Oppikoppi to declare itself a monument

Organisers of the popular alternative music and culture festival Oppikoppi are going ahead to declare the 15-year-old event a national monument in August, Sowetan has learnt.

Organisers of the popular alternative music and culture festival Oppikoppi are going ahead to declare the 15-year-old event a national monument in August, Sowetan has learnt.

This announcement has not been officially sanctioned. But this does not bother the people behind the festival, which takes place annually at Northam Farm in Limpopo during August.

"More than just a music festival, Oppikoppi has become one of Mzansi's most respected cultural institutions. And, as musicians, fans and party animals all over the country get ready to celebrate the 15th year of this wild phenomenon, organisers are proud to announce that Oppikoppi is going to be declared a national monument.

"The (anti) establishment that was born in the red dust of a farm just outside Northam will soon become an official legacy.

"Not that it makes a difference to the hundreds of thousands of fans who have become part of Oppikoppi in the past decade-and-a-half. They've always known how special the brand truly is," said the organisers this week.

This declaration of the event's "official" status as a national monument has not been pronounced by the government.

But the organisers remain unfazed by this.

"We've been getting recognition both at home and abroad for over 10 years now. We've always done what we want, and had as much fun doing it as we possibly could. There's no other way to go about it - if you're not enjoying yourself then there's no point in continuing.

"The main festival is the heart and soul of everything we do. But our total business sees us reaching 400000 people in a year, many more than the number of revellers who trek to Northam," explained Carel Hoffman, Oppikoppi's president for life.

"I've played there many times and it's always been an incredible experience," said guitar virtuoso and international star Vusi Mahlasela.

Fellow musician Koos Kombuis agrees with the accolades heaped on Oppikoppi. "It's the biggest show in the southern hemisphere, and one of the biggest parties in the galaxy. I've been involved in some incredible collaborations at Oppikoppi, most notably with Louis Mhlanga and Albert Frost," he reminisced.

This year's festival will close with an official ceremony on August 9 where the monument announcement will be made.

Sowetan understands that the organisers will apply to the government for the festival to be declared a national monument.

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