There’s nothing quite like September in Raleigh, where you can pack your weekends with events and festivals to your heart's content. Kicking it all off is my personal favorite: the Hopscotch Music Festival, a three-night music lover’s dream that takes place from September 6-8, with acts from every genre spread out across 12 venues in downtown Raleigh.
I’ve been going to this festival since I moved to Raleigh four years ago. Even though I try to drag as many friends along as possible, I understand that with a great festival, comes an even greater price tag. If you just can’t stand to shell out the cash for a three-day wristband, you can still party all day (for free!) with some of the bands playing the festival. In fact, I would argue the day parties are more quintessential Raleigh than even Hopscotch itself (don’t @ me). Check out some of my recommendations for the best parties around.
(P.S. We know these aren't the only parties happening this weekend. Check out Offline's calendar for more Hopscotch festivities!)
If you can’t make it to the day parties, or the festival itself, surround yourself in all the #local vibes at the makers market. Stroll down Fayetteville Street from noon to 7 pm every day of the festival to check out local vendors. You never know what new food trucks or retailers you’ll discover. My first time at the market was three years ago, and I tried out the Two Roosters food truck and shopped at the Gypsy Jule traveling camper for the first time! Stop by later in the afternoon, right before the acts go on in City Plaza, to feel like part of the main stage action.
One of my favorite venues during Hopscotch is Slim’s, and they host a fab party featuring all things local. Hurry over to snag free Trophy pizza and Videri chocolate while supplies last. At 2:30 pm you can check out Sun Studies, an indie band out of Durham that is also playing during the festival. Nothing but bangs for your buck at this day party.
Embrace your inner 2000s emo side, with bands that will speak to your screamo and pop punk dreams from noon to 5 pm at Deep South. Emo Raleigh is known for putting on nostalgic emo nights all around town, so if this is your vibe, you don’t want to miss it. Hashtag get sad y’all.
By Saturday, we’ll all need food and Bloody Marys if we want to keep the party going. Just when you think you can’t get music, Big Ed’s breakfast, and drinks in one place, Pour House comes through to jump start your morning with all three starting at 11 am.
Trust me when I tell you that on Sunday all you will want to do is sit in a kiddie pool and drink a fruity drink. It’s called a #hopscotchhangover for a reason.
Boxcar throws daily parties during the festival, where they throw open their doors and invite people to dance (and play) both outside and in. Check out local bands from noon to 5:30 pm on Thursday.
This may be one of the better day party lineups at one of the best festival venues. Get to King’s by noon to check out Daniel Bachman, a great guitarist I caught at Hopscotch 2016. PSA: This is his only show of the weekend. If you can keep up your stamina, stay until 4:30 pm to check out Grouper, a solo artist from Oregon who’s playing the festival on Saturday night.
If you want to party with the locals who have been going to Hopscotch for years, this is the place to do it. In past years, this has been deemed the "honky tonk" party, and you can usually expect country-style tunes with artists decked out in cowboy hats and rhinestones. Bonus: this year’s proceeds go to benefit the UC Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
I’ve discovered some of my favorite hip hop acts at Hopscotch. See: Lizzo, Anderson Paak, Ace Henderson (and many more). Even better, this day party at Pour House is featuring an all-female lineup. Entry is free, but snag a ticket on Eventbrite to make sure you get a spot.
Let’s face it, by Saturday afternoon you may be on the lookout for a day party that lets you mix, mingle, and take an ever so slight break from the music. Look no further than the team up between Ruby Deluxe and G.O.U.G.E. (Gimmicks Only Underground Grappling Entertainment). You’ll be able to ease into a day of party hopping with drinks, food, and some of your favorite comedic wrestlers like Samantha Starr and OTTO Schwanz.