During Parquet Courts’ set at Hopscotch Festival, the bass player, Sean Yeaton, broke one of his bass strings. He didn’t have extra strings or a second base. While discussing with the band about whether he should pick up a guitar or try and play with one less bass string, Eric Johnson, the guitarist for Archers of Loaf brought out Matt Gentling, their bassists, bass for Yeaton to use. Yeaton played the rest of the set with Gentling’s bass and the show went on. This is the perfect story to show the sense of community the Hopscotch Festival created.
The Hopscotch Festival took place over a month ago, but I still think about this moment. I was so excited to go back to festivals and be around people who were eager to see the same artists as me, and that moment reminded me why I love seeing live music. It is so delightful to see your favorite artists interacting with each other, and it’s even better when it’s happening in the city you live in.
Large and small bands came together in Raleigh to perform to an excited crowd, for many of the people there it was probably their first shows back since the pandemic. I got to talk to some of the artists about their festival going experience and they all had nothing but nice things to say about Hopscotch.
For Hannah Jadagu, a young indie-pop artist from New York, Hopscotch was the first festival she’s ever performed at. She had a prime spot on the City Plaza stage at 4:30, before Anjimile.
“I was really nervous to play a festival, especially on the big stage, but I felt the performance went really well and I got more comfortable on stage as time went on,” Jadagu said. “ I was also really happy to see the crowd filling in during my set and I was able to play off of the crowd’s energy.”
Jadagu was just as thrilled to be at the festival as the audience. She noted she was excited she was able to catch the Caroline Polachek and Flying Lotus sets. One of her current favorite artists is Caroline Polachek and she took inspiration from her confidence on stage.
Wednesday, another act who played Hopscotch was excited to be back in Raleigh and at Hopscotch. This was their first time playing one of the main stages at Hopscotch and the lead singer, Karly Hartzman was excited to finally perform songs from her new album, Twin Plagues, for a responsive audience.
“It was so validating to play on one of the main stages, we played a few day parties in 2019 which were great, but it was so exciting to come back and be asked to perform on a main stage,” Hartzman said.
She was also happy to be able to play after the Pandemic at all outdoor sets because the band and audiences felt more comfortable being outside.
“The last time we were at Hopscotch was really stressful because we were playing sets and still wanted to go see other acts, so we were running around all weekend.” Hartzman continued, “It was overwhelming because there were so many places we wanted to or had to be. This year it was a lot easier to go back and forth between the two main stages and play the next day [at Ruby Deluxe].”
Playing her new songs for the Hopscotch crowds was also very rewarding for Hartzman. Her lyrics are so vulnerable and she was thrilled to share them with the crowds.
“Practicing can be mind numbing because I have to put myself back in the place I was when I wrote these songs, but knowing my songs are being accepted and recognized by listeners was amazing,” Hartzman said.
The last act I got to talk to was Archers of Loaf, who like Wednesday are also North Carolina Natives. Archers of Loaf headlined the Moore Square stage on the last day of the festival, and hundreds of people came out to see them return to Raleigh.
“When we first started as a band it was really hard to break into the scene in Raleigh, there were so many good bands and it took us a while to get our name out there,” Guitarist Eric Johnson said. “It’s so gratifying that we are now headlining a festival in Raleigh.”
The band was pleased with the turnout and the energy from the crowd at Hopscotch. It’s nice to know that the artists enjoyed the festival as much as I did, because it makes me want to attend even more next year. Having a great music scene in Raleigh is an exciting privilege and I can’t wait to see who will come through the city next.