Hopscotch Music Festival
Downtown Raleigh
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The first day at any music festival, especially Hopscotch, brings a collective feeling of anticipation and excitement, but with a side of hesitation and caution because they start on a weekday. There’s an unshakable feeling that you’re slacking off somehow, even if you’re attending for work. At least that’s how I feel when I start my festivities every year at Hopscotch, and I’ve been doing this for four years now.

Regardless, these events are a departure from normal life for everyone, from normal attendees to the artists to the people running the festival. Regardless of your role, day one is the culmination of months of anticipation and planning, and then you’re hit with the thought of: OK, now what? And that “now what” thought is why we have been blessed with the creation of day parties. They’re the perfect way to get your feet wet.

I went over to Deep South for the Telepathy day party, which had a stacked lineup of bass d.j.s, hip-hop artists, and Janxx. Deep South is such a great venue because of how much of a dive it is, but I had no idea how much more fulfilling the dive vibe of that place is when you’re there during the daytime. The bar is somehow as dark as it is at night during the daytime, and even with windows. It was like hanging out in a trap house but with slightly less sketchy people and really good music.

Mission accomplished. My feet were wet and my festival rhythm arrived. And though day parties do a great job of getting you in the swing of things, the nighttime performances are the moment we’ve all been waiting for, and I’ve been anticipating P.A.T. Jr. and G. Yamazawa at the Lincoln Theatre since they were announced.

P.A.T. and G have had a stellar year, creatively speaking, and they’ve been getting recognized for it outside of our little bubble. For P.A.T. this was his first time performing at a major music festival, and it was in front of a home crowd. When I arrived at Lincoln, the air was thick with support.

In a small community like this, when one or two artists do well, everyone does well, and that success trickles down to the artists who are still working on their craft, inspiring faith that they are on the right pursuit. By the time P.A.T. took the stage as the first act of the night, the venue was already close to being packed, which was impressive on a Thursday. He electrified the crowd, most of which had never seen him perform before, paving the way for G. Yamazawa to take that energy to a new height.

It was at Lincoln that the feeling of slacking fell away for good. I’ve been covering these guys for years—playing their music on WKNC when I was a student, interviewing them, writing about them for the INDY. We’ve all grown together in our separate roles, and on night one of Hopscotch 2017, we showed the world who we are, and nothing about us says “slacker.”