Musically, I was raised in the ’90s. Being from North Carolina, I followed the Chapel Hill music scene closely while in college a few hours away in Wilmington. To my knowledge, even though the Triangle area was clearly a hub for great, new, independent music, the area didn’t have an annual festival of the magnitude of Hopscotch to call its own. And as well, the focus never really seemed to be on Raleigh itself, as much as on Chapel Hill, who spawned such bands as Superchunk, Polvo and Archers of Loaf.
20 years later, it seems Raleigh is finally coming into its own. This year’s Hopscotch festival, a three-night indie music extravaganza centered around Raleigh’s City Plaza and about a dozen nearby music venues, included such big names as Flaming Lips, Guided by Voices, and Drive-By Truckers, as well as Triangle-area up-and-comers Mount Moriah, Lost in the Trees and Lonnie Walker. Atlanta’s own Black Lips headlined a club show the first night of the festival (sadly, that thing called my day job prevented me from getting there that early so I missed their set). And those wanting a Chapel Hill nostalgia fix got that as well, with sets from Superchunk and Jennyanykind. And that was just the evening shows. (Mostly) Raleigh-based The Rosebuds headlined a day party that was one of the highlights of the festival and included sets from Hammer No More the Fingers and Ben Sollee. Athens’ music PR/radio promotions firm Team Clermont hosted a day party as well, with a stellar lineup – John Vanderslice, Fan Modine, I Was Totally Destroying It, Filthybird and Schooner.
From an attendee standpoint, as with most any big music festival, it was both exhilarating and exhausting. And also as with most any big music festival, there were acts that I wish I’d seen but missed, and acts I saw but found less than entertaining. But all in all, Hopscotch was a blast, and a great snapshot of the Triangle music scene. The Rosebuds definitely did their city proud, Superchunk never fails to rock out, and it was an extra special treat for me to see Jennyanykind, a band I had not seen perform since those glory days in Wilmington (and to be honest, didn’t even know they were still around, but they recently released a 7” with another Triangle band, The Moaners). In the end though, I came away from Hopscotch with one main takeaway – the new Triangle music scene is all about the ladies.