It’s that time of year again, when thousands of music-lovers take to the streets of Raleigh to vibe with some seriously class acts, whatever the weather. Yes, 13 years after its debut, Hopscotch Music Festival is back (Sep. 7-9), with main stages at Moore Square and City Plaza, and dozens of stellar acts across the city.
With over 120 acts performing, even the choosiest of playlist-makers can find something to enjoy over the three day event. From rock to rap, post-punk to country, indie, folk, and more, diversity and inclusivity is truly the name of the game.
However, as with every festival lineup worth its salt, a dilemma lies in the inability to put oneself in more than one place at a time. City Plaza and Moore Square are only half a mile apart, but those steps rack up quickly if you’re planning on trekking back and forth between every few sets.
While the truly determined festival-goer could yo-yo between main stages and catch every set, the best intentions don’t always pan, out so it’s best to know your must-sees in advance. To help plan your musical voyage, here’s a look at the main stage lineups:
Thursday (Sep. 7)
Smooth Haze vs. Alt. Edge
On Thursday afternoon, Moore Square opens the festival with a mellow haze of rock, jazz and psychedelics. A trio meant to be, Sam Evian, Mild High Club and King Krule embody that chill, late summer, “almost the weekend” feeling.
Summer is also ending over at City Plaza, but with a bit of an edge, as brooding, post-punk takes the stage with Raleigh’s own Truth Club, followed by similar hints of angst from alt-rock groups, Palm, and Alvvays. Late-90s icons, Pavement, follow suit, closing the alt-rock set in style.
Friday (Sep. 8)
Urban vs. Country
All things country take the stage on Friday at Moore Square. Sunny War brings modern folk-blues, and Neon Union epitomizes that all-American country sound. Cut Worms and Margo Price add pop and rock slants to the genre respectively, with a singer-songwriter angle.
Raleigh native, Pat Junior, leads the urban parallel happening at City Plaza. TiaCorine builds on Pat Junior’s pure, simple, rhythm and flow with dreamy beats, while Digable Planets bring retro to the party in the style of 90s hip-hop and jazz. Rapper, Denzel Curry, completes the lineup with his signature emotional style.
Saturday (Sep. 9):
Emo vs. Indie
Saturday is the host with the most with both main stages kicking off at at an earlier time of around 1pm. Max Gowan play emo, indie tunes to his hometown at Moore Square, before Quasi picks up the pace a little with alt-rock, indie hits. 90s emo heavyweights, American Football define the emo mood of the set with electric guitars and pining vocals.
Things get louder when Sunny Day Real Estate introduce prog rock energy to the lineup, and alt-rock, genre-changing, Dinosaur Jr. round off the set.
Singer-songwriters start Saturday at City Plaza, with the soft vocals of Chessa Rich and the country twang of Florry. Anjimile adds a hint of melancholy to the mood, before ESG shake things up with post-punk and house.
Singer-songwriter, Soccer Mommy, brings rock and gentle vocals to the set, before the dreamy vocals and beats of indie sensations, Japanese Breakfast, close the festival.
Having a better idea of the headliners might make planning a little easier, but with acts like these and almost 100 others playing smaller venues across the city, deciding where to be might just take a little more time. Check out the official website, Instagram, Facebook, X (f.k.a. Twitter) and the official Hopscotch app for more information on the lineup and the latest event updates to best Hopscotch your way around Raleigh next week.