One of South Africa’s longest running music festival, OppiKoppi, will not be taking place this year.
Matchbox LIVE CEO Theresho Selesho made the cancellation announcement in a press statement on Wednesday. The organizers attribute this cancellation to a crime wave that plagued the 2018 event.
According to Selesho, last year’s crime spree was not out of the blue, but was rather the height of a steady rise in similar cases.
The festival has been running for 25 years, and the organizers promise to bring it back in 2020. The promise to use the gap year to redesign the festival to arrest the situation ”without increasing ticket prices”.
Read the full statement below.
“Greetings South Africans. It is with a mixed bag of emotions, that we announce that the postponement of the 25th edition of the annual music festival, OppiKoppi, till 2020.
We are very happy about the evolution of the festival dynamics, which are changing at OppiKoppi. Although OppiKoppi has been going for 25 years, the audience is young and keeps changing. 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.
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.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 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.
Thank you for the support over the last 24 years.
We’ll see you in the trenches again in 2020.
In Dust We Trust.