It’s safe to say that Hopscotch Music Festival is the best way for any music lover to experience Raleigh, NC. The festival had two main outdoor stages, one located in the Raleigh City Plaza and the other at the Red Hat Amphitheater. Ten other stages are set within different venues throughout the city that vary in size and style. Also, besides the venues with the main festival lineup, Raleigh bars and breweries opened their doors to artists (such as local acts Faline, 2 Slices, Lindsay Holler & The Hollerettes, and Niecy Blues) for day parties which you could attend with or without a festival wristband, and with no covers!
Hopscotch 2018 kicked off Thursday, September 6th and ran through Saturday, September 9th. The weekend included two of Charleston’s local upcoming musicians on the main lineup – Contour, who hit a spot opening for Prince’s band The Revolution on the large Basement stage Friday night, and Vanity Plates who shredded at the Deep South Bar on Saturday evening. Earlier that Saturday, Charleston regulars Zack Mexico took the City Plaza stage for their fourth time playing the festival. It was exciting to see the familiar faces alongside some legendary names such as The Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, Thundercat, and Sleep. With any festival though, it’s overly exciting to stumble across new bands and see others for the first time.
What stood out:
•Warm Bodies– which has lead singer Olivia Gibb jumping, shrieking and starting ruckus in the crowd to raw, messy garage rock. If there’s anything the music world needs is more wild and crazy women like her!
•Acid Chaperone– Raleigh locals, played at the Crank Factory Brewery and guest featured Zack Mexico’s drummer Joey LaFountaine.They gave fuzzy guitars, sweet bass lines, and even sprinkled some cowbell in there.
•Empath – with so much style and a flawless punk sound. Couldn’t be more excited that I was able to snag one of their cassettes on the way out.
• OMNI – a familiar group to Charleston’s music scene, having played a show at the infamous Makeout Reef. The trio is a regular on my mix, but this was my first experience of their live set and it was everything I had hoped it would be.
• Shopping – another trio gleaming with 70’s post-punk attitude that hail from the motherland, England, threw down a wild party within the mirrored walls of Wicked Witch.
• Gang Gang Dance – high on my list of must-see acts and they left me speechless. Their experimental electronic sounds and percussions along with lead singer Lizzi Bougatsos’ out of this world vocals, truly gave a mesmerizing show.
Having only briefly visited Raleigh once before this trip, I was amazed by the city. Now, Bird scooters are available throughout the city, which made getting around easy, affordable, and fun… especially going down hills. Contemporary visual art is highly supported throughout the state of North Carolina and it was excellent to experience the exhibits up at the VAE Gallery as well as The CAM Museum in between hitting shows. On Saturday, Fayetteville Street was shut off to thru-traffic, and vendors including Charleston’s own Peachy Keen Creations and Threads Todisco, filled the streets to show and sell their works.
Hopscotch is the preeminent festival for the DIY and underground music scene in the southeast. Next year will be Hopscotch’s tenth year and I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s in store!
See a photo gallery from the weekend below. All photos taken by Andrew King, with bands shown identified in the headers. Follow Andy on Instagram at @notandrewking.
The Flaming Lips
All photos by Andrew King.