In a course of 4 days throughout downtown Raleigh, the Hopscotch Music Festival spreads innovative music acts at different venues. The venues differ from small in-door bars to the Red Hat Amphitheater and a makeshift stage on Raleigh City Plaza. It’s a literal hopscotch to various music acts and day parties.
Hopscotch promoted local businesses to hold official day parties throughout the festival. They were typically timed around noon till later in the afternoon when some of the bigger shows started. The Art of Style, a clothing boutique on W. Hargett St., had a day party that included all local acts: Blursome, Ace Henderson, NiGE HOOD, DJ Luxeposh and more. It was a cool edgy party with 10% of the proceeds from sales benefiting CAM Raleigh. The acts were fresh and the store was packed with locals and travelers enjoying the music.
This year’s Hopscotch had over 120 bands, musicians, and performance artists throughout Raleigh for the enjoyment of those carrying a wristband. The hype for the 2017 Hopscotch began early in the year when it was announced that Grammy award winning Solange would be the headliner. She started her career with her first album, Soul Star, but got her breakout with Sol-Angels. She shifted sound with her EP, True, which found herself gaining a new audience, finding her sound which presents her great artistry.
This artistry was evident in her performance Saturday at the Red Hat Amphitheater. Fans showed up hours early to be sure to get front row to one of the most talked about performances of the year. She went on promptly at 9:00 and basked in red light as she walked out on stage. Her voice was smooth and gentle, almost comforting to the audience singing along. She was backed by a live band, two brass performers and three dancers who performed choreography created by Solange herself. It was truly an experience that if offered again to any, should be taken.
Smaller local acts were invited to perform as well. Raleigh’s own Zensofly opened for Solange on the main stage and later at a day party at the Tactile Factory on South Sounders Street. She’s a hip hop artist who blends house music and truly transcend genres. Her newly released single, Getting Starting, got the crowd pumped and she performed new music, with a live band, from her album Flower Power. In an unsurprising fashion, she gave a lively and fun performance.
Another local act, Pie Face Girls, were on the lineup this year and performed a day party as well. They’re a local punk band, their name originated from the older slang term for ‘pretty girls’. They are a female led band that seek to push boundaries regarding gender identity, politics, and resisting patriarchal authority. They’re not only aggressively catchy, but are a trio of extremely charming band members that make their performance so great.