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Hopscotch Grows Up

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We've now arrived at year eight of the Hopscotch Music Festival, and by now it's become an esteemed local institution rather than a scrappy three-day throwdown. It feels like a family reunion weekend for local music nerds, and, on an even larger scale, it feels like North Carolina's official end-of-summer blowout.

Even within the past year, Hopscotch has made some significant changes. Greg Lowenhagen, who cofounded the festival with former INDY music editor Grayson Haver Currin, stepped down from his position as director last year. In his place, longtime local music fixture Nathan Price took the helm.

Price has overseen the recent expansion of Hopscotch on multiple levels. This year, Saturday's bill at Red Hat Amphitheater begins at 2:15 p.m. with a set from ZenSoFly, which means almost an extra half-day of programming. And, for the first time, there's a full day of Hopscotch-official music on Sunday, too, rather than a hangover day-party or two. You can take in a full eight hours of No One Mind, Mount Moriah, Cass McCombs, and more at Red Hat. There's also a new venue on the books, The Basement, a nicer name for a re-configured exhibit hall on the lower level of the Raleigh Convention Center.

The festival has also stretched on long enough that some of the smaller names on the bills have risen to become its biggest headliners. A solo Angel Olsen filled the 600-seat Fletcher Opera Theater in 2013, just a few months before releasing her earth-shattering LP Burn Your Fire For No Witness. This year, she tops the bill on Sunday at the Red Hat Amphitheater, which has a capacity of nearly six thousand. And then, there's Future Islands, a semilocal favorite that has grown from packing the small, sweaty Berkeley Cafe to headlining the main stage at City Plaza Friday night.

You don't have to squint to see that this year's Hopscotch is bigger and, quite possibly, better than ever. We eagerly hope it follows through on every front.


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