Meet the man of the hour: The Oppikoppi Festival Director!


Oppikoppi 17, 'Unknown Brother'

The single most anticipated festival of the year resonating wildly across South Africa and those living abroad. Lets be honest, no one really cares who goes to Oppikoppi and no one who goes to Oppikoppi really cares, about anything, except for the music.  Oh the Music.   Festival goers range from ‘Piet van die plaas af’ to ‘Sasha from Sandton’ (who, by the way, has a surprising party trick of chugging back beers faster than she can say “haaa’sit baybe”.)  It’s the one time of the year where it’s considered ‘ok’ to ‘let go’ no matter who you are.

The organisers of Oppikoppi some how provide the average joe with a get-out-of-jail-free-and-freak-the-f*ck-out card for one weekend of the year. And what do attendees do? They embrace it. Whole heartedly. Where else can you act like Mother Teresa during the week and Courtney Love on the weekend?… Only at Oppikoppi of course. The farm which hosts this famous festival serves as a rock/metal/trance/acoustic-music/mental asylum with highly talented crazies taking to the stages including national and international acclaimed acts. (sum 41 being one of the headliners for this year).

After experiencing the splendour of Oppikoppi for myself a few years back, I am pretty confident in saying that the pictures put everything together for you (that’s if your camera survives).   Don’t count on your sanity to take you places during these few days, it’s about as useless as it would be when returning from a severe dose of anesthetic after surgery. That mouth gurgling, arm spasming, blurry eyed, mumbling kind of useless, but in a good way!

You will let go, literally.

Oppikoppi 17 ‘Unknown brother’ 2011- is just around the corner and to get you in on the loop and scoop of it all I arranged an interview with a super cool/dread-lock/music-junkie/man-of-awesomness who happens to be the Festival Director for Oppikoppi too. Not too shabby hey.  He is the sort of guy that when you meet him for the first time, you kinda feel like you’re just catching up with an old friend. He just oozes positive waves, is super chillaxed and puts the mellow in the marsh (or the ‘mosh’ in the mellow, when it comes to partying). He has a wicked sense of humour and is dating one of the sexiest girls in town (sorry ladies).

His job is envied by many and there are very few people in my life I have come across who 1.) Love music this much 2.) Have a pretty high-profile job 3.) Get paid to party, and 4.) Remain awesome!…

So without further ado, I introduce to you Nicol van den Berg – Oppikoppi Festival Director.

The guy with the coolest job in SA - Nicol van den Berg.

enter the dude….

So Nicol, how did you end up working for ol’ Oppikoppi?

Like most people, I liked to party, but I also liked to work.  So the logical thing was to combine the 2, and the result being that I worked at festivals doing odd jobs. To make a very long story (stretching over 10) short – the odd job became my life.

What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office every morning?

I look at my desk and realize I need to tidy and organize it, then I walk around greeting everybody. By the time I’m back at the desk, I tell myself tomorrow I’ll organize the desk.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?…

Not having to wear a tie or cut my hair!

So some people out there reckon it would take about a month to plan something as big as Oppikoppi, how many months of planning really goes into it?

5 months full-time organizing, but I’m already planning next years Oppikoppi.

Our vision of the ‘Oppikoppi Office’ entails a very chilled out Rock inspired laid back theme with Jolandi Visser popping in for a beer, a jukebox that skruks for niks and a limitless supply of boereworse rolls. Are we spot on?

When were you at our office? I must have been in a meeting, because I Didn’t see you?

Nicol (left) & Francois van Coke (fokofpolisiekar)

Off the top of your head, what’s the craziest situation you have ever come across during the festival?…

I have been in fights. I searched for missing children. Crawled in pee. (the list is really to long, so invite me for a beer and I’ll tell you about it)

Do you get to hang out with all the bands including headlining acts?…

  Jip. The party is always backstage! (not really everybody thinks that is the case and they try to get in) but yes, I get to meet the bands.

If so who has been the coolest/most inspiring band you have hung out with and why?…

All artists have got something magic about them, but anybody who has met Tidal Waves (  would agree that they are pretty inspiring.

Considering the theme this year, ‘Unknown Brother’ what can we expect to be different this year compared to any other years?

We are cashless which is a first of its kind in the world. Otherwise than that, there are not many new tricks to mention.

What inspired the theme for this year?…

The Black Keys song called unknown brother ( from their new album.)

Nicol with Elma Smit in Studio 1.

What are the most weird/annoying questions you receive from the public through the website?

Nothing, we love the fact that our unknown brothers and sisters keep calling us for info about the festival.

There were a few concerns regarding the increase in ticket prices this year, how can you justify this to the regular festival goers and huge Oppikoppi fans?

We increase the price, but we also increase the line-up, the entertainment, and the general feeling of the festival. This is still the best the best price for any festival in SA…(can’t argue that!)

What is the biggest tip you have for the festival goers this year?

If you don’t have tickets by now, you will have to hurry. Tickets are selling crazy.

Side Note: wet wipes, bring loads!

Tell us something we wouldn’t know about Oppikoppi without asking, (may involve anything at all, from crew to meatloaf)?

Our staff are nearly 1000 that work during the weekend.

If you could have any international act play at Oppikoppi who would it be? …

The Foo Fighters, White stripes, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen…

(Excellent choices if I may say so myself)

Nicol with his girlfriend, Estee Burger, will both be attending Oppikoppi this year.

Quick question:The Narrow / Prime Circle?…

The Narrow

…Exit the dude

So there you have it. Without him and the rest of the Oppikoppi gang our one time a year get-out-of-jail-free-and-freak-the-f*ck-out card would be completely null and void or even worse, non-existent.  Oppikoppi has become a form of annual release or let-go for many so cheers to the Oppikoppi crew for making it all possible! A special thanks to Nicol and Estee for being so generous with your time.  And for the readers, If you happen to see Nicol this year saving lives, crawling through pee, moshing in the pits, or feeding hungry drunks at Oppikoppi… why don’t you stop on by and exchange a fist-bump, a high-five or hey… even better, buy this man a beer!

Find out more about Oppikoppi 2011, ‘Unknown Brother’ including ticket enquiries: and join their Facebook page for latest updates 

O & O



  1. SOOO Awesome! Wish I was going 😦 Next year for sure! if 2012 is the end of the world, and it’s not before Oppi, would be an awesome way to spend your last few days on this planet 🙂 \m/

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