It’s 4 days after Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast but I still haven’t fully caught up on lost sleep and I still have a slight case of Mordor lung (the best way to describe my voice which still sounds like a presenter on SABC 3). Thanks to my good friend Liana for coining that phrase earlier this week. It almost feels unreal being back in my normal routine this week after such an awesome weekend. Those of you who were not at the festival truly missed out. Just read my quick re-cap of each day of the festival below and you’ll see what I mean.
Thursday: I arrived at my home away from home at around 9 PM and miraculously found my camping spot in Mordor in less than 20 minutes (despite the fact that everyone in our camp’s phones were off). After gobbling down my first beer for the weekend I caught the last bit of Stefan Dixon and Kid of Doom’s sets before enjoying a bit of loud Pestroy goodness. After this it was time for some Dan Patlansky. Hearing him twirling sounds on his 1962 Fender finally brought the realization that I was at my 15th Oppikoppi festival and that this weekend was going to be awesome.
Next up were the Black Cat Bones on the James Phillips stage. These boytjies (who won the MK Award for the best live act earlier this year) put on a great show. The colab with Gareth Wilson and Tammy Wilson (from Southern Gypsey Queen) was pretty damn awesome as well. The last act on the Wesley’s Dome stage were Fokofpolisiekar. These Belville rockers tore the 17,000+ crowd a new one. I was amazed by how loud the crowd were singing along to their songs and at the amount of energy they had. It was one of the best Fokofpolisiekar sets that I’ve ever seen. After this it was time for some refreshing drinks and wild antics in the Top Bar. The madness finally ended around 6 AM when I decided to crawl into my tent.
Friday: Getting up at 10 AM did not discourage me from enjoying my first cold one of the day. Before I knew it I was photographing Balistic Blues Band (who impressed with me with their hardcore bluesy riffs) and Cape Town rockers Woodstock Mafia (who woke up the slightly hung over crowd with their awesome sounds at the Wesley’s Dome Stage). After this it was Tweetup time at the Ray Ban stage with @BaasDeBeer @chrismaider @texxonfire @fergoboy @GabbiBrondani @RuanHaha and the rest of the Twitterati before I rushed off to catch Naming James and Albert Frost (on the Skellum stage).
I sank my teeth into a rib roll and a boerewors roll before allowing Goodnight Wembley to make love to my eardrums and then enjoyed a quick refreshment session at our campsite before it was finally time for the Koos Kombuis tribute. This was without a doubt one of the highlights of Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast. It was a show that I’ll never forget. I mean, one doesn’t experience Koos Kombuis doing colabs with Kobus De Kock Jr (The Black Cat Bones), Jaco van der Merwe (Bittereinder), Andra, Albert Frost, Liela Groenewald, Francois van Coke (Fokofpolisiekar and Van Coke Kartel) and George van der Spuy (Taxi Violence and Goodnight Wembley) every single day, one of the reasons that this set was emotional experience for me.
After this it was time for Matthew Mole on the Skellum stage. Hearing the crowd singing along to his opening song was pretty damn amazing and something I (and Matthew Mole himself) did not expect at all. Next I caught a glimpse of Gangs of Ballet, laughed my arse off at two blokes playing around with a blowup doll in front of stage and enjoy some soothing reggae sounds from Finley Quaue before dividing my time between Tumi and Die Heuwels Fantasties. The last two acts on the eve were Bittereinder and Jack Parow (who was apparently detained before the festival but rescued by Captain Morgan just in time for his show). Both of these acts did not disappoint and had the crowd bouncing before you could say “Hos My Bra!”. The evening’s proceedings ended with me (and a whole bunch of crazies) partying the night away in the top bar. I crawled into my tent at 6 AM again.
Saturday: I got up early and enjoyed my first beer of the day before heading off to the Skellum stage for girl rockers Cortina Whiplash, enjoying the soothing sounds of the Faradays and experiencing some Latin American hip hop vibes from Guanaco. After this I caught a glimpse of one of the races in the camp site, listened to the Beatenberg, Ramblin’ Bones and Feed the Wolf with one ear and enjoyed the extremely vibey Shortstraw and Jeremy Loops sets. Then it was time for a refreshment break at the camp before the two Tisha’s and I enjoyed a sundowner during the Toya Delayzy set at one of the stage area’s bars.
After a well deserved break in the campsite and media area I headed off to the Wesley’s Dome Stage for Mango Groove. This 11 piece act played one hell of a show which had the Oppikoppi crowd dancing like I’ve never seen them dance before. Hearing songs like “Hometalk”, “Special Star”, “Sweet Moments Away” and “Another Country” brought back childhood memories that I’ve almost forgotten. This was definitely one of the best live sets that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I divided my next hour between Manchester Orchestra, ISO and Gerald Clark before settling in front of the dome stage for and epic set by The Narrow. After this it was time for some punk vibes from Yellowcard and some nu metal / hard rock from Deftones.
The evening and weekend ended with a legendary top bar party that saw me settling into my tent at about 5 AM. I was up a few hours later but my camp mates and I decided to wait for the traffic to die down before we were finally on our way to Pretoria at 4 PM.
Looking back at Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast I’ve come up with a list of pro’s and cons:
- The dust problem in the entertainment area was contained thanks to enough straw in front of ALL the stages and festival staff watering key areas at regular intervals.
- The food stalls were better laid out than last year, causing less congestion.
- The separate entrances and exits in and out of the entertainment area were a brilliant idea. No congestion when moving in or out Mordor like last year.
- Even though I never went into a porta potti, the toilets I used were kept clean and I did not pick up excessive complaints from campers who used porta pottis.
- Bar service was a lot quicker than last year
- Increased Theft: Despite the fact that ISO’s trailer with their gear was stolen at the festival, many campers also arrived back at their campsites and found some of their bags and other items missing from their tents. One of our Mordor neighbours caught some Nigerians red handed with her handbag in their campsite and completely lost it. It’s a long story, but let’s just say they didn’t have a campsite afterwards and they did not come back. The organizers need to look at ways to keep dodgy elements out of the festival.
- Porta Potti’s / Toilets in the Entertainment Area: These were missing and could be added for next year’s festival.
On a lighter note: Kudos to Hilltop Live for organizing another awesome Oppikoppi festival. Huge thanks to @Ronitae and her boyfriend for getting me there in one piece and Willem for getting me back home safely. Massive thanks to my camp mates @ch2rlie and @BaasDeBeer for picking an awesome camping spot and setting up our tents and everyone else that helped to make my 15th Oppikoppi one of the most awesome experiences of my life.
How was Oppikoppi 2013 Bewilderbeast for you? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading my review, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion and Music categories on Running Wolf’s Rant