My 2 cents on Oppikoppi 2016

A week or so ago I attended Oppikoppi 2016 on that dusty farm near Northam in the Limpopo province. We left Pretoria around noon on the Thursday and arrived on the farm around 2:30 PM. I dropped 2 of my companions at the Klein Windhoek Hotel and my good friend Nino (who attended his 20th Oppikoppi festival this year) in Mordor and checked in at the Harambee Hotel.

It didn’t take me long to open my first beer and enjoy a lekker braai. After this we missioned around Mordor, sucking in the fresh bushveld air and mingling with people who were just excited to be there as us. It was like everyone knew what was coming their way the next three days and were not making a massive effort to get wasted on their first night there (which was actually a good thing). It didn’t stop me from only crawling into my tent around 2 AM though.

Friday morning at Oppikoppi 2016 started with a hot shower and tasty breakfast at the Harambee Hotel and quick trip to the media tent to fetch my photo pit tag. It didn’t take me long to start taking photos and gallivant between all the stages. I even made my way up the bloody hill to the top bar for the first time and assisted Baas and Gugu with their show on The Grind Radio. The day was a mishmash of good tunes, lots of Jose Cuervo, funny band interviews and eventually morphed into a party at the Top Bar (which lasted till around 5 AM on Saturday morning thanks to my good friends Trudy and Liana). I felt like a victim of what has become know as “First Night Festival Syndrome” and it was great.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the acts that I saw and photographed on Friday. The Dandies rocked the crowd, Bongeziswe Mada mesmerised the audience and Wonderboom reminded everyone that they can still rock at the Skellum stage.

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The Motherland reminded everyone that Indie was alive and well, TCYIF showed everyone that people from Soweto can rock, The Hellphones proved that they still have it, Newtown Knife Gang blew everyone away with an amazing set (which included a 16 Stitch cover), The Narrow stole the show and Bittereinder got the whole crowd bouncing in no time at the Main Stage.

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Scarlotte Will and Pollinator reminded us that rock ‘n roll was alive and well in SA, Satanic Dagga Orgy reminded everyone not to take themselves too seriously, Art Snakes showed us what could be the future of SA rock and The Plastics gave everyone their Indie fix on the James Phillips stage.

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Neo Galaxy eased everyone in the festival, The Ts and Cs and De Wallen reminded us why they are two of the bands to watch in SA, OneDaySky impressed folks with their no nonsense rock, Hellcats showed why their one of the hottest acts in SA at the moment, The Tazers played a lekker set and Boargazm gave everyone their metal fix in a set that feature a colab with some of the okes from Not My Dog at the Bruilof Stage.

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I wanted to see more acts at the Top Bar but that hill seemed to steep at times. At least I caught a bit of Willim Welsyn’s set (which was a totally rocking one I might add) and caught one or two songs by Georgetown at this stage.

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Like Day 1, Saturday morning at Oppikoppi 2016 started with a lekker breakfast and hot shower at Harambee Hotel. Then it was off to the media tent to do the Hangover show on the Grind Radio with Gugu and Baas. The rest of the day was filled with good tunes, yet more Jose Cuervo shots (on the Cuervo deck this time) and eventually ended with a campfire session and me going to bed slightly earlier at 2:30 AM – another amazing day in the dust.

The Sextons gave everyone their folk fix, Boxer played a fun set, Gerald Clark brought us some spectacular Blues, The Kiffness got everyone dancing, aKING blew everyone away and Fokofpolisiekar reminded everyone why they’re still one of the best live acts in the country on the Main Stage.

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New Academics played some lekker tunes, Prime Circle showed everyone they still got it and Grassy Spark got everyone dancing at the James Phillips stage.

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Oppiboosh happened featuring great performances by Gangsterdam, Crystal Park, Tidal Waves, We Are Charlie and ended with Shortstraw showcasing their Indie god status. Man As Machine brought us some rock ‘n roll and Made For Broadway showed their die-hard fans that pop punk was still alive. All this happened on the Bruilof stage.

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The Mitten Fits gave everyone more folk, Matthew Van Der Want played his new tunes and Josie Field & Laurie Levine mesmerized everyone at the Top Bar stage. I’m very sad that I missed Lectric Monks, Monkeys in Boots and Valiant Swart though. Sometimes I really wish that I could clone myself to enjoy good music.

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Sunday morning felt like deja vu. It started with a nice breakfast and shower at the Harambee Hotel, but I could feel the dust and too much booze taking its toll.

On the Sunday at Oppikoppi 2016 I managed to watch 2 or 3 comedians do their thing at the comedy stage, Sol Gems (who mesmerized the crowd with their funky guitar riffs), Yelawolf (who turned out to be completely overrated in my opinion), Kongos (who proved that they’ve grown musically since their last SA tour), Jack Parow (who blew everyone away on the James Phillips stage), Fever Dogs (who rocked out on the Bruilof Stage), Josh Kempen, The Moths (who gave everyone their surf rock fix), Late Night Fox (who entertained everyone with their unique blend of tunes), August Burns Red (who released some pent-up anger and gave everyone a chance to mosh), Tuin (who stunned the audience with a great performance), Ruby Gill (who made me realize that Tori Amos and Florence Welch have a South African love-child) and Albert Frost (who reminded everyone that SA Blues and Rock isn’t dead).

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The last night at Oppikoppi 2016 ended with a party at the top bar (which featured tons of laughs and copious amounts of Jose Cuervo shots). I eventually crawled into the tent at 3:30 AM. We left the farm around 8 AM and were surprised not be stuck in a traffic jam. We were back safe and sound in Pretoria by 12 noon.

Kudos to the Hilltop Live team for bringing us an amazing Oppikoppi 2016. Thanks to the Grind Radio team for reminding me that I’m part of a rock ‘n roll family. A huge shout out to Jose Cuervo for giving everyone that oomph they lacked at last year’s festiva, the accommodation in the Harambee Hotel and the Rockstar party on the Cuervo deck. Thanks to all the artists for entertaining us and thanks to everyone who made their pilgrimage into the dust. See you next year Oppikoppi Festival.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Photography categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

If you want to check out ALL my photos, check out the Henno Kruger Photography page and Running Wolf’s Rant page on Facebook.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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