Friday, September 26, 2014

Visual Journal :: Hopscotch Fest 2014


Instant photos shot on Fujifilm Instax Wide 210 Instant.
Digital photos shot on Nikon D90 or iPhone 5
Earlier this week, I was asked in an interview what my favorite music festival is. I didn't even have to think: 
Hopscotch Festival, now on it's fifth year, in Raleigh, NC. 

Estrangers (Phuzz Records)
The appeal of Hopscotch for me is the balance of established acts with experimental performances and up-and-coming artists. For every popular festival headliner like St. Vincent or Spoon, there is a "when am I ever going to get the chance to see this?" moment, like seeing IIII performing as a 16 piece ensemble, watching Tony Conrad in a church, or a family-friendly city square metal show featuring Death and Mastodon. A casual afternoon bloody mary watching harpist Mary Lattimore collaborate with Thurston Moore almost feels normal at a festival this full of discovery, experimentation, and camaraderie. There is a feeling in the air that the artists are enjoying themselves as much as the festival goers, an indicator of just how much careful thought goes into this festival. 

Blaze from Soft Spot / Bambara. Smooch via Ms. Hannah Kinlaw. 

Memphis Dawls
Sam from Celestial Shore + Adam from Hometapes
Raleigh feels like a second-Athens to me. Sometimes I jokingly describe it as "Athens, but with jobs." Downtown is thriving but doesn't feel overdeveloped. People are approachable and down to earth. Everything is walkable easily and safely. Rooms are not crowded to a point that causes the show to suffer.  Even during the festival, I had no problem getting seated quickly at some of my chef girl-crush Ashley Christesen's restaurants like Fox Liquor Bar, Chuck's and Beasley's Chicken + Honey. A mezcal cocktail and afternoon cheese plate sure turns one's festival attitude and energy level around quickly. Raleigh is welcoming and inviting, year after year. 

This woman has influenced me more than I can put into words: Sara from Hometapes
The Tills

Tow3Rs at Pour House Music Hall courtesy of HSIITBAA. Photo by John Guerin
Tow3Rs at Pour House Music Hall courtesy of How Strange Is It To Be Anything At All
Photo by John Guerin
My highlights: 

- T0W3RS (triumphant performance with aerialists and acrobats)
- Power Trip (shout out to the dude who tried to get a pit started barefoot)
- Soft Spot (if you appreciate Kate Bush, you will love this band. Bonus points for percussion from Blaze of Bambara.)
- Landlady (the closest thing I can compare their intelligent pop to is Nilsson, but Landlady exists in a space and time of their own.)
- Lonnie Walker (the upcoming record is a doozy. Some of these songs hold years of nostalgia for me and feel like having late-night porch beers with an old friend.) 
- White Laces opening for War On Drugs (I'm putting out White Laces' tape this fall. Grab a sneak peek here or here.)
- The Tills (rowdy garage rock perfection)
- See Gulls (get hip to this now. Right now.)

You're funny, downtown Raleigh.

When you're not from North Carolina, fancy tokens to identify you as a lifetime member of Fox Liquor Bar are extra exciting

III at Fletcher Opera House
Trash Talk

Purse, camera bag, and laptop bag. Guess which is which. 

Jamie XX at Cam Raleigh. Photo by Michelle King
Jamie XX at Cam Raleigh. Photo via She Turns the Tables
After most of Saturday night's shows came to a close, everyone migrated to CAM to let loose to a DJ set from Jamie XX. It felt like a big dance on the last night of summer camp.

I haven't missed a Hopscotch yet, and hope I never do. 

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