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To your health

2007-08-03 09:16
Oppikoppi 2007

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I thought I should try to look after my health while camping in the famous red dust and dorings at Oppikoppi music festival.

So I took a sachet of tuna, an orange, two snack bars, and assorted vitamins. However, I also thought I should allow myself some fun. So a some very synthetic cheese triangles, Nick Nacks, a fuzzy naval in a can, a six pack of beers, White Russian ingredients and a bottle of red wine also made it into my backpack.

I drank the beer, the wine, the black Russians, the fuzzy naval, half a bottle of OBs that someone shared with e, and the cheese (it liquefies in midday heat). I ate the Nick Nacks. I also ate three vetkoek, a pizza and something resembling a schwarma, but tasting rather more alive than I'm into, and a few mouthfuls of dust.

I survived! And so did many other people, who behaved in a similar fashion, or possibly a lot worse. In the coffee queues the morning after, you could hear the conversations: "6am? Oh, that's nothing. This is Oppikoppi." Or as a hundred drunken students put it simply "Oppikoppi! Oppikoppi!"

Sure, the saner festival goers probably eat salad. I met a musician (from the band Cassette) who claimed if you ate enough salad, you didn't get sick, and could party as much as you wanted. I don't believe him. I bet he goes to bed at two. Not so rock and roll - but at least he doesn't sound drunk on stage (yes, Fokofpolisikar, you missed a couple.)

I'm sure by now some of you are thinking "That's so sad. She actually thinks partying until five in the morning is cool!" Well firstly, yes, you're quite right. I do. Secondly, from what I can see, thousands of people come to Oppikoppi to do exactly that. And they're a lot more hardcore than I am. They start partying at 9am. Thirdly, partying at a music festival is actually, in my opinion, a damn sight more responsible than doing so anywhere else.

Some people, of course, don't know where the fine line lies. You so see sad things. Very drunk young couples fighting over something they probably didn't remember properly in the morning, or young men that tried it on with every girl that walked past - sometimes while busy taking a leak a the side of the road. Or the kids I saw carrying a chair intended for firewood, somehow so smashed they couldn't understand why the girl with them wanted them to put it down before security had them chucked out.

But if you're only moderately immoderate, Oppikoppi is safe. You won't be driving. There are paramedics on hand. The vibe is friendlier and I didn't see any bar fights between punters (we heard of one involving a band but the er... 'polisiekar wasn't called...) And between bars and venues and drinks and drunks, you do a lot of walking. It's not called Oppikoppi for nothing.

People look after each other, too, swapping vitamins and headache tablets in the bathrooms, calling the paramedics when they were needed, supporting each other to a tent where they could pass out, and sharing their tents and beds to stay warm.

Yes, condoms were provided. And some of them may have been used for the intended purpose.

To your health! For some reason, mine is pretty good, considering.

Five tips:
- Take sunscreen - the days are hot
- drink water as well as other things
- Dress in layers, and have warm stuff.
- Don't bother self catering. You won't want all that healthy stuff when you see the vetkoek
- Take it easy. You'll have more memories one day.

Jean Barker
Health... this is not really compatible with a music festival. Having too much fun is really the point. So step away from the lentils. It's party time!
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