Last year I randomly took a chance on Hopscotch Festival and it ended up being my favorite three days of music in 2012. As soon as I got home I circled September 2013 on the calendar in excitement (this is a lie, I don't have a calendar...but...I was excited). The festival is a unique gem that is perfectly curated with every type of sound represented and showcased in some of the most stunning venues any festival has to offer. From opera houses, to dive bars with character, and a beautiful city plaza, Hopscotch gets what many festivals ignore: music itself is the star of the show and presenting it in a unique manner will always propel Hopscotch as a magical weekend celebrating an art worth obsessing over.
Here are my top five bands/artists playing Hopscotch 2013:
Marnie Stern / Kurt Vile
I grouped two of my favorite current indie masterminds because Hopscotch had the smarts to do the same. That's right, under one roof we get an amazing back to back show from Marnie Stern and Kurt Vile. Between Sterns' lightning fast guitar work and the cutting sensitivity of Vile, this should be a 1-2 punch that is almost impossible to disappoint.
Angel Olsen embodies exactly what Hopscotch Festival is all about. She isn't just a musician, rather a vessel containing the purest talent, songwriting genius, and aura that is rarely found. Olsen is a gift and having seen her twice, she holds the ability to completely suck the air out of a room and allow her music to sink into each and every listener.
The creators of one of the best alt-country record of 2013 will perform their entire discography in one night. This is why Hopscotch is just better than every other music festival; they think outside the box and offer their attendees opportunities to see something that is unique only to that moment. Last year, John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) performed a series of metal covers on piano, took a break, and returned to do a set of Mountain Goats' rarities. While watching that show I got the feeling this would be the only time one could see such a thing and having Mount Moriah celebrate their brilliant discography back to back to back is sure to conjure the same feeling.
It's Spiritualized. At night. Outside. Under the stars. In that time where summer starts melting away. I'm not usually one for big crowds, but I fully expect Spiritualized's sonic wonderment to sweep over all of Raleigh and remind us why this is one of the greatest bands we have going now.
John Cale's Paris 1919 has always acted as warm blanket in my vinyl collection for close to a decade. It's not hyperbole to label Cale as one of the most important musicians of all time. From co-founding The Velvet Underground, working with Brian Eno/Patti Smith/The Stooges/The Replacements/many more, to his own brilliant solo material, the very thought that Hopscotch landed Cale as one of their acts is still hard to believe. Hopscotch Festival is the best weekend of music because it's a festival run by people who very simply love music and put talent as a top priority. For a festival that does everything right and I hold in high regard, booking John Cale proves that even something that one thinks is perfect can get even better year after year.
NOT TOO LATE TO BUY TICKETS