Brace yourselves - Oppikoppi is coming
Only true festival-goers know this feeling. It’s that calm before the storm. The build-up to something amazing.
You see people’s Facebook statuses about it, and tag everyone you know.
Tickets bought, you itch as the countdown gets to single digits.
The pre-event articles start to flow, and pictures from previous years start to resurface.
Then, that first flight comes in. Waiting at the Gautrain to fetch someone flying in from Cape Town, or taking someone’s bags in to your house as they drive up from Durban is only the beginning of a journey that will take hold of every fibre of your being.
It’s Oppikoppi time.
This festival has been one of the few that have stood the test of time, and its dedication to music – South African and international – is unparalleled.
This year, the most awesome festival south of the Equator is turning 20.
20 years of rock ‘n roll, sex, drugs, booze and dust.
It’s a beautiful thing, driving in to the farm at 5am after a long night of carefully packing up the car.
You see the entrance and you know that as soon as you pass through those gates, your life is going to be altered forever.
If it’s your first festival, it’s a baptism of fire with tequila burning as it goes down your throat, the sting of the thorn bushes, the grit in your teeth and the dust in your lungs.
Breathe in the dry Limpopo air and feel the festival become part of you.
I have been to many festivals, but none like Oppi.
Since its humble beginnings op die koppi 20 years ago, it’s grown into the largest festival in the country.
I have been there four times now, and it’s this will be my fifth.
2009 was an eye-opener, where I learnt to speak Afrikaans because I bloody well had to. Where I discovered that the greats of South African music are people too.
Where I discovered that Oppi is truly the place where South Africa comes to life.
It’s a place where dreams are born and magic occurs whenever you hear that all-familiar buzz of a guitar being plugged into an amplifier.
We are all united by music, happiness and dust.
Time stops and you are encased in this world where nothing else but the awesome exists.
Yes, it’s fucking cold. Yes, it gets fucking hot. Yes, you will fucking reek of sweat and alcohol. And yes, you will be fucking hungover.
But yes, you will come out of it, reborn as a different kind of beast.
The beast that is Oppi clings to you like the cigarette smoke and dust clings to your clothes.
For four days, you are nothing else but magnificent. For four days, you become one with the dust.
Brace yourselves. It is coming.