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North Carolina was no stranger to live music across the Triangle this year

Between water crises, protests and hurricanes, 2018 was one of Chapel Hill’s most eventful years in recent memory. Consequently, it may have been difficult for many students to make it to as many concerts as they may have wanted to. Luckily, we have you covered with a few of the most important shows of the year.

April – Waka Flocka Flame

Waka Flocka Flame, DJ Luke Nasty, and Hollywood COLD perform during CUAB Jubilee 2018 on Saturday, April 7.

The spring Jubilee 2018 concert was a much-anticipated one, with Carolina Union Activities Board building excitement for the event from early in the spring semester. Waka Flocka Flame, “No Hands” and “Hard in da Paint” fame, was slated to headline the event with support from DJ Luke Nasty and Hollywood COLD. However, expectations were dampened by a rainy and unusually cold forecast for the early April night. Despite, a sizable crowd packed into the corner of Hooker Fields to see the rapper play a career-spanning set that included both his own hits and others. The performance, while brief, was high energy. As it turned out, bad weather could do little to deter one of rap’s most electric performers.

September – Hopscotch Music Festival

Flock of Dimes performs at Red Hat Amphitheater during Hopscotch Music Festival on Saturday.

This year marked the eighth iteration of the Hopscotch Music Festival, an annual event that takes place throughout Raleigh. This year’s festival had over 120 acts spread across a dozen venues. The three-day event featured something for everyone. Festival headliners included Miguel, The Flaming Lips and Grizzly Bear. Those looking to take in local music could see Mipso, a Chapel Hill-based string group that played on a rainy Friday night at Raleigh’s City Plaza.

October – Gillian Welch

Songwriter Gillian Welch performed in Hill Hall on Tuesday after she received the Thomas Wolfe Prize. Photo by Mark Seliger.

Every year, UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature gives out the Thomas Wolfe prize, an award given to a writer who exemplifies the spirit of the namesake novelist. This year, for the first time ever, the award was given to a songwriter, the Grammy-winning folk singer Gillian Welch. Welch, along with her partner David Rawlings, came to UNC’s Hill Hall to receive the award and perform in front of a sold-out audience. Between renditions of songs such as “Look at Miss Ohio” and “Orphan Girl,” Welch spoke about her experiences and process as a songwriter. 

English professor, Bland Simpson, who introduced the duo, perhaps best captured the effect of Welch’s music.

“Their words and music have found their way into our hearts and minds, and I dare say our souls,” he said. 

November – Bas

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Because of Hurricane Florence, J. Cole's Dreamville festival, which was planned to take place at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, was cancelled. But, those hoping to see J. Cole before then were not completely out of luck. On Nov. 13, the rapper made a surprise appearance at Cat’s Cradle to perform his verse in “Tribe,” a song by Bas, who was performing at the venue that night. Bas, who is signed to Cole’s Dreamville Records, had not announced that the North Carolina-based rapper would be joining him that night. The crowd reacted accordingly, with Cole’s appearance garnering the largest applause of the night.