I think we can consider last weekend’s first annual Hopscotch Music Festival to be a runaway success. Never before has the city of Raleigh had such an incredible musical event within the confines of downtown. The crowds were terrific (I have yet to hear of anything about someone getting out of hand with authorities), the venues were spectacular hosts, the bands were on point, parking was never a problem, and let’s face it, besides a weak drizzle Saturday night the weather was terrific! You have to hand it to Greg Lowenhagen and Grayson Currin, as well the many volunteers and others who helped out for the spectacular organization and attention to detail the festival was able to achieve. And while it is not set in stone that Hopscotch will continue, in most people’s minds, especially those of the organizers, it certainly will.
So that begs the question, what things can be tweaked to make the festival an even better experience? I have a couple of small things that would have improved:
- Promote the day parties: In my opinion one of the best things about the festival were the numerous free day parties that took place across town. Unfortunately, these were not heavily promoted to the masses and for most out-of-towners they missed out. Friday night I was standing next to a group of festival goers who had driven eight hours for Hopscotch and they had no idea they had already missed out on two days worth of free music before the night even began. Instead they had stayed in their hotel rooms the entire day watching TV and waiting for the official Hopscotch to start. Saturday I caught them hopping around having a blast and they thanked me profusely for informing them of all the day shows going on.
- More options besides music: While this never bothered me since I am all about the music, I think it would be interesting if perhaps the festival has more attractions. Perhaps movie screenings, food discounts, daytime downtown museum/brewery tours, or a giant hopscotch game people have to follow from one venue to the next on the sidewalk? It would just be something extra to entice people who only care about maybe 4 or 5 bands to get a ticket and not feel bad about the price.
- Better schedule grid on pamphlets: Another minor concern was the grid on the schedule that was handed out to all concert attendees. The schedule was difficult to read and I know many complained about having a hard time knowing when certain bands were going to start. It wasn’t too difficult but a better visual would have been better.
- Android and Blackberry app: Yeah yeah, I know iPhone’s are king, but there are just as many if not more people in our area with smart phones containing android software and blackberry mobile devices. It would have been awesome to have had a Hopscotch app on my phone. Instead I had to rely on a calendar from GoGo Raleigh, which was nice, just not as nice.
- Social Media Incentives: With social media websites like Foursquare and Facebook getting involved with location based software, it would have added a little spice to let users going to the festival receive badges or maybe even some sort of prize for checking into certain spots, the most venues, etc. Not only is this a fun game for people attending, but it provides fantastic and free promotion for the event and venues hosting bands.
The complaints I have seem so trivial and minor that I hardly see the point in posting them. What about you? Do you have any comments or suggestions for the future of the festival? Comment below!