Koos Kombuis

It’s Oppikoppi time again!

2011-08-02 11:26
Need I say more?

This coming weekend, thousands of music lovers will once again stream towards the Northam district near Thabazimbi to attend what has become the biggest rock festival in the Southern hemisphere.

It’s going to be another one of those utterly unforgettable, life-changing experiences, I’m sure.

This year’s festival, named The Unknown Brother – Oppikoppi festivals are not remembered by dates, but by name tags – sport a  number of really class acts, as usual, among others a collective tribute to David Kramer which is not to be missed. If I can recommend something else, remember to catch the Albert Frost/Rob Nagel collaboration; I saw them practicing during a sneak preview last Friday night, and they were awesome!

So, to get that one question out of the way, because I’m tired of getting asked this: “Why are you not at Oppikoppi this year?”

Well, bugger you all, I am there. In spirit. If you look closely, you will see me hovering over the bar area at the top of the hill. I will be dancing on the counter, with a bottle of cheap red wine in my hand, as we did for years immemorial. Oppikoppi is my alma mater!

Like family

Jokes aside. Though I cannot do every not festival physically, I do business with the Oppikoppi production team all the time, especially since they have morphed into the internationally connected booking agency Southern Pulse. These were the guys who helped me get invited to this year’s Mundial festival. They are awesome, and they are the only local booking agency I really trust.

In fact, the Bornman family – to whom the Oppikoppi farm belongs – is, by now, like family. I love those mense to bits. A rather conventional Afrikaner nuclear outfit -  with Oupa en Ouma and kids and sons-in-law and all the trappings -  who love to braai and hang out on the plaas during off-season times; these are not the kind of folk you would have expected to conceptualise, never mind hosting, such a fees as this. I wish all Boere were as open-minded as them! I remember how, when they first started inviting black musicians to perform at some of the groundbreaking Oppikoppi festivals in the nineties, how me and my rocker friends used to rub shoulders with members of the local AWB – fearsome dudes with rock-hard beer-bellies and muscles – listening to African jazz together, and getting sloshed on polisiekoffie. Now if that’s not one of the best examples of reconciliation ever, I don’t know what is.

I also remember the year – barely two or three moons ago (of course, I don’t remember the exact year – no-one ever does) – when I took my whole family along to listen to me perform a set at one of the main stages. Before I knew it, my mother-in-law was dancing in the front row among the head-bangers, and my kids had wandered off and bought themselves weird headgear at a post-punk stall. Nou ja. These are just some of the memories that make Oppikoppi special for me.

Have a drink on me when you get there this weekend… that’s an order!

The Kombuis kids (above) love Oppikoppi too, though up until now I’m proud to say, they have always remained remarkably sober!

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