It comes around once a year. The excitement as the days get closer becomes palpable. Then D-Day arrives, and if you were lucky enough like me, you found yourself at OppiKoppi 22: For the lovely young taken to the Unsea!
Explaining to those who have never been, and those who have an ‘idea’ of what Koppi is, basically Oppikoppi is “The Best Fun You Never Knew You Wanted To Have“.
And this statement can be attested by the thousands who has made the pilgrimage from near and far back to Northam for the last 22 years. Twenty Two whole years, they must be doing something right? Right!
Sitting now and reflecting on the whole experience, at one point mid-fest you get to “Thanks Koppi, I want my bed now”, however soon as that is achieved a few days on, I am at that point going “How much longer till we do it all again?!”
Some of the moments I managed to witness in The UNSEA include:
- Spending some great times with friends you don’t get to see often, and a timeout with those you do. Catching up and talking music. Willim Welsyn shredding at the Top Bar. Hearing Nakhane Toure singing out loud in the dusty plains of the Northam Bushveld. Thieve rocking ‘Last Day December’ to help us remember. Art Snakes making their debut on James Phillips. Werner, Stef & Jason reminding us how talented they just are! The Plastics rocking ‘Stereo Kids’ pumping their Psychedelic Indie Pop tracks. Khuli Chana brought his bit to Skellum Stage with his winning raps and rhymes.
- Bittereinder have always been a tight act, Friday night on Main Stage they reminded every single reveler of this. Everything about their performance was solid. Sound so good off of that stage my ear plugs popped out of my ears. I even saw one fan throw up from the vibrations emitted from that world class sound setup.
- Boosh, a regular Sunday vibe for most Joburgers, made its way to Northam. So if you know me, you know I have a soft spot for Shortstraw. And OPPIBOOSH was one for the books. Songbird Adelle Nqeto’s voice filled the farm from Bruilof Stage as she started off this what I hope to be a regular at the next couple of Koppi’s. Gangsterdam, Tidal Waves,Rambling Bones The Hip Replacements, Crystal Spark and We Are Charlie all did their thang. The Shortstraw boys ended off OppiBoosh and reminded all why “BITCHES LOVE SHORTSTRAW” 😉
- Boxer have shown why they’re a band to keep an eye on with a great performance on Main Stage.
- We managed to return to the infamous scene of the crime, the Jose Cuervo Deck. Hosting a bunch of fans and media, ice-cold slushies, good meals and flowing shots ensured all did in fact ‘Party Like a RockStar!’ all whilst New Academics belted out a bunch of tracks that got the masses jamming.
A massive THANK YOU to the Jose Cuervo team for much needed “timeout” on that beautiful deck. Welcome BACK!
- A special mention has to go to Academie, mad how many people reminded me how I missed one of the best sets seen at Koppi. To every act that hit the Top Bar Stage, you guys made those melodies wave across the farm too!
- Saturday night, Main Stage, Riky Rick made one and all come out to dance and sing along. He brought those ‘Family Values’!! I absolutely love the fact that everyone and I mean EVERY ONE came out to this one. Love that hip hop headline acts are becoming a ‘norm’!!
- Shall we talk about that sex in a voice, I mean aKing taking stage, all who took their spot at Main Stage sang along like Laudo was crooning at just them. Aking never disappoint.
- Those Cape Town boys Grassy Spark hit James Phillips to a solid crowd. Described as “They blend ska with rock, funk, reggae, Latin and more all coming together to form a unique sound that is fueled by the love they have for music and the diversity of tastes and culture that cooks in the Mother City.” I firmly believe this extends to more than Cape Town but all of SA and further shores I hope. They totally owned their performance from beginning to end. Cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of ‘Portal‘ their debut album released today.
- ‘Fok-Of‘ ‘Fok-Of‘ ‘Fok-Of‘ is all you heard chanted as Main Stage held its biggest crowd for Koppi, IMO. There are no real words to describe how incredible the Fokofpolisiekar performance was, and always is. Franna reminds us every time he takes stage why he is one of SA’s leading front men. He makes grown men cry. Every. Single. Time.
- Managing a light mission to Red Bull stage, 2 of the acts that stood out, Nonku Phiri and first time Koppi performer Ella G. I cannot wait to see them take stage next year once again.
- Sadly, the Unhappy Hour DJ’s left me and many other at Top Bar, unhappy. The dance remix mashups are a no-go guys. It took a bit of time, but eventually the managed to almost get us happy again, mashup-less…
- DJ Ready D’s performance on Main Stage reminded us all why he was so deserved of the Special Tribute Belt for his years of sharing the music.
- Josh Kempen, This guy. That voice. Those lyrics. That performance. I cannot wait for his album!
- Asanda Mqiki another great performer to keep an eye on. Speaking of great performers, Ruby Gill. Man alive can she sing. Lyrics that speak to everyone. I remember Gerald Clark saying “Daai Ruby Gill is phenomenal. Sy’t my laat huil!” I love that Koppi finds these gems to share with us all.
- Let’s talk #SlumAmerican, Southern Rock Rapper Yelawolf. It has been ages where a performer takes stage at Koppi and has EVERYONE talking about one of the most incredible stage performances to date. He was honest about his life & music. And mentions his momma. What a guy.
- Admittedly I only knew the name August Burns Red, I had a listen the months leading to Koppi. All I thought was “Fuck, this is hard” And hard it was, there’s always a first for everything I say. But from start to end, those hard-core metal rockers kept the crowd fans going.
- Saddest part about the Kongos performance, was that it felt like it had just started before massive smoke barrels were going off for ‘I’m Only Joking’ signalling the end of their performance. Always solid on stage.
- The biggest smile on a performer starting his set all weekend has to go to DJ BOB as he started the finale of parties, right there in the Top Bar. Everyone had made the final mission up that hill for one last round. And what a final round it turned out to be. A nice little thank you and farewell to the farm/. Until next year.
- Oh, a special mention has to go out to ANG, she closed off the Red Bull stage, a performance I sadly could not make, however was listening too from the comfort of my tent. That is until she played so hard that my cars alarm eventually went off and I had to leave said comfort of my tent to sort that out. Great set ANG.
- P.S. The SABC can learn something about 90% local from the booking team, read G-Willy & JM, who had over 120 acts on the bill, and majority made up of local talent!
A weekend filled with music, out in the bushveld on a beautiful terrain. Seeing old friends and making new friends, having a random or 5 share their drink with you, having some guy as for a piece of gum, and when you do he hugs you and tells you “you are a lifesaver dude. I love you“, this is truly what Oppikoppi is about.
Oppikoppi, 22 whole years is no small achievement. A MASSIVE congratulations again on this, and here is to the next 22.
A huge thank you to every single person in-front and behind the scenes within the Hilltop Live family for making this possible.
We cannot wait to return to the hills of Koppi. We get to do it all over. But in 2017. Let’s recover from THE UNSEA.