This past weekend, I again found myself in lush and lovely Raleigh, North Carolina, for the 4th annual Hopscotch Music Festival. Even after becoming quite impressed by it last year, I wasn’t sure that I could make it down for the sequel. But then I did. (Yes!) But only for the last two days. (Oh no!) These thrilling details are not important. What’s crucial to note is that Hopscotch’s combination of shrewd programming and compact location makes the music fest dream of catching a zillion disparate bands in a short amount of time more achievable and pleasurable than most any other event currently running.
The programming spans from cult-metal to SoundCloud buzz bands, from of-the-moment hip-hop to alt-rock and punk icons, at least giving the impression that the planners are more concerned with artistic import and eclectic variety than bottom line big-dollar draws. The best part is, you can bolt from any show at any time, for whatever reason, and be reasonably sure that you can find something else compelling. Something that you’ll have no problem getting into on a whim! A write up by critic Gary Suarez on MySpace called it “America’s (Secretly) Best Festival.” There’s so many to choose from at this point that the claim is a bold one. Yet, with two years under my belt it’s one I can definitely understand.
Here’s what I saw this year…