Oppikoppi pulls out all the stops

Riaan Wolmarans The massive Oppikoppi August music festival is this year expanding more than just the size of the stages – a separate festival is taking place near Worcester and an exchange programme is bringing Belgian musicians to this country. The arrangement between Oppikoppi and the organisers of the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, which attracts roughly 60 000 people, has our funky Boo! and happening hip-hopsters Brasse vannie Kaap travelling abroad, while Zita Swoon and Soulwax, two popular Belgian bands, will be performing in South Africa.

They will be joining the large number of local bands and performers booked for the two festivals, taking place from August 3 to 6 at Oppikoppi near Northam in the Northern Province and from August 11 to 13 at Kleinplasie near Worcester in the Western Cape. The bushveld bash at Northam will feature five stages: the massive Mainstay Main stage, the Gauloises Expressions stage, the Tassenberg Acoustic and Dance stages and the Savanna Jazz and Blues stage. The slightly smaller Cape event will sport three: the Main stage, the Savanna Jazz and Acoustic stage and an intimate acoustic stage. As usual, the music will be a showcase of a wide variety of genres, a far cry from the early years of Oppikoppi when crashing rock guitars were all that kicked up the bushveld dust. Jazz, dance, world music, cabaret, folk, acoustic, traditional – all these have now found a place on the line-up. The variety also attracts a bigger and much more diverse crowd than just the long-haired rockers. Ashton Nyte of Awakening fame, the new Battery 9, the chill sounds of Blk Sonshine, the raucous rock of up-and-coming Durban band Jimmy 12″ – all these will be heard. Busi Mhlongo is on the line-up for the first time. Saron Gas, the Springbok Nude Girls, Groinchurn, Not My Dog and their contemporaries will be loud and heavy, while Syd Kitchen, Interzone, Carlo Mombelli and the Prisoners of Strange, Citrus, Moses Molelekwa and many others will be providing jazzy, funky and generally more laid-back tunes. Some other exciting acts to look out for are Sugardrive and Plum playing together and the innovative sounds of Leek and the Bouncing Uptones. Then there’s the James Phillips tribute taking place, with a variety of artists covering Phillips’s songs to commemorate the composer and lyricist’s death five years ago. The DJ posse include the now traditional 206 heavyweights and a whole bunch of other talented individuals, such as Bob and Al, Bradley Bionic and the Chop Suey Crew, the must-see Cut la Roc from the United Kingdom, S’Bu, Skekrou, Blunted Stuntman, the lightning-fast Ready D and world music expert Nicky Blumenfeld. Performance art is not forgotten, with RedEye Express, THC, Slugs of War and others dressing up, lighting fires and moving in mysterious ways. Music lovers at home will be able to watch live festival coverage on the Internet at www.mweb.co.za, www.friedjam.co.za or www. oppikoppi.co.za (this site also contains all the festival information as well as directions).

Tickets for both Oppikoppi festivals are available at Ticketweb(www.ticketweb.co.za or Tel:0861 400500)

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