Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Smells Like Team Spirit

Raleigh City Plaza, 2010. Photo by Ladye JaneVickers.
2011 will mark my first immersion in the full Hopscotch Music Festival experience. Last year, I was only in town for the last day to see Public Enemy and No Age in City Plaza and attend a fantastic day party for Trekky Records beforehand. Then and there, I swore that nothing would prevent me from enjoying everything the festival's second year would have to offer. And now, here I sit, with a blue wristband on my right arm and an itinerary that's constantly being rewritten.

What won me over so powerfully this time last year was the strange feeling that seemed to dominate downtown Raleigh on that Saturday evening. It was an atmosphere so overwhelmingly infectious that just by walking down the street, you feel included in something bigger than yourself: a horde of enthusiastic spectators, all here because they're excited about independent music. More than that, the event seems like a tribute to Raleigh itself; the fact that a city's community can have the ardent passion required to pull off something of this magnitude speaks volumes about its character.

It's a powerful display of North Carolinian pride as well. Not only is Hopscotch's lineup littered with locals acts from all across the state (with a heavy focus on the Triangle of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), but local businesses from all markets are rallying around a flag of mutual support. Local breweries are sponsoring day parties showcasing regional artists and labels, restaurants are catering heavily to the needs of the festival crowd, and there's even a local salon giving free haircuts outside of the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday. This just further demonstrates the devotion to the Old North State's unique charm and character.

By the time you read this, I'll be wandering the streets of downtown to see everything that I didn't have the opportunity to in 2010. I'll be reporting back to tell you all about the excellent time that I'm confident I will be having, exploring the depth and variety of North Carolina's music scene. I'm sure that anyone else out on those streets with would agree: this is something we can all be proud of.

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