Two years ago, I swore I’d never go to Oppikoppi again.

Nothing bad happened. I had just been going to the festival in Limp City since I was a baby writer. I’d missed some years but overall, part of my job was attending festivals like that and I did it on and off for years. The only sucky thing about it: I hate camping.

And I have anxiety about being unable to share experiences with people I love but that’s a story for another day.

Fast forward to two years later, I made it to Northam for the highly melanated, archandroid orchestrated three day festival. I arrived on day two with my Day One and actually had a good time.

What was a pleasant surprise is just how many women stomped those stages. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice all those years before or if, since there was less pressure on me to be hyper-observant this year, there really were more non-rock musicians and DJs who happen to be women than usual.

Deniece Marz and Ang held it down on the Red Bull stage. I missed BrownPepperAnn on day one but she’s always dope. #SOZLOL played in the wee hours of the morning. A new friend I made at breakfast told me he was impressed by Goodluck – led by Juliet Harding. DJ Bob’s Jazz Club stage consistently featured women spinning and despite it being super, super loud, the space was well attended.

Sho Madjozi was a major highlight – so much so I lost count of how many people were singing her songs in blissful euphoria as I walked back to our tent to get dressed for what was the coldest Koppi night I’ve ever experienced.  Melo B Jones fronted her new band while people like Tecla presented at the Ray Ban stage.

There was also definitely a lethargy in the dust at Oppikoppi this year. I can’t even explain it. I’m definitely too old and too sober to wild out anymore but that’s not even where the feeling of a sluggish fest came from. I can’t put my finger on it.

Now, I probably won’t be going back to the fest – and for real this time. You see, I still hate camping but… I have also come to think this is a young writer’s sport now. What I do hope, though, is that even more women and womxn are given priority placement on these stages for years to come.