Hopscotch 2015

First off, welcome to my blog of all things Raleigh (and anywhere else I happen to go)! I figured I might as well kick off the blog with a post about one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in Raleigh so far.

Last weekend was Hopscotch, a music festival that takes place throughout downtown Raleigh. There were over 100 bands playing across 11 venues.  This was the festival’s  sixth year. I heard some grumblings that the lineup wasn’t as solid as in the past, but I was none the wiser, and had a fantastic time.

The headliners played in City Plaza, and they were, of course, all fantastic. The standouts in my very humble opinion were TV on the Radio, X, and Dwight Yoakam.

The real show stealers were the performers in the small venues. We saw a ton, but my faves were as follows:

  • LIZZO: Award for coolest, most fun performance/most likely to get famous real quick. Step aside Nicki Minaj, no one cares about you anymore. This girl has everything: sick beats, great rhymes, solid dance moves, Sophie the DJ, and, most importantly, this purple swishy jacket of which I am mighty jealous. (That last sentence was meant to be read in Stefon’s voice, by the way.)

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  • GRANDMA SPARROW AND HIS PIDDLETRACTOR ORCHESTRA: Award for weirdest band. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. They are real and they are fantastical. We went to the show out of curiosity, but actually had a fun time. (Honorable mention for weirdest goes to Jenny Hval, but quite frankly her show was one of the scariest things I have ever seen and I never want to speak of it again.)

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  • MUST BE THE HOLY GHOST: Award for coolest backdrop/best hair. This guy uses an old school projector to create his backdrops. Easily one of the coolest things to watch. Sadly, I had a hard time focusing on the music because the projector was straight up mesmerizing (as were his flowing locks).

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  • BOULEVARDS: Award for local treasure. Amazing performance by a local favorite. Boulevards is bringing funk back in a big way. Cannot wait to see a few more of his shows near by before he hits it big. Just look at that suit and try not to dance. I dare you.

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I’m already counting down to next year, but now that I’m a seasoned Hopscotcher, I would recommend doing one thing differently. This year we were all. over. the. place. We were running from the Kennedy Theater to CAM to Tir Na Nog and everywhere in between. When making the schedule, I recommend picking artists in the same vicinity.  It gives you more time with the artists you love and more time to make a quick dash from what I now refer to as a “Jenny Hval” situation.

I would also be lost after seeing so many great bands if it weren’t for the Songkick app.  There are some bands we just didn’t get a chance to see (looking at you block-long line outside of Birds of Avalon).  The app lets you “track” bands and send you push alerts and/or e-mails (because you have a choice!) when they are playing shows nearby. Super helpful.

The minute Hopscotch ended I started thinking of my next weekend (of course). With that in mind, I’m getting my SPARKcon schedule in order. Make sure to head out this weekend to support some amazing local artisans, get some good drinks, and devour all the food you can get your hands on in this amazing city of ours.

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