Oppikoppi remains a testament that music is binding and annually it brings together South Africans from all walks of life. In its 21st instalment this year, with the Roald Dahl-inspired theme of The Fantastic Mr Vos Vos, the festival itself is not child’s play.
Dust, sweat and portaloos are part of the experience – if you’re not ready to submit fully to the dust there are ways to negate the dirt. If you’re ready to embrace the full spirit of Oppikoppi, well, there are still a few survival tips you need to abide by. There are thorns, alcohol and lots of people, so accidents are bound to happen.
Get the app
A good start is to download the Oppikoppi App for your Android or iOS device. The app provides biographies for all the performers, as well as line-ups. The app will also allow you to schedule performances you want to watch and send you reminders.
If you didn’t shell out wads of cash to stay in the tented hotel and you’re one of the masses staying in Mordor (the nickname for the general camping area) you need to realise it’s a long dusty trek to the stage areas. While dust is part of the experience, wet-wipes will become your best friend. Use it to wipe bottle ends, hands and your face. There are shower facilities available, but no hot water. Don’t fret though, the hinterlands of Limpopo heat up by afternoon, and this is the best time to go take a shower and wash away your hangover.
If you didn’t shell out wads of cash to stay in the tented hotel and you’re one of the masses staying in Mordor (the nickname for the The festival works with festival cards. Buy a card and load money on to it (R10). You’ll need one – after a few drinks the food stalls will start flirting with your senses. The food is also inexpensive and means you don’t have to bring a weekend’s worth of food.
Kiss a frog
Red Frogs provide assistance to festival-goers, be it a pancake to line your stomach, water to keep you hydrated or medical and security assistance – they can help. The great thing about Oppikoppi is that there is genuine trust between festival-goers to not harm each other, but should you find yourself in a sticky situation – go and kiss a frog.
Take a light
An inexpensive LED headlamp will be your biggest asset after sunset. Wrap it around your wrist or hang it around your neck. Bar a few campsite fires, there are no lights in the camp areas, and it gets dark at night.
Don’t burn the floor
In the camp areas, fires can spell doom. Make sure you have contained fires. Generally, braais aren’t allowed and gas braais are the lesser of two evils – but if you need a bushveld TV, make sure your fire is away from any flammable veld and that you cleared adequate space for it.