So I went to my first Oppikoppi Festival this weekend and I hated it – not because the festival was bad, but because I wasn’t prepared. So here are the top 5 things I wish I knew before Oppikoppi so that I could have enjoyed it. At least next year I know what to expect and won’t make these mistakes again. I hope this can help other ‘Koppi virgins to prepare so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.
1. The dust really is that bad.
I’m very allergic to dust but have been camping before many times without taking my allergy meds. I assumed that everyone was exaggerating and left my prescription allergy medication at home. BIG MISTAKE. I was feeling tired and sickly all weekend, and on Saturday night I had to basically be carried to the medics because I couldn’t breathe. Of course they didn’t have prescription drugs so could only give me Allergex, which didn’t help much. They advised me to get an allergy injection before I go next year and to bring my medication with because I will most probably still need it. Even if you aren’t allergic to dust, I suggest you prepare yourself. At the beginning of the festival I laughed at the people wearing medical masks and stuff because they looked funny, but eventually I wish I had done that. Wearing a buff over your nose and mouth help a little bit, and there are loads of places to get them at shops beforehand or at the festival if you don’t already have one.
2. Bring a gazebo.
We learned the hard way that bringing a cooler full of ice packs isn’t enough to keep your drinks and food cold. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday night all our ice packs had melted so we had to cook and eat all our food. Hundreds of Rands wasted because we specifically brought food so we didn’t have to buy food at the event, then ended up having to buy anyway. Also, the campsite is as hot as the flames of hell if you don’t have any shade. So yeah, if you don’t want to melt, bring a gazebo.
3. Never, ever work at Oppikoppi. Or at least not your first one.
You miss so much when you have to work. I couldn’t enjoy my first time because I felt like I was missing everything. Yes it sounds awesome to get paid to be at ‘Koppi, but trust me, it’s not worth the money. I’d rather pay the R750 for the ticket. You miss out on the whole experience if you work. We only saw one band’s entire show because of work (and being sick later). And the hours were terrible, and the pay was almost just as bad. For the whole weekend bartending, I made about what I make in one night waitering. And after the first day (we worked a double – 10am-2am), our feet were covered in blisters, we were exhausted and so covered in dust that all the wetwipes in the world couldn’t clean us. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Wetwipes, wetwipes and more wetwipes.
Bring wetwipes! There are showers (I didn’t know about them and didn’t bring a towel) but the queues are always long and you have to be there very early if you want hot water. We bought 2 packs of wetwipes between myself and my boyfriend, and we ran out by Friday. So make sure you bring enough wetwipes, or else prepare to look like a homeless person for the rest of the weekend.
Here’s how my shoes and legs looked after working on Thursday (I’m actually VERY pale, that is a dust tan):
5. If you’ll be upset if it gets broken, damaged or stolen, leave it at home.
I cannot stress this enough. Just to give an idea, we had two awesome mugs – a Trooper beer cup which was bought for me by a friend at Download Festival and a limited edition Black Label mug. Emphasis on had. The Trooper mug got stolen on the first night and on Thursday afternoon we found that some idiot had thrown his lit cigarette in the Black Label mug, which had melted into the plastic bottom, ruining it completely. Don’t bring anything valuable or sentimental, it will be stolen or destroyed, or covered in vomit (your own or a random stranger’s).
So these are just a few of the things I wish I knew. I’d love to hear some of your tips and experiences in the comments!