Hopscotch Music Festival
If you are looking for a music festival that feeds every sort of appetite you could possibly have as a music lover, then the Hopscotch Festival was created for you. This is four days of curated shows, all different genres, all happening within hours of each other over a several block radius in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and yes it's as great as it sounds. Add to that the free day parties which all had their own individual lineups and it’s enough to send you into music overload; there's just so many options. Here's a tip: wear comfy shoes, because you will be walking. A lot.
Attendees are able to either plan out their experience with the help of a downloadable schedule (easily a time and life saver) or simply follow the crowds to find something new. I did both since some shows like Susto’s at Slim’s were so packed that the line to get in went around the block. I had to scrap the awesome punk-rock band Natural Velvet’s Saturday show because no one else could get in, it was so packed. Thank goodness they added a Sunday show because after catching their set, I would've been pained to have missed out on such a great band. Hailing from Baltimore, they're a diverse post-punk band led by songstress and bassist Corynne Ostermann. I was an instant fan once I heard her voice and saw drummer Greg Hatem damn near having a fit as he played. There's nothing better than watching a drummer lose his religion, getting so lost in the music.
The only real downside to Hopscotch is trying to choose who you want to see because it might mean missing someone else. In an effort to catch JLin on Saturday, who ended up cancelling anyways, I was too late to see Susto. Often you will find yourself running into a venue just to catch the last song or two from someone like I did with Laser Background, and being thankful you did. I was lucky on Thursday, the first official night of Hopscotch. Lincoln Theater hosted a hip hop lineup that featured artists I had eagerly planned on checking out. Included were hometown artists P.A.T Junior (a soulful emcee that looks like Rick Ross but had a solid set), G Yamazawa, DMV artists Oddissee & Good Company (one of my favorite producers and always has a great performance) and Chicago emcee NoName (imagine literal sunshine being able to have raw lyrics and a catchy delivery and that about sums her up).
The “main” shows at City Plaza and Red Hat Amphitheater were much easier to attend if you were only trying to check out the headliners. Problem is, where's the fun in that? Plus they all had great openers so if you didn't check them out you missed last minute add-ons like NC’s own Phonte on Saturday or artists like Zensofly and Mary Timony Plays Helium. Now if ever there was a problem to be had, this is a good one but it made for burning calves from trying to jog between venues to catch as much as possible. By Sunday night I was practically limping but I didn't have a single regret except that I was unable to frequent even more shows than I had managed to. Next year Hopscotch. Next year.
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