By Saturday night my little paper schedule and map of downtown Raleigh was trashed. It was still in my back pocket when the storm hit. I unfurled the soggy mess and stuck it to the wall of the hotel room on my way back out. I had little use for the thing anyway; all I needed to know about where to go and what to see could be found in the streets.
There were more than 175 bands playing Hopscotch this year, with enough head banging, crowd surfing and solo guitar backbends to easily fill a memory card with photos. But for me, the most visually interesting parts of the festival have always been on walks in between venues. That's where the wildly varied crowds swirl around one another, check each other out and holler at the debutantes, poor things. It's where a day's worth of drinking catches up with the amateurs and off go their shoes. Where the batteries finally die on the boom box and the impromptu dance party moves on.
It's a city transformed. Forget buttoned-down—Raleigh is rocking a black sleeveless T and free Moog sunglasses, smelling ripe and looking for a place to piss on the way to the next best show that you'll wish you'd seen. It's all good, I'll catch up with you later, there's surely something better around the corner.