In 2009 I was Smoorverlief, 2010 I saw some Sexy.Crooked.Teeth, 2011 saw me meeting an Unknown Brother, last year saw such a Sweet Thing…
And 2013 is the year of the BEWILDERBEAST.
Every year we go through the same thing, the excitement builds, the anticipation of seeing some great acts on one stage, THE dust, about 20k+ folks taking over the city of Northam!
It is Oppikoppi 2013 time in 14 days folks, FOURTEEN DAYS!!!!!!
Yes I am terribly excited by the amount of !!! above.
This year Oppikoppi takes place from the 8th of August till the 10th of august, that is 3 days of the best local music to offer, with a few international acts to boot. The theme for this year is BEWILDERBEAST. “Bewilderbeast was inspired by the name of an absolutely classic album by Badly Drawn Boy. (“The hour of the Bewilderbeast”: look it up, buy it, repeat it and love it. If you like tunes, this album has to be in your collection.). ”
And every year, as is the case this year again, there are folks who ask “why is this act playing?” or “why isn’t this act playing?” <- this is not limited to the general public, there are bands who ask the same questions re:Koppi.
Seeing these comments and questions sparked a debate in my head, if you know me you will know there are enough voices to hold down such a debate 😀
I then wondered what it takes to actually decide on a line-up, the likes that we see at Koppi, or any festival/event for that matter and two things came to my mind.
Relevance and Significance. Are some of these acts meeting the criteria that Koppi has set out? How does this all work?
I then posed this question to some folks who, in my opinion, work damn hard to bring us these events & whose work ethos is high up there and they are the ones running around spending long hours, days, weeks, months making all these events we are SO fortunate enough to see, happen!
This was what they had to say..“In my view, a significant act is an artist who has shaped and moulded a genre or specific musical style that has influenced many, if not all, of the upcoming and new acts today. Bringing artists such as Metallica, Deftones, Skunk Anansie and the Kings Of Chaos tour to SA is hugely significant to everyone as it shows the professionalism and drive that these bands have to carry on even though they have reached the top of their game already. Relevant acts are those that could be very popular at a certain time in a genre’s lifespan but might lack the longevity to carry on for 20 or 30 years. I believe that the two factors go hand in hand with each other and an act can’t be significant without first being relevant to a market.” – Pocock, Mike “Some people are confused on the true meaning of word “Relevant”. One DJ/Blogger complained that RHCP and Metallica were not relevant and even though he did not like Lady Gaga, she was. Just because a band has been around for a while does not mean they are not relevant – if they released a record less than 2 years ago and still tour – They are relevant. Someone like The Police are not relevant.” – Cool, Gary “An act is relevant when it is current, so when a band successfully releases an album, there are new singles on radio and they are playing major international festivals, success in this department is hard to capture for South Africa as the acts are generally expensive with incredibly busy touring schedules, but the most relevant of late would be Awolnation, Alt-J and Two Door Cinema Club for me. That’s without looking at Big Concerts or more commercial acts.
Significant on the other hand is easier, but open to interpretation – so genre defining acts with a strong underground following and/or multiple past successful albums. Travelling significant acts to South Africa is generally more accessible as genres and personal tastes differ and their touring schedules aren’t quite as heavy. Personally for me the best would be Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Deftones, Eagles of Death Metal and Prodigy. I don’t listen to metal and punk rock so I’m sure others would find more relevance in other acts.” – Zietsman, Maryke “All acts are mostly relevant and significant.
Most of the acts that bring come out of voting polls from the fans themselves.
Other times it is due to album releases and touring routes.” – Lee, Marcelle “An act is relevant if they have had some sort of a track history in the SA market, and have a fan base and some people would appreciate watching them live.
An act is Significant if they have changed the course of a majority of people’s lives in some sort of way…i.e.: most people love them – a Super group of some sort. Of course, some acts can be massively significant to one person and hugely relevant to another, but not vice versa.” – Olivier, Joanne
**please note names have been changed to protect the innocent – Ed
As can be seen from the above, there has to be a balance. And I believe Koppi meets this quite well. Think of it, they manage to get 100 plus local acts + Internationals together for a whole weekend entertaining thousand, and at a damn good price!
This train of thought then had be pose a few questions to Misha from Oppikoppi to get some clarity on “How it all works?” and what it takes to put together a festival of this magnitude, this is what he had to say..
How are the acts that are booked for Koppi decided?
We look at the votes, opinions in the office, and opinions of friends in the industry and try and get a nice mix of headliners, and young new talent.
On this, what criteria does an act have to meet to be a definite on the Koppi line-up?
We must like the music. First and foremost.
Then it helps to have the package, strategy, buzz, and a good agent/manager, someone that can push you and sell you to promoters. But without the tunes none of that helps.
Who exactly picks the line-up for Koppi?
We have the artist department, but we value opinions of anyone in the office who likes music. The extended family is also involved in the process and have strong opinions. All in all there are many years of loving tunes forming the back-bone of the OK crew.
A few local acts feel they “deserve” a slot on a Koppi stage as they have been in the industry “for years” what can they and any upcoming act do to ensure that the Koppi team will notice them and even consider them, if not for a slot at Koppi, maybe another Hilltop Live event?
It has a lot to do with the buzz around an act. There are acts that have been around a long time but never really had a buzz about them. They are harder to book. But it is a funny industry ’cause it sometimes works the other way around as well. An act can be great at generating buzz but have empty shows – that happens now and again. Years ago a Dutch promoter friend told me that an artist is worth the amount of tickets at their last show and that kind of stuck. The best advice I think is that an artist should work to have a successful career, not a set at a festival. The set will come if the rest is right.
When picking an international act, most people do not know the hard work that goes into locking down the deal; can you give us brief of what it takes time frames, possible cost involved and general breakdown to secure an International Act for Koppi?
There are two of us who work on this. It is all about timing in the end. The dates and the money must work. Often these are conversations that span over a few years, looking at different shows/periods until the right one sticks. We go through a very long list of possible acts before we finally get something that works. We are fortunate to have very good relationships with many agents and a lot of big international acts are now starting to ask to play the festival. But yes, it is hard work, loads of hours, loads of money and ton of good luck that makes this work.
How does the Koppi team ensure they reach the diverse market out there?
We listen to our fans as much as possible. People don’t think those voting polls count but they do. And we have a bunch of friends in and out of the industry whose opinions we value and who always puts us onto the next hot act they come across.
What is the weirdest submission from an act Koppi has received to get on the line-up?
In the old days we used to get some interesting packages but these days it is all online. Had some weird, distinctly non-Oppikoppi acts try their luck though – people that perform under their name, like Frikkie.
If we look at the history of Koppi, it definitely has grown from strength to strength, what else can fans expect in the years to come?
We are constantly looking at creating experiences and moments that will make the show memorable. There are lots of lists of tricks we are working on and defining in the back end. It is about the whole experience and not just the music on stage, although that is what brings everyone together. In the end it is about having fun. We believe that if we are having fun we are halfway there and on the right track. So far so good.
Next year the festival is also 20 years old, which is almost unbelievable – the fact that we actually survived 20 years of hedonism – so we are planning some really nice things for that birthday party.
Hopefully this answers all this burning questions you have and gives you an insight into what it takes to bring you all these acts to one farm! And what you as an act can do to make ensure they notice you/your band!
So just a reminder:Oppikoppi 8,9,10 Aug 2013 Gates open from the 6th. Brief survival kit: The days are hot, nights are cold. bring clothes to match this. it can be very cold. water. pain killers. anti-histamine. antacid. sunblock. a hat or two. a bandanna for the dust. wet wipes, you can never have enough, if you think you do, get 100 more. plastic water bottle/s to decant your booze. no glass allowed in festival arena. they serve tons of festival food, burgers/chip&dip etc. if you like, bring fruit that can keep for days, oranges/bananas. this is to eat around your camp site when you do not wanna walk to the arena to eat. the above generally allows me to survive all that Koppi brings!
You never know what you can win!!
To get yourself prepared for the incredible acts, check out the Oppikoppi – Bewilderbeast 2013 album. Available now on iTunes!
See you all in the dust, soon…!