Oppikoppi Unknown Brother

musings of a professional dreamer

I vaguely remember going to Oppikoppi in 2000 with Caffeine Substitute, the band that I was playing for at the time. Actually, when thinking back, all I could remember was “dry, dusty and thorn trees”. But when I was booked to perform this year for my first solo set at Oppikoppi, I was all too chuffed to add an extra 1,500kms and an extra week to the tour – talk about ending a tour in what I knew would be rock ‘n roll style!

Arriving around lunch time to an already set-up camp (I have my ways), I had enough time to take in my surroundings before heading up the koppi to the acoustic stage for my show at 6pm.

It doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re at a festival. An hour or so usually does the trick. Apply instant layer of festival grit, rinse (or not, depending on the availability of hot water in the showers), repeat for 3 days. I love festivals.

Before my show I managed to catch a snippet of music by The Blues Broers, and some of Mr Cat & The Jackal, but I’m always a bit distracted before a show, particularly festival shows, and can never really concentrate (or chill) until after I’ve played. It’s not a nerves thing. It’s more the anticipation of what’s coming that plays with my head. I plan to chill the hell out a lot more from now on.

My show went pretty well, complete with candles (thanks Haddad!). It started off a bit quiet with a large majority of the 16,000-strong Unknown Brothers watching Karen Zoid down at the Skellum Stage, but the audience filled out as the set progressed and I had fun.

Once I’d packed up and safely escourted Bella back to the already dusty confines of the Hope-mobile, I could resume normal “festivalities” and have some actual fun. After the 6 week tour I’ve just completed, one of the best things about this past weekend was being able to take some time out and watch other artists for a change, a pretty impressive collection which included: Goodluck (rocking set!), Gazelle, Van Coke Kartel, Double Adapter, The Black Hotels, Durban boys The La Els, Die Tuindwergies, Not My Dog, Dance You’re On Fire, Dan Patlansky, David Kramer, Wrestlerish, and was thrilled to finally catch a bit of the Lark electro set (what a voice!). I watched (and met) Michelle Shocked (pictured) which, having grown up listening to her music, was an absolute honour. I also caught international acts The Used and Sum 41, – nothing life-changing, but they were rad to watch. The big news is that I maintained surprisingly decent composure throughout Die Antwoord’s set, despite mere mention usually making the blood boil. I’m not a fan but I was intrigued to watch them live. I’m still not a fan. I don’t have a problem with the music itself – electronic music speaks to my inner rave bunny – it’s the lyrical content and the commentary it makes on where this industry is at, that gets to me. Oh, and ’cause, you know, it’s classy…

And then it was all over. Without a doubt, the best festival I’ve been to in my 12 years in the industry. Superbly organised, incredible vibe, ridiculously rad talent, too much fun… I’ll definitely be back next year!

Festival gets under your skin. Festival gets everywhere. It doesn’t matter how hard you try and it’s pointless trying to avoid it. During the snail’s pace drive out alongside 16,000 other Unknown Brothers who want (and need) to get home and shower just as much as you do, you can’t help looking in the rear view mirror wishing the sign was coming into view, not disappearing, so that you could do it all again.

Oh, and here’s a pic of Corne and Twakkie. Because no Oppikoppi experience is complete without Corne and Twakkie.

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© Shannon Hope 2017