Recapping Hopscotch — the prologue

If you’ve read this blog even once in the last month and a half, you probably know that I was at the 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh this past weekend. You’ve probably read some of the posts that I wrote about the bands in the lineup.

I had hoped to blog, or at least “microblog” from the festival, but I was expecting too much out of myself and my mobile phone battery. Now that I’m back in the real world, and I’ve had a couple of days to decompress, it’s time to recap what I saw. What were the big surprises? The disappointments? My favorite things?

I started off on Thursday already a little behind schedule. I was hoping to leave work a couple of hours early, get to my hotel, take a nap, get something to eat, and take my time getting to the first show. Unfortunately, instead of leaving work a couple of hours early, I only left a couple of minutes early. At least I would still be able to beat rush hour traffic through the dreaded Research Triangle Park area.
I thought so, anyway.
Heavy rain and heavy traffic slowed me down, and I didn’t even make it to my hotel until just a few minutes before 7. Because I had done a bit of careful planning, I packed the car first thing in the morning and changed clothes at work for the drive to Raleigh. I’m thankful for that, because even with that bit of planning, I still had to rush. I checked in, took a shower, and had time only to relax for about three minutes before I needed to head downtown. See, I’m not made of money, so I couldn’t afford to book a room at the downtown Sheraton or the downtown Marriott, so I stayed about three miles away in a more economical, but nice hotel. A nice enough hotel, anyway. Considering all I needed was a bed and a shower. Plus, it was only a seven minute commute to the center of downtown.

Anyway, I headed over to pick up my credentials, and I got in and out of there in no time. Plenty of time still to get my bearings and head over to my first show.

Most people don’t do much homework before going to Hopscotch. They sort of play it by ear, going by the descriptions in the pocket-size festival guide, or by what their friends are doing. As you probably know, I did a ton of homework, so I knew exactly what I wanted to see and had my list laid out carefully. I really thought that I could do it all, even when there were times that I needed to be in three places at once.

I had a carefully laid out plan that would have involved a lot of walking in and out of sets in progress, a lot of only getting to see two or three songs. While some of the venues are literally next door to each other, some involve a walk of anywhere between one and eight city blocks. It was ridiculously ambitious. It’s the third year of this festival and the first time that I’ve gone to the whole thing. I learned that first night that you shouldn’t be so ambitious. It’s more important to pace yourself than to see the maximum number of bands on your wish list. It’s all about being more selective and prioritizing better.

I was by myself on Thursday night, and I had a friend join me on Friday. Her interest was only in seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain, and I told her that there would be loads of other great bands that night and that she was going to see Zola Jesus and that she was going to like it. She’s been out of the loop for about eleven years and doesn’t know what’s what anymore. After the JAMC show, which ended at 10, we still had a few hours of music to take in, and while I was all “go, go, go”, she ran into some friends and wanted to chat with them. We ended up ditching most of my ambitious plans, but we still got to Zola Jesus in time to see her entire set. More on all of this later.

Saturday was a very long day, and in retrospect, I should have booked the hotel for one more day and also taken Sunday off work. Because I had to check out of the hotel, I had to go out to lunch, and then to a lot of the day party stuff, and then pass the time of a very long pause between the end of day parties and the beginning of what I wanted to see. Again, more on all of this later. By the end of the Wye Oak set, I was completely exhausted. Believe it or not, I was a little bit relieved that the festival was over. As much fun as I was having, I was completely worn out and ready to get off my feet.

Next year, the festival may get even bigger. There may be more bands that I love. There may be more bands that I haven’t seen for more than a decade. There may be another headlining band who I’ve liked for a long time and have never seen. No matter what, though, there’s going to be a ton of great bands there, and I’ll know that I need to avoid the temptation to try too hard.

I’ll be working on day-by-day recaps, and I’ll post them as I get them done.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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