I was in Grade 9 when my mom drove us to Oppikoppi for the first time. We still owned an old blue Mercedes Benz station wagon, left-hand drive nogal. My four friends were squeezed in the back seat while I was living it up in the front seat, with all our stuff in the boot. I am unsure why/how my mom agreed to take us to a Rock festival somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but it was great. We survived on instant noodles, drank cheap beer and cheaper wine and didn't shower for three days. A bench collapsed under us whilst watching Boo! for the first time, we drove around the campsite with strangers at 4AM and overall had a wonderful time. When my friends' parents came to fetch us on the last day, we were exhausted but happy. So I went back, sometimes even twice a year for the main Oppikoppi and the smaller Easter version.
Since then I have made the pilgrimage to Northam more than 10 times. But I think it has been one time too many. Maybe I am becoming old and my bones can no longer handle freezing at night and cooking like a lobster during the day. Actually, no. It has just become too big, too commercial, to superficial. Now there is a Converse truck where you can get a patch for your chucks. Shampoo samples are handed out at the showers. Ladies dress up in florals and that festival staple: wellingtons. It felt as though the music got lost between all the labels, between all the hype surrounding the festival. Just as an example: days before Oppikoppi started the media reported that Jack Parow had been arrested, and he confirmed that he wouldn't be performing because he was stuck in some jail cell. On the night of his performance, he was miraculously sprung by Captain Morgan and some Hot Bitches. Jack arrived on stage with police sirens and the captain in tow. It felt too staged, too branded, too manipulated to be funny or smart. Never underestimate your audience's intelligence, and their ability to enjoy a prank. Even Parow's performance afterwards was weak.
In previous years I never needed to get drunk to say that it was a great experience. For this Koppi, no amount of inebriation could've saved it from being mediocre. There were highlights of course, like Bittereinder's brilliant set, Toya Delazy's energy on stage and the Koos Kombuis tribute show, but the rest was a stab into the very-well lit up dark.