Last year I attended Oppikoppi 2009 Smoorverlief and a I wrote out the story of my experience. Its that time of the year again. I attended Oppikoppi 2010 Sexy. Crooked. Teeth this past weekend. It was the 10th time that I’ve been at a festival on the farm near Northam (in the Limpopo province of South Africa) and my 12th overall Oppikoppi. I’ve also been 2 STRAB festivals in Mozambique. Call me a festival junkie if you want, I don’t care. First off, my friend and I almost did not make it to the festival. I’m one of those folks who always buys his Oppikoppi ticket at the gate. This year was a little different. By Thursday there were only 1000 pre-sale tickets available for the festival. I hastily logged onto Ticketbreak and bought tickets. Luckily I saw the message pop up about this on Facebook. Thank goodness for Social Media (especially Facebook and Twitter).
We headed off to Oppikoppi about 2 PM on Friday. We eventually made it to Northam after discovering that a small town like Brits actually has a rush hour. Finally we entered the festival grounds at about 5:30 PM (after sitting in a queue at the entrance for about 20 minutes). We tried finding someone I know who had kept a camping spot for us, unfortunately this was one giant fail. We could not find the spot and decided to find our own spot. The Oppikoppi farm was jam packed and it took us nearly 3 hours to find an open camping spot that was not too far from the stage area. After pitching our tents we dashed off towards the stage and caught Dance You’re On Fire, Philadephia Grand Jury and Die Tuin Dwergies on stage. There were a lot more people than usual crowding around the stage area and the bar at the main stage area. Eventually (after a few shots of tequila) we made our way to the top bar. This resulted into us partying a bit till a little after midnight.
After our visit to the top bar we started our epic quest to find our tent in the dark. We miserably failed (for a 2nd year in a row). We ended up walking around the campsite area for 6 hours. We found many Oppikoppi virgins along the way, most of them not able to find their camping spots (like last year). We must have walked up and down Freedom Avenue 5 or 6 times since its the street name that we could remember that was the closest to our campsite. At lease 3 people we encountered on this mission told us that “It’s a long walk to freedom” and we should just be patient. After 2 hours the joke with a reference to Nelson Mandela’s walk to freedom got old and it get really cold. Eventually we gave up. I gave the Oppikoppi Cowboy a call to help us at 6 AM. When we finally found our tents we realized that we had walked around in circles and actually just missed the one road on our left. We helped the Oppikoppi Cowboy to set up his tent at our campsite since he wanted a less noisy spot. My friend went off to take a nap and me and the Oppikoppi Cowboy opened up our first beer of the day at 7 AM in true Oppikoppi style. I did not see the point of going to sleep when the sun was already up.
At about 11 AM on Saturday I met up with @wasbeer, @sparklez23 and @PsychoButterfly for a mini Oppikoppi Tweetup at the main stage bar. This was an interesting experience. We swopped around Oppikoppi stories and talked about Twitter. Me and the Oppikoppi Cowboy then caught the last bit of the The Most Amazing Show on the main stage and made our way back to the tent for a refill. The refill session turned into a social at our tent. Finally we made our way to the stage are in the late afternoon to catch Radio Kalahari Orkes (whose show finished with a guest appearance by Jack Parow). We headed back to the campsite again. I must admit that seeing the beer can trees, the campsite with the jacuzzi and breathing the fresh bushveld air helped me to stay alert and awake. Even though I was freezing my butt off and was dead tired I made sure that I did not miss the performances by Prime Circle (who have truly improved on their live performance in my opinion) and The Narrow on Saturday night. I was dead tired when I crawled into my tent at about 12:30 AM.
We got up quite early on Sunday morning and headed off to the stage area about 11 AM. I ran into a bunch of veteran Oppikoppi buddies of mine whilst watching Scicoustic at the Levi’s stage. We moved to the main stage bar for a drink or two and then headed off to the grass patch between the 2 main stages to chill out in the shade. After my friend won a bottle tequila at the FHM stage we moved to the main stage to watch the Wrestlerish gig. It was absolutely brilliant. This caused us to very slowly making our way to find a spot for Vusi Mahlasela and Albert Frost at the Levi’s stage. I then moved to the main stage to watch the Valiant Swart tribute, which featured a multitude of artists (including Francois van Coke and Tidal Waves). I then helped my friend to get back to the tent because she was not feeling well. I headed back to catch New Holland on the FHM stage and Zebra & Giraffe on the main stage. Both performances were brilliant. After a quick trip to the tent I made my way to the main stage again to catch Die Heuwels Fantasties. I then caught Straatligkinders on the FHM stage and bumped into a friend from Middelburg (another Oppikoppi veteran). We made our way to the main stage to wait for the Billy Talent performance to start. They were absolutely brilliant and were an absolute hit with the crowd. I did struggle to find a decent spot for the show though. The evening was not over after that. I moved to the FHM stage again to find a nice spot to watch Van Coke Kartel. They did not disappoint and they lived up to their promise of a special show. I checked out Jack Parow after them at the main stage. He did not disappoint either. However, my body could not take any more and lack of sleep drove me to undertake the long walk back to the campsite for some shuteye.
We woke up early on Monday morning. We started to pack up slowly. Cars started queuing for the exit gate past our campsite from about 9:30 AM. The queue did not budge for at least 2 hours. Eventually we moved into the queue at about 11:30 AM. We only managed to get off the farm at about 1:30 PM though. We then got into the queue of cars on the tar road to Northam. We eventually only rolled into the town at about 2:30 PM. We drove to the KFC to get ourselves some lunch. Eventually (after standing in queue at KFC for half an hour) we made our way back to the big city.
In all the years that I’ve been to this farm I have never experienced a queue at the gate or difficulty to find a camping spot at Oppikoppi. Tickets to this event were sold out for the first time in the festival’s 16 year history. An estimated 20,000 people made their way to Oppikoppi Sexy. Crooked. Teeth this past weekend. To me it felt like the festival was a bit over crowded. Normally its not a real huge problem to find a decent spot for band watching at the main stage but this year was a real big mission for me. I’m not complaining though. I still got to see the bands. I still think that it was one of the best Oppikoppi festivals I’ve been to. Facilities just need to be improved to handle bigger crowds for next year’s festival (in my opinion). You’ll probably see me there next year again (for my 13th Oppikoppi).