My once-comfortable Mizuno running sneakers still reek of Hopscotch 2014 mildew from the water and sock sweat they accumulated as I ran back and forth in the rain from the Kennedy Theatre to everywhere else last year. That may very well happen again if it rains on Thursday as I begin this year’s Hopscotch journey at Kennedy Theatre with GRANDMA SPARROW’s children-story antics.

Then, it’s off to the woods we go! Earlier this year, the Jake Funke-produced, haze-crazed collaboration “Slave” with DJ Chocolate Rice surfaced on Raleigh-Based Locus Recordings Soundcloud page. Six months later, the song still holds some of 2015’s brightest minutes from any of the Triangle’s electronic musicians, most of whom are admirably clawing their way out of obscurity. Funke (formerly known as Funkss) is one of those hopefuls. Under the new moniker EYES LOW, his Hopscotch mission is to set the weekend’s electronic precedent in front of the fancy dance space inside of CAM. Hopefully, by then, you’ll have eaten your last big meal of the night. The dance floor won’t be as full your stomach, but dance it off anyway, then race to Neptunes for a more intense workout.

The electronic music community took a hard hit last year when the Chicago footwork pioneer DJ Rashad passed away. But one of his disciples, DJ EARL, is pushing the genre. If you’ve never danced or juked to footwork music, this night isn’t the best time to go at it full throttle. You’re almost guaranteed to trip over your feet, fall and split your head open on Neptunes’ basement floor. If you’re still on your feet, I’d urge you to follow me back over to CAM for CASHMERE CAT’s less frenzied set of bracing EDM-layered pop remixes and drops. Hopefully you brought your own extra pair of clean socks.

In past years, one of Hopscotch’s endearing qualities has been the big-name hip hop acts that it puts on Lincoln Theatre’s stage at the end of the night. In 2010, Raekwon filled festival goers with Wu-Tang nostalgia. In 2012, a pre-Run The Jewels Killer Mike brought his “Do Dope Fuck Hope” Southern rebellion. And in 2013, when Action Bronson had to cancel his performance because of an alleged injurious sneeze, legendary emcee Big Daddy Kane filled in as a last-minute replacement and reminded Raleigh of what a true hip-hop entertainer looks like. This year, the wild-eyed, no-nonsense My Name Is My Name rapper PUSHA T will match all of those moments.

Start your Friday evening by making this your priority for the end of the night, but start it at Kings for the Hopscotch debut of Winston-Salem’s MUST BE THE HOLY GHOST. He earned this year’s spot during last year’s Cardigan Records day party, when he sang impassioned, atmospheric melodies to a room full of uninitiated listeners who’ll be very familiar with him tonight. There’ll be no sweet shit at Slim’s during LOUD BOYZ’s punk havoc. If you saw Diarrhea Planet in this same venue during last year’s Hopscotch, well … fuck Diarrhea Planet. I personally don’t believe that a transition from punk rock to hip-hop is a “change of speed,” but for a change of crowd, head to Kings for NOCANDO’s bar-heavy rap set, which comes with an equal amount of personality and professionalism. His energy might tire you out before before you know it, so don’t let him reel you in too much. Remember, you still have to make it down to Lincoln Theatre, where there’ll be a long line waiting for you.

I pledged to stay out of City Plaza for the entire three days of Hopscotch. So, fortunately, DWIGHT YOAKAM mainstage show won’t be getting in the way of my club and bar curiosities on Saturday. For those, I plan on trying to decipher whatever AXIS:SOVA’s guitar speaks from the Pour House’s stage. Then, at Kennedy Theatre, I’ll switch dialects with SARAH LOUISE’s spirited string playing. I haven’t visited her Asheville hometown in a couple of years. This will be my concession trip. Dancing in Neptunes is already an exercise in claustrophobia, but dancing and finding yourself trapped in a weird web of pop experimentalism may cause euphoric seizures. Bring it on, LEVERAGE MODELS. At least if I reach euphoria, I’ll be content with not having to end the last moments of my Hopscotch night investigating who or what in the hell KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD actually is.