It was all the way back in 2013, quite inebriated, standing in front of the main stage at Oppikoppi reading a poem about Instagram and the insignificance of social media by Toast Coetzer, that the importance of art at Oppikoppi really hit me.
The festival remains a holy grail of a meeting place for different ideas and people. You can just look at those visiting Northam every year to see that there has to be a common factor drawing this sort of diversity. Some come for music. Some come for drugs. Some come for sex in the sand and some come for morning-after toasties on the braai.
But interwoven through all this is the art that captures the spirit of each festival. Well, technically, the marketing art. Not a topic often discussed, it’s this work that gives the feel of the festival.
It embodies a theme that helps revellers establish what garb to wear and it’s the catalyst for the poems planted all over the festival ground. It lives in the artwork hung around every stage. It even sometimes highlights the main artists performing.
Under the 2018 theme, Nomakanjani, Wesley van Eeden (also known as Resoborg) was tasked to deliver the entire look of the festival. The artist, graphic designer and painter created a fantastic contrast to last year’s pastel theme, Me, Now The Mango Picker. Van Eeden’s murals are famous around Durban as is his ability to capture contemporary South Africa.
This bodes well, because this year’s musical line-up is again incredibly diverse. So far confirmed acts include Bam Bam Brown, Bed on Bricks, Black Cat Bones, Fokofpolisiekar, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Brynn, Cockles, CrashCarBurn, Die Horries, Die See, Hellcats, Hello Beautiful, Last Chance Seattle, Luma, Ohgod, Retro Dizzy and Satanic Dagga Orgy.
Sea of Green, Sho Madjozi, Southern Wild, Spoegwolf, Stoker, Strait Jackal, Sun Xa Experiment, The George, Vulvodynia and Wonderboom are also confirmed.
The artists included every year are multi-layered, such as rising duo Van Pletzen. Combining a send-up of Afrikaans pop, mixed with electro-pop, Peach van Pletzen and Matthieu Auriacombe’s debut album released earlier this year has spawned incredibly catchy singles like Eiland Styl and Goud.
Last month they released Die Beats Amazing, featuring their favourite rapper and friend, the Early B. Go to the Oppikoppi Facebook page right now and you can see the satirical Afrikaans electronic duo in action.
The mission of their debut album, Kak Lekke Vibe, was to spread a “lekker” vibe, often employing brilliantly hilarious social media videos. If that isn’t the spirit of Oppikoppi, what is?
After moving to October last year, this year Oppikoppi moves back to the second weekend of August (also a long weekend to those who need an extra excuse to buy a ticket). The festival, over three days, features a long list of musicians, events and the shenanigans of Mordor, the behemoth camping area where no rules apply. But for newcomers, Oppikoppi is committed to music.
This year there is again support for the best, local artists and newer artists to introduce themselves to a specific audience. There is, however, one catch. Judging from the initial release from the organisers, this year’s festival will be a tad smaller with fewer international artists.
The James Phillips stage (traditionally the second main stage) will be the main area where music meets the people. They said revellers can expect a more condensed festival. For the art lover, that means more focus.
• Oppikoppi24: Nomakanjani takes place on August 9, 10 and 11 near Northam, Limpopo
• Phase two tickets are available for R675 (which includes access to the general camping area for the entire festival).
• For more information visit oppikoppi.co.za