How does one explain Oppikoppi to anyone who hasn’t been before; it’s difficult to say the least! Surviving 4 days of dust, Ice Cold Jose Cuervo and some of the best music your ears can be exposed to is something that takes a “slight” toll on the body. It takes a minimum of a week’s recovery time and pain that forces one to relive those 4 days of madness.
So you can imagine my excitement when the mail came through from Jose Cuervo with an invite to South Africa’s largest festival… I did a little dance around my desk at work, a little fist pump and immediately started replaying the memories of Oppikoppi 2011, thinking of how best to attack the beast this time round…
I landed in Lanseria Airport and met the Jose Cuervo and Brandsrock teams and off we went. Our journey was broken by a stop off at the legendary ‘Home of the Chicken Pie’ as continued onward toward Northam. Things didn’t start as planned as we drove straight into the traffic jam from hell. Arriving in Northam, we took the final turn towards the Oppikoppi farm where we were met with an indescribably long line of cars all heading into Koppi. We signed into the Kreef Hotel and when I say that things had been pimped out from last year, that would be an understatement. After unpacking, I headed straight to the Cuervo Deck where I could finally enjoy some music and take in all that Koppi had to offer. On the deck I met up with some familiar faces and got to enjoy some the delicious frozen margarita’s as the sun slowly set on the first night.
In the last of the light I started trekking down the dangerously steep hill to the Red Bull floor where dancing was the only way to keep the body warm. One can’t even begin to explain how cold it was over the first two nights of the festival. Monique Pascal and T-Minus played some really awesome mind-bending techno which allowed Nick Grater to bring a sound of techno I can’t even explain. It was a beautifully crafted set of the most driving up-tempo tech that kept the dance floor fist pumping deep into the early hours of the morning.
Day two started with the Tweet Up on the Cuervo Deck thanks to @Baasdebeer & @HennoKruger. Cuervo hired two of the sickest flair barman, Peter and Anil, who kept us entertained with some insane flairing whilst serving up some seriously awesome variations of Cuervo drinks, the frozen margarita’s being my favourite (and the Cuervo Black, my NEW favourite). At the same time the tweet up was in full swing, resulting in getting Jose Cuervo to trend across SA, quite an accomplishment!
Check out the video below of what went down on the Cuervo Deck!
Jeremy Loops was the stand out performer of the Friday day session, he is definitely one of the best live performers in South Africa and ANYONE in that crowd will vouch for that. Mr Sakitumi & The Grrrl dominated the Red Bull stage with their usual antics, the crowd eating out of their hands the whole set and begging for more. PhFat, Phizicist (a talent to watch out for in the near future) and Twelv & Thesis all dominated the stage. The crowd was jammed packed from the front, all the way to the top of the Koppi, a surreal view to say the least. The sets of the night for me went to Haezer & Ivan from Killer Robot. Haezer threw down a fierce set including tracks from his new EP ‘The Wrong Kid Died’ & smashed the dance floor with his distinctly unique Haezer sound. Ivan finished off the night in true KR style keeping the tech heads stomping into the sunrise!
I tried to take Saturday as chilled as I could but thanks to Bangers & Nash and Texx on Fire that didn’t happen. Once again, the Cuervo Deck became the place where the final day of Oppikoppi got kicked off. I slowly meandered down to the Red Bull stage, where the tunes were a cross between deep house and some funked up tech, which allowed a day of chilling sipping margarita’s while being treated some deliciously fine beats. As the afternoon drew on I moved onto the main stage where the international heavyweights Enter Shikari began performing. I must admit, I thought their performance was absolutely brilliant. Their stage presence and sound live was amazing and as an electronic lover, the sneaky dubstep crossovers every now and then were very much unexpected, but oh so beautiful.
Next up was Jack Parow who truly had the crowd captivated. The crowd was backed up, people hustling for space, while some were even climbing in the trees to get a good look at Mr. Parow himself. I found myself chilling with Pascal and Pearce as they were mentally preparing for their very first Oppikoppi set, after the international act all the way from the USA, Diplo and Das Kapital. We rushed off to the Red Bull stage to watch Sibot come out and blow things up. It was a technical set that must take hours to practice, let alone pull off. Sibot pulled it off with the consummate ease of a rock star that he is.
We headed up the Koppi for a quick shot of Cuervo with the team before the much anticipated Diplo. Although from this point, I don’t know where to start. Diplo was at most, average. His mixing and song selection was terrible, while his stage performance and crowd interaction was his set’s only saving grace. It was filled with Electro and Dubstep bangers, mixed up with all his Major Lazer and Hip Hop production thrown in for good measure. I was one of few people who didn’t like it, but that was just my opinion. Bring on the hate!
Pascal and Pearce brought a smile back on my face as they kept the crowd pumping late into the night. Their chart topping productions along with some high energy electronic beats had the crowd chanting for more after their final song. I headed back to my tent calling it night while the realization slowly set in that my weekend had come to an end at yet another Oppikoppi I will never forget.
Sunday morning consisted of bag packing and the usual breakfast ritual along with the rest of the dust ridden zombies, lining up for their healthy dose of bacon and eggs before the long trek back home begun. Everyone said their final good byes and slowly but surely made their grateful way home.
Massive thanks goes to Jose Cuervo and Brandsrock for the awesome weekend as well as, Mike, Sipho, Nash, Tecla, James, Grant, Gareth, Rudi, Leandi and Louise. To all the new friends and awesome people I met, you guys rock. Till next year… Oppikoppi, you Sweet \ Thing. All together now, YOU.ME.CUERVO!