the need to rock your face off. You know that in order to stay at this high of your relative low, you need to just keep taking enough tequila shots to stay there but not so many that you think your cousin seems like a good person to proposition.
Okay, okay, so the lineup wasn’t all doom and gloom. You knew that your teenage heroes, Tweak, would be making a come back (and your 23 year old self completely hates your 13 year old self at this point). Francois Van Coke, Karen Zoid, Albert Frost, Toya Delazy, Parlotones, aKing, AKA, December Streets, Bye Beneco, and PHFat (just to name a few) were all going to be there, and you knew that South Africa’s local talent was going to be good enough for you.
A special mention needs to go out to New Academics, Janie Bay and Al Bairre (I may be biased on this one) for having the best sets that I saw this past weekend.
An even bigger special mention must go out to the Johnny Clegg Tribute. This man is an absolute hero and legend in our history and getting the opportunity to see him perform in front of a home crowd of 15 000+ people was a once in a life time opportunity that I will never forget.
Then, no review and write-up would be complete without a few things about the festival in general (I’m talking about things other than the music).
I’m not sure if I’m the only person who noticed, but ‘Koppi seemed smaller this year. Is it because of the cruddy international lineup? Is it because Deji Dada wasn’t there to pull the crowd? Maybe. Who knows? But this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. This year’s festival was more intimate, the music more meaningful and the crowds who pitched up for certain artists genuinely wanted to be there. It didn’t feel like you were going to be crushed in some kind of stampede. Definitely a plus in my book.
Even though there were less people, stocks of a few things, like the coveted Oppikoppi hoodies, ran out very quickly. Trying to get a hoodie with your case of Windhoek would have made you one unhappy camper.. The hoodies were all gone by Thursday night! THURSDAY NIGHT!!! Oppikoppi only officially started on Friday. And there were less people than previous years. Windhoek, if you are reading this: get your act together. I think that you are going to find a lot of people boycotting the system next year if you don’t make some kind of guarantees.
One thing I do have to mention, and I’m sure many of you will agree with me on this one, is how absolutely horrific the porta-loos were. I’m not sure if they were using different chemicals, but you needed to take a gas mask with you if you wanted to do anything inside one of them.
As I said, Oppikoppi 2015: Fantastic Mr VosVos wasn’t all doom and gloom. Yes, there are some things that I think Oppi management need to seriously think about if they are to consider the future of ‘Koppi, but this year’s festival has been one of my absolute favourites simply because it was so Rustig.