South Africa’s pre-eminent music festival is going down in August, and it’s going to be one moerse party! We here at Why Ed are already preparing ourselves by trying to find a tent in total darkness and making a fire with nothing but a pair of slops and a water bottle. With that said, we’re asking Oppikoppi artists 7 questions about the festival, and also delving into past experiences. Their answers may serve you well in the quest to make your very own Oppikoppi experience one of the most memorable.

We took some time out of our festival preparations to ask Naming James a few questions about Oppikoppi 21: The Fantastic Mr. VOS VOS!

‘…Songs about as sharpened as the butcher’s knife.’ Lyric from the title track of the first full length Naming James album, says it all. The singer/songwriter/string breaker offers up a diverse collection of finely crafted songs that have been tried and tested on stages around South Africa to audiences as varied as the country itself.

If you could describe Oppikoppi in one song excerpt, what would it be?

“I am going. I am going. Any which way the wind may be blowing.
I am going. I am going. Where streams of whiskey are flowing.” – The Pogues

Have you ever picked up any injuries at Oppikoppi? If so, mind telling us what happened?

At Oppikoppi 2003 during the Max Normal set my internal defibrillator (yes, I have some heart problems, it’s kinda like a pacemaker but it’s all okay now) malfunctioned and shocked me six times. I woke up on the ground and thought someone had thrown a rock at my head. My cousin who was luckily there helped me to safety as I tried to make it out the crowd while everyone was going ‘bee baa bee baa…’ My dad drove like a madman from JHB to Northam in just over an hour and picked me up and all was well in the end. My only concern was that I missed the rest of the bands that night…

naming james oppikoppi

Do you have any advice for people who are attending the festival for the first time?

Don’t be a poes, just be lekker. Also, it is not a sprint, it is like the comrades. If you want to achieve that ethereal three-day inebriation and manage to get the most out of it and enjoy the feast of music and #jol on offer, then pace yourself. This, however, is easier said than done, I am still trying to master it.

Which band would you most like to have a few beers with at Oppikoppi this year, and why?

All the SA bands are a bunch of bloody legends and I respect each and every honest performer playing the circuit around this country, but I can have beers with them anytime, so I would have to say a couple of ice cold bottles of weird vodka with Gogol Bordello would be fantastic.

Naming James will be entertaining the prawns this year again, what has been your personal highlight of the festival?

The highlight for anyone at any Oppikoppi is on the journey home when you look at your mates, all battered, bruised and babalaas and, with a look of proud achievement, say ‘we made it!’. If I had to choose a personal moment it would definitely be performing on the James Phillips stage at Oppikoppi 2013 and doing our last song with all my friends on stage singing. Pure gold.

How would you explain to someone to difference between Kreef and Mordor?

I have never stayed in the Kreef Hotel but I would say that in Mordor is where half the charm of Oppikoppi lies. The true and raw underbelly of Koppi is exposed there and the antics and people-watching are unparalleled by any other campsite that I have ever seen at any SA festival.

Any surprises from Naming James this year? What can the Oppikoppi-goers expect from you guys?

The band and I will be busting out a few new songs that we’ve never played before. I will also be performing with my new two-piece band, The Foolish Braves, with Jay Bones from Fuzigish.

Be sure to check out the set by Naming James at 15:00 on the Saturday at the Top Bar. Lekker!