The seventh annual Hopscotch Music Festival took place this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina and, despite anti-LGBT Governor Pat McCrory giving his state a bad name due to his HB2 “bathroom bill,” which has caused many entertainers and organizations to boycott the state, locals decided to protest in their own way. Grayson and Tina Haver Currin unfurled a huge banner of the man with the word SHAME plastered over his face that appeared at a few different locations – becoming a focal point for those in attendance.
As for the bands, the first night of the fest stuck to a classic format with local bands and popular performances by a reunited Sneakers and Television. It was the second night that promised to be a rousing success with Erykah Badu and Young Thug featured that night at separate venues. But first it was Southern California’s Anderson Paak who wowed the crowd at City Plaza with his energy and playful banter. As he sang and rapped, he even got behind the drums to show off his multi-instrumental talents. Then he brought on hometown hero Rapsody to join him for “Without You,” giving the crowd exactly what they’d wanted.
At Red Hat Amphitheater, blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. entertained the attendees, but due to a flight delay, Badu didn’t take the stage until after 10 p.m. (around two hours after her scheduled start time). Although some worried that the city’s noise ordinance would cut the set short, luckily the neo-soul icon entertained the adoring fans without a hitch. Young Thug also went on an hour past his scheduled time, and the Atlanta rapper delivered a great set as well – even if festival attendees were left scrambling, trying to get to everything they hoped for that evening.
The final night of Hopscotch proved to be the most memorable with a diversity of acts. There was Andrew Bird’s perfect indie pop and Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, who was magnetic if he sometimes seemed enigmatic and lost to his own reveries. He preceded one of the most memorable performances of the final night: Durham’s own Sylvan Esso. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn performed on the City Plaza stage on Saturday night, dancing along to their hits “Dreamy Bruises” and “H.S.K.T” off their eponymous debut album as well some new tracks . “Could it get any more perfect than this? I mean this right here?” Sanborn asked the crowd, which had transformed into a sweaty, sexy dance party.