Hopscotch Music Festival 2016

A six year old musical tradition turns up the volume in downtown Raleigh this week

graphiccourtesy of HopscotchMusic Festival

This week downtown Raleigh flings its doors wide open to a diverse collection of 120 musical artists of every genre for fans of all stripes for the 2016 Hopscotch Music Festival. In true Raleigh fashion the stages and venues are as varied as the bands themselves. Showcasing a potent combination of local, regional, and national acts the festival by design produces unmatched exposure to the music, to the city, to what defines the area musically and culturally. With Live Nation now an active Hopscotch Music Festival partner, the event has expanded for the first time to the 5,990 seat Red Hat Amphitheater, allowing a wider audience the chance to take in this year’s larger acts. The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts will also be a part of the event, after taking two years off for renovations, they reopen their three performance spaces to play host to a varied lineup during the festival. Founded in 2010 by visionary, Greg Lowenhagen, in its first year the event brought musical acts to Raleigh ranging from hip-hop legends Public Enemy, to famed indy rock collective Broken Social Scene. Hopscotch Music Festival and its architects created an event blueprint to give audiences a taste of local, national, and international music making sure to include every genre under the sun. Since its inception Lowenhagen says he and his team have, “stuck with a mix as a roadmap, the most diverse music genre wise—metal, hip-hop, anything you can think of—we are offering.” The event organizers top goal is to keep North Carolina’s vibrant musical community as a vital piece of the puzzle, 35-40% of the performing artists are local to the triangle and state music scene overall. In February of 2015, Lowenhagen and partner, Steve Schewel sold to Travis Janovich, CEO and Founder of Etix, the international web-based ticketing service. Lowenhagen will remain the Hopscotch Director for the 2016 event and Nathan Price the current Director of Development will take over going forward. In order to juggle such a massive undertaking they expand to a staff of 25, and a volunteer base of 250-300 for the 15 days surrounding the event. With parallels to the Austin, Texas annual arts and cultural bash, South by Southwest—Hopscotch Music Festival boasts a similar diversity, but with a much easier to manage and intimate experience involving local venues, vendors, and a connection to the smaller downtown Raleigh community.Attendees can freely wander into a variety of establishments to see their favorite alternative country act and wind up discovering an unforgettable poly-rhythmic funk combo right next door and then follow it all up with shopping and dining downtown. Taking into account the 35 official day parties, Hopscotch Music Festival welcomes all to downtown Raleigh, continuing to mark the city as a star on the national stage and a high water mark of cultural significance musically.Over the last six years the event has drawn the likes of The Flaming Lips, The Roots, Dwight Yoakam, Spoon, and John Cale as headliners. While in that same span of time regional greats such as Hiss Golden Messenger, Jeanne Jolly, and The Love Language have flourished—thanks in part to the exposure they received at Hopscotch Music Festival. This year’s event promises the same mix as years past and will feature performances from the seminal NYC rock outfit, Television, whose music heavily influenced punk, post-punk, and new wave bands of the early to mid 1970’s. Also in the mix are hip-hop sensation Young Thug, groundbreaking singer-songwriter Erykah Badu, musical wunderkind Andrew Bird, plus an endless parade of local, regional, and national acts.Ticket information and the entire schedule and lineup can be found at: hopscotchmusicfest.com