Friday included a number of local rock heavyweights including Zebra & Giraffe, Van Coke Kartel (plus a male streaker dragged off stage by security), Gangs of Ballet, Taxi Violence (who are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year), and Oppikoppi veterans Springbok Nude Girls. The hugely popular HomeComing Picnic managed the Skellum Stage for the day, satisfying hip-hop, rap and house fans. Crowds were also drawn by the endearing Matthew Mole, Afrikaans poet Gert Vlok Nel, rap megalith HHP and the dreamy Christian Tiger School. Other notable performances included Australian singer Sarah Blasko, whose haunting melodies left crowds transfixed, and Durban-based Urban Creep, who your parents were right to enjoy when the band was active some 15 years ago.
The last day meant Oppikoppi brought out the big guns. Cat Power (USA), The Inspector
Cluzo (FR), Editors (UK), Rival Sons (USA), and Wolfmother (AU) all put on top quality performances. Unfortunately, the international lineup was damped slightly by the withdrawal of DJ Marky (BRA) who was denied access to South Africa due to complications with his yellow fever vaccination requirements. Local icons Hugh Masekela, Dan Patlansky, Cassper Nyovest, Spoek Mathambo, aKing and Shortstraw all presented sets to rival the international acts.
Overall, the performances were on point and everyone had a good time but there were a few minor details that were disappointing. There seemed to be fewer festival attendees – no doubt the result of the lack of a long weekend. The Odyssey theme and the 20-year anniversary were underplayed, which meant that the atmosphere of the festival seemed a little hollow. The international lineup featured superb
acts but they were generally unknown, which meant fewer sing-a-longs and less tangible excitement. Furthermore, acts you would expect at such a huge anniversary event such as Jack Parow and Fokofpoliesiekar were noticeably absent.
Despite this, there are two points that one can draw from such an event. For a local festival to run for 20 years is an incredible achievement. One such that its 20th anniversary shouldn’t be about international acts anyway, but rather a celebration of our heaps of local talent in every genre, both old and new. On this front, Oppikoppi Odyssey undoubtedly delivered. The second is that while we all celebrate our 20th birthday, everyone knows it’s at the 21st that the party truly gets raucous.
Until Oppikoppi comes of age, the dust lust and eagerness to become a prawn yet again will remain with us for the next year.
Photo: Brad Donald and Hendro van der Merwe