Oppikoppi is 5 months away. Reading a guide now should be the last thing on your mind but I’ve been getting progressively more and more excited since Sowing the Seeds – JHB so I wrote this. You will read this post, enjoy it, agree if you’ve been to Oppikoppi* before and forget about it until the week or perhaps even the day before Oppikoppi Sweet Thing, the 9th of August 2012.*The guide applies to all camping, outdoor, music festivals and there’s a fantastic packing list under the “Be over-prepared” section.
Oppi-what? Koppi? Huh?
Oppikoppi is South Africa’s biggest music festival. We’re talking about attendance numbers reaching the thousands, in fact, Oppikoppi has enjoyed two years of not providing gate tickets because all 16 000 tickets were sold out before the festival began. This year Oppikoppi is increasing attendance numbers to 20 000 people but you could still be that awkward person without a ticket. The festival always happens over three days. You’ve probably heard about the summer heat, winter cold, camping, endurance partying, pesky African thorned plants and the dust that will have you blowing out dark brown muck for a days. You’re going to want to have the best experience and I suggest you pay attention to this guide because it is drawn up from experience and at least 20 websites offering festival advice from all over the world.
- Pick the right friends
If you go to Oppikoppi with a group of friends then the only criteria for your friends is that they should be like you, unless you’re a megalomaniac bitch.You’ll want someone to agree with you when you set down rules like, “Our tent is off-bounds for sex” and “Do not puke in the tent”. Similar party styles, as in not partying with a prude, and similar tastes in the music present at the festival are wins. It’s not the end of the world if you’re different because you can do 2. and make other friends.
- Don’t be afraid to go off on your own
You might not get on with your friends, or the people at your camp site, because you didn’t listen to 1. so go off and meet new people. Actually you should do this even if you’re a Siamese twin. You’ll find new friends chilling at the bar or at the front of the stages. Be friendly and remember having a lighter on you is always a good conversation starter even if you don’t smoke. You might actually be forced to meet new people if you get lost trying to find your campsite because you didn’t bring a giant sign or forgot to memorise the route back to your tent.
- Be over-prepared
This is a standard with travel but especially so with Oppikoppi. You might disagree with me but I’d rather over-prepare. I’ve attached a complete list (http://db.tt/2BcnkHVi).You can leave off a lot of the stuff there but I will highlight some important things.
The first thing is related to sleeping arrangements. You’re going to camp unless you decide to stay in Hotel Kreef. If you leave your tent and sleeping bag you will suffer; don’t even think of sleeping in the car. I suggest bringing ear plugs so you can sleep in without being woken up by loud, probably still drunk people at 6am.
The second thing is you’re going to need is tons of water. There is no running water in Mordor, the main camping area, only the bathrooms near the festival area have water. So things like brushing your teeth and washing your hands become a mission. You also need to drink lots of water to combat the hangover and stay mildly healthy.
You’ll probably need wellingtons or sturdy boots. I mentioned that dust. Try wear your pretty sandals, slops or even All-Stars. This isn’t Rocking the Daisies, you will have dust up to your knees if your legs are not covered.
You need to factor in the cold. It will get cold and no amount of dancing and alcohol will warm you up once you’re cold. Pack winter clothes even though it will hit 30 degrees during the day.
Last thing, you don’t have to bring massive amounts of food. There will be food stalls with good food. High maintenance food, food that requires braaing on the second day will not be cooked and will give you food poisoning when you try to cook it on the last day. I hate chip rolls which are a staple so I suggest apples and muesli bars to keep you going.
- Tricks to endurance party
Endurance partying is tiring. It will impact your epic jam with bloodshot eyes, sore feet and low energy levels, if you don’t know how to prepare for it. The trick is pretending you’re at home during the day, until you “go out”, even though you are “out” already. In the morning you’ll sit in the shade, eat proper meals, have a fat chill and lay off heavy drinking until late afternoon. Once it’s time to “go out” you can hit the drinks hard, but just hard enough to maintain a happy level. If you’re feel yourself slipping then stop for a bit otherwise you’ll land up like this guy:
When you eventually get tired hit the Monster and Double Vodka or in the case of Oppikoppi it will probably be the Bos Ice Tea Energy or Red Bull. At the stages you are of course wearing comfy shoes but when you’re dancing away try and avoid jumping. The excessive force of jumping probably halves your endurance levels. If you feel a headache coming then go grab some shots. You should survive 20 hours of being awake and good 14 of those hours spent dancing and drinking. I’m so good at this that I should quit engineering and go study party science.
- Attitude check
Remember anything goes at Oppikoppi. You’re going to see weird people and you really won’t mind. In fact you might want to be weird too. So take those fun costume items that are dusted in the back of your cupboard from long-ago 21sts. Also don’t be a bitch or a jerk, no one cares.
- Fun extras
Ice runs out very quickly. By the second day you’re hustling for a cold drink and there is something siff about choking down a warm Black Label to get over your hangover. One website suggested that you stack dry ice at the bottom of your cooler box, then a layer of cardboard and on top of that your ice. The dry ice will keep your ice frozen for the duration of the festival. However if you do this then you have to make sure you remember to close your cooler box. Otherwise it comes to nothing.
Pop-Up tents are legit! While you spend time setting up your tent I will sit and watch you.
You might also want to use some technical skill and construct a portable fan.
- The Red Bull Stage is the best stage at Oppikoppi
You should know this in advance! I got to see incredible acts like Sibot, Sedge Warbler, Double-Adapter, Liver, Tommy Gun, MoeJoe and Niskerone. You’re going to have the time of your life there. It’s like you’re in a different world when you’re at the Red Bull Stage.
There is also deep house for those that roll that way. I’m an electrohead but I still dance. You should probably check out I Like Electro (You Should Too) for more info about some of the artists, click here.
I do hope you’ll be joining me in the trek to Oppikoppi, months from now. It will change your life for the better. You might camp for the first time, as was my experience and discover that you’re a camping master, but at the very least you’ll be blown away by South Africa’s music at its best.