The dustbowl through the ages

Image: Shaun Sproule, posters provided

Oppikoppi is a festival that has attracted rocklovers and camping fanatics since the first festival in 1994. The first few festivals mainly focused on rock music, but since then it has really developed into a more diverse festival, featuring a wide variety of music. This year Joey Badass will be one of the headlining artists, and this is a true testament of how the festival has transformed.

Valiant Swart has been an Oppi staple since the first festival. He has performed at the festival more than any other musical act.

In 1994 the event consisted of 27 acts, performing for 400 people and grew into a festival boasting over 130 acts performing for over 20 000 festival goers. One thing that sets Oppikoppi apart is their themes that they have thought up over the years. The themes are stunningly creative and will sometimes have a humorous twist. In 2004, when the festival celebrated their tenth anniversary, the theme was “Blood is Thicker than Soda Water”. The themes range from “One Big Bang” in 1997 to “Sexy. Crooked. Teeth.” in 2010. The theme for this year, “Me Now, The Mango Picker”, was inspired by a Carlo Mombelli song.

Over the years South African bands and legends have taken the stage at this festival. Names like Koos Kombuis, Karen Zoid and Lucky Dube come to mind when we think of the icons that have performed at Oppikoppi. Jazz legend Hugh Masekela performed at the festival in 2014 alongside another South African music household name, Springbok Nude Girls. The following year Johnny Clegg made an appearance. Even though local bands always shine at Oppikoppi, the international acts seem to really attract the crowds. The first notable international act was the Belgian alternative rock band, Soulwax who performed at Oppi in 2000. In the years to follow bands such as Jimmy Eats World, Violent Femmes and singer Aloe Blacc would entertain the crowds.

Oppikoppi has a rich history and is evolving into a diverse festival for music connoisseurs and party people alike.

Written by: Claudine Noppe
Originally published: