Oppikoppi, one of South Africa’s biggest music festivals, announced today with a heavy heart that their scheduled 25th edition will unfortunately not be happening in 2019 and will subsequently be pushed to 2020. The news comes after a wave of crime which hit the festival in 2018 causing organizers to put more time and money into the festival to ensure that only the best experience is had by festival-goers – something Oppikoppi has felt strongly about since the very first edition.

“This was a very big decision for us. The decision was made after discussions with all stakeholders, our international investors and partners, sponsors and partners on the viability of the project this year and we have their full support and backing on the decision,” the festival said in a statement.

The organisers explain that the decision was a difficult but necessary one. “For 24 years, OppiKoppi has been going great guns. Unfortunately, in 2018 we experienced the rampant crime currently impacting events and festivals across South Africa. For us to present the 2019 event with the increased security measures that are required to curb this crime to present a safe and enjoyable festival, the production costs also increase drastically. By taking a gap year, we are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes without impacting the festival goer by increasing ticket prices. We believe that in doing this, we will bring everyone a fresh new festival, ready to take music lovers forward for the next 25 years.”

With this hiatus comes big changes. The team at Oppikoppi have announced that they are starting preparations from scratch and this could mean the end of Oppikoppi as we know it as they embark on a new journey continue the legacy the festival has built in the local music space. “Globally, live music festivals are constantly evolving, and even more so in South Africa. We are very proud of the moves we have made and the direction of the festival, but we feel like we needed to take a step back and start with a completely clean slate. It is an opportunity for us to take a look at what our tribe of fun-loving fans want, where they want it, and for how long,” the Oppikoppi team continues. “The team is relooking every single brick that builds a festival in South Africa. We are even investigating bringing the festival to a venue closer to a major city, to enable day tickets, less travelling and other options for the attendees. All options are open. Nothing is out of question. We realise that a festival like OppiKoppi has a significant role to play in the South African music scene, along with a critical social cohesion role that it has been playing for many years. We are 100% up for it BUT we want to do it right.”

The Oppikoppi team has also called on fans to send through their ideas on how to make the festival bigger and better than ever. “We’re open to all suggestions on venues, provinces, bands, genres, stages, entertainment, bars and any crazy ideas that you may have for the 25th edition of South Africa’s most-loved festival. Send them to: hello@matchboxlive.co.za,” the festival says.

This is a game-changing decision from the Oppikoppi team and could very well be the end of Oppikoppi as we know it. However, we’re glad to see that the team is willing to look at all avenues to make sure the event is bigger and better than ever before – and we’re excited to see what they come up with for 2020.

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