An Interview with Gareth Wilson: The guy who booked Oppikoppi

Most people will know Gareth Wilson as the lead singer and guitarist for rock ‘n roll band Southern Gypsey Queen. This band released four albums and played close to 2,000 shows in the 10 years they were together. Gareth also released a solo album in 2010 entitled “Bruised not broken”.

Gareth Wilson

What a lot of people don’t know about Gareth Wilson is that he has also worked as a booking agent at Southern Pulse representing Southern Gypsey Queen, Shadowclub,  Tidal Waves, the Black Cat Bones and various other artists. More specific to this article: he is also the Talent Buyer at Hilltop Live, this means that Gareth books all the local acts for all their events including the Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast festival.

I recently had the honor to interview Gareth Wilson (for a second time on Running Wolf’s Rant) and this is what he had to say:

What do you think are the key elements for an epic festival line-up?

As far as the line up goes quality and diversity, you have to keep people interested for 3 days and rehashing one genre wont do that. Also a lot of people undermine the importance of campsite entertainment, getting the fans involved in different activations and events is huge, gets the people you are doing it for involved.

Which bands on the Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast line-up are you most looking forward to and why?

I wanna be a little different to other interviewers here and not just highlight the internationals and headliners but also give you a heads up of some more exciting up and comers. As far as the internationals go I am most excited to see Manchester Orchestra – I’ve been following them for some time and consider them one of my favorite acts at the moment.  Growing up through the Nu-Metal era I am obviously excited about seeing Deftones (another bucket list ticked).

As far as local headliners go, old favourites like Fokofpolisiekar, Shadowclub, the Black Cat Bones, Albert Frost, Crash Car Burn and Tumi Molekane are always great. I do however think that the Mango Groove set is going to be the party set of the festival. As far as newer or lesser known acts go I strongly encourage people to try and mission to see the following acts Some Grow Young, Naming James, Death by Misadventure, BCUC, Tamryn Jones (previously Tammy Wilson from Southern Gypsey Queen), Bongeziwe Mabandla, Shortstraw, Red Huxley, Gerald Clarke, Bye Beneco, Beatenberg and Stefan Dixon. On the electro stage be sure not to miss Christian Tiger School and Jonny Neon. So many great acts on the bill but off the top of my head this is what I am going to try and not miss.

How much work goes into booking artists for a festival like Oppikoppi?

Months and months. I have already started looking at next year’s line up.

Gareth Wilson 2

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists who want to play at Oppikoppi?

You have to make some noise, every band in the country wants to be on the bill, apart from the main issue of being a quality live act you need their to be some kind of a hype around the band. This country is filled with great acts so to get on our radar you need to be doing something that will get tongues wagging.

Do you have any advice for aspiring band booking agents?

Love your bands and care about their careers in the long run. Don’t take on bands if you can’t service them the way they should be service. Also to bands: don’t be scared of representing yourselves, nobody cares about your band like you do.

Which international pop artist(s) do you think would most likely be stoned or thrown with something on stage?

Fuck I hope nobody gets shit thrown at them.

What is the funniest thing that you’ve experienced or seen at the 7 Oppikoppi festivals that you’ve been to?

Once got spiked with 7 drops of acid in my yogi sip. Was convinced I had malaria and that everybody was out to get me. It was not the most fun few hours I’ve ever had.

Do you have a few words of advice for Oppikoppi virgins?

Be adventurous with the line-up, try see a handful of new acts but most importantly let your hair down and go wherever the fermented fruit leads you. If you are one of the hotel campers be sure you mission through Mordor at least once, that is where a lot of the action is going down. Make sure you have many drunken DMC’s with strangers at the Top Bar. Most importantly: DON’T BE A POES.

Huge thanks to Gareth Wilson for taking time to answer these interview questions like a pro rock star. You can follow him on Twitter via @garethwilsonSA. Gareth is a true lover of SA Music, read the first interview I did with him in 2010 and you’ll see what I mean.

Feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring. Just a note: Every person who shares this article will get a virtual high five from me and Gareth (or if you know us you might get a real life one at Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast)

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

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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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