I read something a few months ago that said that you should keep close to you the people who introduce you to new music because they are important. I think the same is true of adventurous people, particularly for me. My boyfriend is outgoing, laid-back, adventurous and hardly ever says no. I am the complete opposite. I am an anxious person who prefers her own company, if it weren’t for my incredible partner, I would spend the majority (if not all) of my time at home alone.
Me and my incredible boyfriend
Because of him I have had countless wonderful nights out, made amazing memories, travelled and explored a number of different cities across the world all on a whim. My generic need to say no usually gets cancelled out by his loud, resounding yes. And it is never easy. Often I get cross or bleak that I can no longer spend the weekend reading horror novels but eventually I come around and warm up to the idea.
This was the exact thing that happened when I discovered that he wanted to book us tickets to Oppikoppi. This music festival which is situated in a gorgeous hill filled location called Northam, is three hours outside of Joburg and usually takes place in August. This year however, it was pushed out to October which was both a good and a bad thing.
Less people than usual attended but it both rained and was hotter than usual making it difficult to know what to wear.
View from the top of the Koppi
Now let me preface this by saying that I do not enjoy watching bands at the best of times. Oppikoppi is an entire weekend dedicated to just that. Honestly I would have rather stayed at home to make a Victorian vampire costume. During the lead up to this past weekend, I thought that perhaps he had forgotten about it, but I was mistaken. So I was forced to make peace with the fact that I was going to be entirely out of my comfort zone for a couple of days.
In retrospect, now that I’ve had a hot bath and slept in an actual bed, I’ve decided to compile a comprehensive list based on my experiences including a list of do’s and don'ts for this wild weekend for any of you who have not been and are considering attending next year.
Do's and Don'ts for Oppikoppi
Wet wipes are like gold. You are inevitably going to get dirty at this event. But when I say dirty, I mean like mud caked underneath your nails that only a long hot bath will remove. Wet wipes can only get rid of so much dirt but it’s the germs you want to avoid. The porto-loos are not ideal and the last thing you want is the trots when you are out in the bundus. Make sure to use them before every meal as well as for a little tent shower. You probably do not want to use to cold water showers or pay R65 for a hot one. Well perhaps you do, I didn’t so I opted for a wet wipe bath.
My nails after washing my hands
If you are a woman with a bladder as tiny as mine, then be prepared to pee in the bushes a lot. The loos are best to use in the day but they are situated in odd and far places that you often have to trek to. This is why by night fall, you eventually just begin squatting in the bushes. For this reason make sure that your outfit is easy to pull up and down. There is nothing worse than an elaborate costume that you can’t easily pee while wearing. Again, wet wipes will come in handy here too because when you are doing your call of nature in nature, there is no toilet paper on hand.
Bring water and things to drink other than alcohol. Yes alcohol is very important – particularly if you are not fond of this experience, but the next day, you are going to need to hydrate yourself so that you can start all over again.
This is what the camping grounds look like
Get inventive with sneaking your booze in. You are allowed to bring your own alcohol to the camping ground but getting them into the festival is a little more difficult. We got creative by sticking hip flasks in my little furry hat or in the hood of my jacket because they did do a little pocket patting, but they are more looking for weed than anything else. So if you have some Mary-Jane I suggest you smoke it before heading to the festival. If you are determined to be naughty, then I suggest you wait for nightfall. The security guards are a little more strict in the day- doing full pat downs, rifling through your bags and squeezing boobies. They are not afraid to turn people back, and I did see a cop standing outside of one of the entrances on the Saturday. The night shift are an entirely different breed, who make jokes, mess around and let you through far more easily. There also tend to only be men working in the evenings, meaning that as a lady, you can just walk right through.
After a heavy night
If you want to dress up, you can totally do that but just make sure it is not in your Sunday best. October meant rain so we got more mud than dust which was horrific, particularly when we fell in it so I am relieved I didn’t ruin any nice outfits. I brought white shirts which remained in my bag all weekend. Shorts are perfect for the day and leggings for the night. It is hella hot during the day so you want to keep cool in a low maintenance outfit but do be sure to head back to camp after sunset to change into something a little warmer. Again, October weather is hotter so the night was quite balmy (the second one that is, the first was wet and miserable) so I brought a jacket that was boiling in the crowds but perfect for chilling on the ground in. If you have something that is halfway in between than be sure to bring that along.
Don’t be a douche with your litter. Oppikoppi is essentially on a farm and you are welcome to camp wherever you want. Once the festival is over, there are staff who will come and clean after but it doesn’t mean that you have to take advantage of that. We were next to a camp site that literally abandoned all of their garbage, scattered all around with zero remorse. All it takes is one or two plastic bags that you put your rubbish into. Honestly there is no need to act like a pig just because you know someone is going to clean up after you.
Don't be a litter douche
Do pack a light breakfast if you can. We camped with friends and were lucky that they made little breakfast burritos because we could just sit outside of the tent and eat, first thing in the morning, rather than having to trek all the way inside to get food.
Neon for life!
Don’t worry about cash. The entire festival is cashless. You can just bring a bank card with you and head on over to the card tent where you purchase an Oppi card, put on as much money as you like and voila! From thereon out, any transaction simply requires the tapping of your card on the hundreds of wireless card machines. It is safer and easier than carrying cash. Just don’t lose the card because you have no way of identifying which is yours and if someone else picks it up, they could totally use it.
Do download the line-up list because there are a LOT of different stages with MANY bands and DJ’s performing constantly. The international performers usually only come on late at night – as was the case with The Naked and Famous and Flume, but to fill the rest of the time, go explore. Check out bands with odd names like Intergalactic Lovers (who were absolutely amazing by the way) and chill in the various bars.
Do go with friends. I mean it is a huge festival so you will inevitably meet people you know, but you do wanna have your own group. Don’t get me wrong, you could totally do it all on your own and have your own schedule, but even a small group of friends could definitely make the experience a little brighter and more fun.
Finally have all of the fun. As I stood in the rain listening to an international band, I recall turning my face up to the sky, closing my eyes and honestly having an incredible time. It’s not often that someone as reclusive as me embarks on adventures, but even if you do, Oppikoppi is the perfect time to let loose and forget all of your worries.
Just before the rain started
Overall, Oppikoppi was a worthwhile experience. I loved and hated it and will not lie about how relieved I was to be back home. There were incredible costumes, outfits and displays that people made and I was so glad to have seen it all. I’m not sure if I will make it to next year’s but I hear that you forget about the harder parts over time and only remember the good which is enough to bring you back again. Kind of like childbirth but with way more alcohol.
The main stage