The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Preview: Hopscotch Festival highlights local artists, comedians

contrib-lifestyle-hopscotch-music-fest-raleigh-preview2-2.jpg
Little Brother performed at last year's Hopscotch Music Festival at City Plaza on Sept. 7, 2022. Photo Courtesy of Garrett Poulos/Hopscotch Music Festival.

Artists near and far have traveled to downtown Raleigh for the 13th annual Hopscotch Music Festival, which advertises itself as an even larger and better experience than previous years.

The three-day festival began Thursday and runs through Sunday with a lineup of 117 musical artists such as Denzel Curry, Japanese Breakfast and Alvvays, along with five comedians. 

The addition of comedians to Hopscotch is the first in the festival’s history and includes Saturday Night Live’s Sarah Sherman and locals like Devon Roberts. 

Roberts is a stand-up comedian based out of Raleigh who is often featured at Goodnights Comedy Club and Raleigh Improv. She has been an attendee at Hopscotch every year and is excited about the addition of comedy acts, she said.

“It really goes to show how strong the Triangle comedy scene is, that there was a foundation to be able to add this to the Hopscotch lineup because it just shows how much people who live here want to see stand-up comedy,” Roberts said. 

Roberts said she hopes attendees will laugh when she takes the stage on Thursday at the Lincoln Theatre, but that they can expect her to be whimsical and dark. 

Also on the Thursday lineup is Durham-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Skylar Gudasz, who will perform at Transfer Co. Food Hall. She describes her music as indie rock with a folk bent that stresses lyrics and has '60s-influenced sonic textures. 

Gudasz garners her inspiration from the natural world, old movies and her friends, she said. Her background in theater and acting is reflected in her shows.

“Live performance is really fun and exciting for me, and I like to bring a theatrical element to my live performances,” she said. 

On Saturday, Gudasz will perform a collaboration with fellow North Carolina artists Kate Rhudy and Libby Rodenbough called “Ask Me Anything” at The Longleaf Hotel and Lounge, where members of the audience ask love advice questions and the musicians play songs in response. 

She said she recommends attending the Hopscotch day parties, which will be held at Raleigh bars, breweries and N.C. State University’s D.H. Hill Jr. Library.

“The day parties are, for the most part, free, and you can go see a lot of amazing artists that are playing at night but then are also playing during the day,” Gudasz said.

Raleigh-based experimental musician Hema Gaia is performing for the fourth time at Hopscotch with a new performance style, which includes live a drummer, they said. Their music career started in 2016 with DJing and producing electronic music for the group Sand Pact.  

They said they are inspired by electronic musicians like Elysia Crampton and Debby Friday, as well as the relationship between humans and nonhuman animals, evolution and geological timescales. 

“A lot of the discoveries we’re making now from fossil records and how we got to this point in time is really interesting to me,” Gaia said. 

Gaia is working at Chapel Hill art gallery Attic 506 through October on a visual exhibition that pairs with their Hopscotch performance, they said. The exhibit spans from when humans first arrived in North America to the present day.

Hopscotch partnered with Marbles Kids Museum for the first time this year to host “Totscotch” — a free, family-friendly music event on Saturday at Hargett Street. Activities include a sidewalk mural and bubbles, with performances by Girls Rock NC, Mr. Scooter and Pierce Freelon. 

Freelon, a Grammy-nominated family musician who creates music through an Afrofuturistic, hip-hop and jazz-inspired lens, said he is happy to be part of the event. 

“I’ve been to Hopscotch many times as an adult but never as a parent,” he said. “And I think that’s really cool that they’re considering creating space for an intergenerational music experience.”

Attendees can expect an interactive hip-hop and soul show, which Freelon said may include a puppet or two from "Where Our Spirits Reside." Kids will be able to create beats alongside him using a beat pad onstage and learn how to count to ten in Swahili. 

Another new addition to Hopscotch 2023 is its partnership with Skate Raleigh, a charity that advocates for more action sports in Raleigh and surrounding areas. There will be extreme sports competitions, food, open skating and other activities on Martin Street.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Performers and attendees are preparing for a weekend showcasing the artistic talent in the Triangle and beyond.

For access to the limited three-day general admission and VIP passes available, visit the Hopscotch website.

@milaaamascenik

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com