Hopscotch Fest 2011 Lineup With Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Drive-By Truckers and More

Hopscotch Fest 2011 Lineup With Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Drive-By Truckers and More

April, 20, 2011, by Jedidiah

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Organizing a music festival on the scale of Hopscotch is a tough and complicated task. There are so many issues to juggle to make it a successful weekend of music on multiple levels. As a curator, your own tastes come into play significantly but so does that of the attendees. There's also the consideration of which bands are popular right now and will bring crowds just for the name and balancing that with carefully considering up and coming bands that will have people talking for months after seeing their performance in a tiny off-beat bar. It's as much of a personal act as it is communal one.

There was talk about comparing Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Festival with that of the big corporate field festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo as well as the grassroots SXSW that is a breeding ground for new artists. I completely disagreed with comparing Hopscotch to any of these then and I'll do it once again this year. Hopscotch, while being slightly more like SXSW, is actually somwhere in the middle and a type of festival that there are few of in the United States (with MusicFestNW being the most similar) This is because of the all of the reasons I mentioned before and a few more. The diversity of venues, the diversity of chosen bands and simply the attitude to stay as urban as possible in the capitol city. 

Influential No Wave band Swans are reuniting for a few shows this year. Hopscotch is one of them. Photo Credit

Hopscotch is actually a very small festival. When speaking to festival co-director Greg Lowenhagen this week, he told me that the given parameters were a large part of curating Hopscotch. "Our given parameters are being in an urban place and the size of our venues." he said. "What people don't realize is how small Hopscotch is as an independent music fest. Our largest indoor venue only holds 850 people and the largest outdoor option (whether it is City Plaza or the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater) holds between 5-6,000 people." While limiting the size of bands they could book, it didn't stop them from gathering some big named bands to headline the event.

Also, Lowenhagen spoke very spiritedly about what it's like to see a band in a music venue. "I love seeing bands in actual music venues where bands are supposed to play" he said. So Fletcher will get different bands than Slim's. It only makes sense. Hopscotch's venues hold from 150 to over 5,000 people. This is what makes the festival so rich of an experience, bouncing around to various size venues and experiencing the music in the "place that such a band is supposed to play", to once again quote him. If you've ever gone to a fieldfest and seen a band that would otherwise never play during the day, in a sunny field, the experience of that band's performance is slightly ruined. Hopscotch elimates that by coupling bands, times and venues together in a logical order. 

The "funnest and hardest part (aside from running around the weekend of the event) is booking the bands to play the fest" Lowenhagen said. "We want all of the venues at capacity and are trying to structure the lineup in such a way that people are able to hopscotch around to each venue to see each of the bands they have come to see." For all of these reasons and I'm sure MANY more, we are very glad that Greg Lowenhagen, Grayson Currin and The Independent Weekly have decided to host a second year of amazing music in Downtown Raleigh. That said, let's dig into the lineup, all 135 bands and 12 venues of it.

135 bands, 12 venues, 3 days. Downtown Raleigh. Wow.

Despite it still being April (and no longer April Fools' Day), we are happy to say that The Flaming Lips and Wayne Coyne's Space Bubble will indeed be bouncing around Downtown Raleigh on Saturday September 10th. This may be one of the best live shows that will ever grace City Plaza. Opening for them will be the Merge owners and indie-staple band Superchunk as well as Chapel Hill's The Light Pines. And on Friday, indie-rock legend Robert Polland and his band Guided By Voices will host an evening full of great big stage music with southern rockers Drive-By Truckers and West Coast's The Dodos. Both should be fantastic nights of music under City Plaza's colored towers. And while we don't necessarily expect a surprise on the level of The Helping Hand Mission Band marching into City Plaza one evening, we also don't put it past Greg Lowenhagen to keep an Ace in his pocket. We'll take Wayne Coyne's bubble falling from a helicopter if that's not too much to ask?

From there, the lineup seems to only get started relative to excitement of both bands that have been around for 20 years and others that are just getting started and labeled as 2011 'buzzbands'. Much like last year, where a handful of bands were barely the tip of everyone's tongue, 2011's lineup has a ton of those bands as well. From Twin Shadow, Braids, Beach Fossils, Julianna Barwick, Cold Cave, Woodsman, Oneohtrix Point Never, Weekend, Ford and Lopatin (formerly Games), Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross , PC Worship and more, this year's lineup has some names that you may not have heard but will probably be talking about for a while afterwards. 

This will be City Plaza in September. Photo Credit

The 2011 lineup hip-hop, metal, indie-rock, noise, folk and pretty much most other musical genres you can think of that make up most of the musicsphere today. We are sure to miss a bunch of names in this article but the poster can speak for itself.... Swans, J Mascis and Oxbow are all names you've probably heard a few times but never seen live. Here's your chance. Maybe you missed All Tiny Creatures last year (one of my favorite performances) or Future Islands or Last Year's Men, all of which put on fantastic shows at the Inaugural Hopscotch Fest. This year, you'll have to bounce around again to see as many of your circled bands and it's going to be hard to see them all. Either way, you'll see a ton of amazing shows.

And it keeps going, from Budos Band, Mount Eerie, Reading Rainbow, Gauntlet Hair, Frontier Ruckus, to Little Scream and a ton of local bands. One of the best things about Hopscotch is that the further you dig into the lineup, the better it really gets. I continue to look at  and realized I missed someone on last look. And those are only the names that I recognize. There is another list that includes all of the bands that I have no clue about their music but know for sure that they were selected for Hopscotch for a very specific reason.

Twin Shadow. You'll be talking about more than his hairdo come September.

Designing a building takes a lot of detailed plans, sections and elevations all of which have to work together to produce an elegant product that functions well and is aesthetically pleasing to both the designers and the public who uses the building. Hopscotch is crafted with a similar precision that I believe will indeed make it one of the finest music festivals in the country. If you want The Killers, Kings of Leon, Eminem and Jack Johnson, head out to the fields of Manchester, Tennessee. If you want three nights of finely tuned shows with care given to each progression from opening to closing acts, head to the streets of Downtown Raleigh in September.

New Raleigh will give their picks in the months and weeks leading up to the fest and give a few recommended itineraries. It'll be hard, but you'll all have to make some decisions.

Tickets will be on sale at 10am over at Hopscotch Music Fest dot com


Admission for Hopscotch Music Festival is designed to suit a wide range of fans. Individual tickets for the shows in Raleigh City Plaza are available. The Friday, Sept. 9, show featuring Guided by Voices, Drive-By Truckers and The Dodos costs $32. 

The Saturday, Sept. 10, show featuring The Flaming Lips, Superchunk and The Light Pines costs $34.

For $65, fans can buy a wristband that allows entry into all 11 festival clubs, including Fletcher Opera Hall, for all three days. For $105, fans get into those 11 clubs plus both City Plaza shows, a combined savings of more than $25.

A very limited number of $155 VIP wristbands are also available. Those wristbands include priority access to all shows and a VIP festival kickoff party on Thursday, Sept. 8. Last year, VIP wristbands sold out in less than a week, and all wristbands sold out before the festival started. Wristbands go on sale Wednesday, April 20, at 10 a.m.

In cooperation with cosponsor etix.com, Hopscotch Music Festival is offering wristbands and tickets to all fans with reduced service charges. To purchase tickets and wristbands, visit www.hopscotchmusicfest.com or www.etix.com.


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Music, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Hopscotch Music FestivalIndy WeekGrayson CurrinIndependent WeeklyGreg Lowenhagen


  • c'mon
    04/20 01:14 AM

    So like 70% of the bands have played here in the last 6 months. What we excited for again?

  • crankasaurus
    04/20 08:35 AM

    so ridiculous! Grayson and the crew outdid themselves, this is absolutely sublime! almost better than anything I could have hoped for. I was almost anticipating not-so-many locals acts this year, so I’m not too shocked to see some triangle favorites unlisted, but I’m sure we’ll have plenty of daytime street shows. Or, at least, I really hope so. and hey, so what if some of these guys have played here recently, Welcome back, awesome bands we freakin love!!!! YAY! SO EXCITED!!!!

  • crankasaurus
    04/20 08:41 AM

    oh hay, ps - any idea or info on why the amphitheater wasn’t used as a venue? I had utterly convinced myself the main stage shows were going to get moved down there. I’m not at all complaining, just curious?

  • Skillet
    04/20 09:07 AM

    @crankasaurus -  http://is.gd/QKj5q3

  • wg
    04/20 10:13 AM

    flaming lips.  badass

  • Behki
    04/20 11:40 AM

    I think the motto for NewRaleigh should be “Haters gonna hate.” There are always so many negative comments about anything the city does. Geeeeez, some people are never happy.

  • the fucking butcher
    04/20 11:52 AM

    hey graySon currin ...how do u not book odd future? raleigh = no swag

  • Shane
    04/20 12:07 PM

    Was hoping for some headliners who would have more current relevance on the music scene.  The Dodos fit that bill, but the others seem to be an appeal to nostalgia.  Even the Flaming Lips are past their prime at this point.

    Perhaps my expectations were simply too high for the headliners after they were able to get Broken Social Scene and Panda Bear last year.  I’m sure money has a lot to do with it as well.  Hard to book intriguing headliners when you lost $50k last year on this festival.

  • hackles10
    04/20 12:39 PM


    How do you know they lost 50k last year?

  • Shane
    04/20 01:20 PM


    “Hopscotch lost money — about $50,000 at first count. But I’ll just call that money the Indy’s gift to the musicians, to the clubs, to Raleigh, to music fans from the Triangle and all over,” Independent Weekly founder Steve Schewel wrote just days after last summer’s festival.

  • Tyler Durden
    04/20 02:17 PM

    VIP Tickets are already sold out :)

    04/20 02:34 PM

    Only losing 50k for the first year is really pretty impressive.  Bet they break even at least this year.  So pumped about Swans, Earth, Black Lips and OPN/Ford and Lopatin.  Bet Kings will be the unoficial noise/experimental venue like last year.  I got to camp out there pretty much the whole time.

  • c'mon
    04/20 05:28 PM

    FWIW i think the lineup is great, it’s just a shame I saw many of these bands in the last 6 months. Unlike last year which had fewer “good” bands, but had ones that normally don’t tour the area.

  • Hipstater (Hipster that loves to hate)
    04/20 05:47 PM


  • Charlie
    04/20 09:56 PM

    @Shane The Flaming Lips and Guided By Voices not intriguing or relevant? The Flaming Lips put on one of the single best live shows, and their last LP (Embryonic) was great. As far as great songs and showmanship go, Robert Pollard and the rest of GBV could run circles around any band playing today. Not to mention the fact their one of the single most influential bands in independent music. It’s a great lineup with a lot of great things to discover (adding bands I haven’t heard before, but want to see now by the minute). If you don’t like it, your loss. Everyone else will be having a blast come September

  • nodognity.tumblr.com
    04/21 05:54 AM

    Oneohtrix Point and Toro y Moi are awesome. Swans are interesting. I’m stoked.

  • andrew
    04/21 10:52 AM

    I’m really happy with the lineup but Flaming Lips as the headliner is a little disappointing. I have seen them a few times and their live show can be incredibly annoying. Their show is based on gimmicks and not music. Also, half of the show will consist of Wayne Coyne’s nonsensical rants.

  • currinsux
    04/21 11:42 AM

    This is a stupid damn lineup! I seen Graysin at OCSC and he said there were gonna be 100 amazing bands and I see basically none.  I knew he was so full of shit when he said he was gonna get Spacehog. They would never play a festival this stupid.  Besides all Graysin does is hand people flyers and tell them to come to his stupid festival.  I know where I am gonna be on that weekend probably in Mebane cause the traffic is gonna be annoying just like that SOB Graysin CUrrin.  Great job ruining music festivals for everyone.

  • srsly?
    04/21 11:58 AM

    this made me lol. is this even for real? who does that? please go to mebane. omg mebane!
    thanks for the info newraleigh. i am very excited!

  • sluggo
    04/21 01:48 PM

    there are a lot of good bands on here and all…but the drive by truckers???? maybe i am the only one who thinks that band sticks out like a sore thumb in the lineup, but hey…i’m also one of the few people in my own town that thinks DBT is the most annoying, overrated band ever. call me a hater if ya want to, but i calls em how i sees em.

    the smaller bands will still make this awesome though, and really glad to see mount eerie and earth on the list personally.

  • S1-W
    04/21 01:54 PM

    Going from Pulic Enemy to the Flaming Lips is a huge step down, no matter how you slice it.

  • andrew
    04/21 02:24 PM

    I definitely agree that Flaming Lips are a big downgrade from Public Enemy quality wise but I understand why they did it. Flaming Lips will sell a lot of tickets for that city plaza show.

  • arthurb3
    04/21 03:18 PM

    A nicely diverse line up!

  • Panda Balls
    04/22 02:58 PM

    Hey Hopscotch Overlords - I would like to see a single night club show pass. I’m too cheap to cough up $65 for the pass (as I have to buy one for the ladyfriend too - she tells me what to do and does not allow me to leave her side), but I would like to see some of the club shows.

  • musicians are bad at math
    04/22 05:00 PM

    Hard to see how they break even this year, when the wristband revenue is going to be essentially the same as last year (which sold out.)

  • hipsters are bad at business
    04/23 04:40 PM

    Two more venues (more wristbands) + cheaper bands (PE is really expensive) + more efficiencies learned from last year = closer to profitablity

  • oakcity
    04/25 10:59 AM

    bitch, bitch, bitch.

  • hackles10
    04/25 02:22 PM

    @musicians are bad at math - here is a rough look at how they can turn a profit:

    VIP Wristbands: $35 more than last year X 500 = $17,500.00

    Regular Wristbands:  $25 more than last year X 5000 = $125,000.00

    Increased attendance at headline shows (based on fire marshall):  $32 x 500 and $34 X 500 = $33,000.00

    + Increased merchandising, sponsorships, lowered band costs, etc.

    So with a loss last year of ~$50,000.00, + roughly $175,500 = $125,500 profit (if everything sells out)

  • coalwagon
    04/26 08:20 AM

    like it or not, this is the only large festival downtown music raleigh will have. support it—it’s only its 2nd time around, and festivals take a long time to root n blossom.

    put your big kid pants on, everybody. if you don’t like it stay home. those of us with city pride and an enthusiasm for live music can take it from here.

  • andrew
    04/27 09:15 PM

    @hackles Your numbers are a little off. According to Dave Menconi there will be 3,300 wristbands available this year.

  • MAS
    04/28 10:08 AM

    Is there a metal band anywhere to be found? (And by metal, I don’t mean the screamo, incoherent noise that was perpetuated last year.)

    Something with heavy guitar, pounding drums, a hook, and a singer with pipes?  Anyone?  Anyone?

    Also, just for the record, Panda Bear was atrocious. Meanwhile, Tigercity, Bear in Heaven, among others, were really pleasant surprises last year.

    In a town once known for its metal ... it sure is dead these days. Death to all but metal!

  • MAS
    04/28 10:11 AM

    PS, don’t be so self-righteous Mr. Schewel “Gift to the Triangle” ... to expect to MAKE money in the first year of a large-scale music festival?  Poppycock.  Get a grip.

    Manage your expectations.

  • Jortles Scrozzelle
    04/28 12:29 PM

    What a bunch of douche bags.  The Flaming Lips are a step down from Public Enemy?  Because Wayne isn’t going to come out and plug his reality shows and fried chicken joints the whole time?  PE was the worst thing about Hopscotch last year.

  • Hugh Jasol
    04/28 01:17 PM

    If you think going from one of the most important groups of our generation to some self indulgent wankers in goofy costumes is a step up, your skinny jeans are too tight.

  • matt
    04/28 03:16 PM

    “Our Generation”? What does that mean, Yoda?

    04/28 03:47 PM

    Earth and Swans are not exactly metal but they are really heavy.  Like slowed down metal.

    I am 30 and growing up in the 90’s I do not remember that many people listening to Public Enemy, that was even before my time for the most part.  I do remember listening to the Flaming Lips though.  Both were good choices as headliners.

  • GotYourYodaRightHere
    04/28 03:51 PM

    our? ?
    1. a form of the possessive case of we used as an attributive adjective

    1. the entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time

  • Hip-Hop Snob
    05/05 01:04 PM

    Great to see The Foreign Exchange booked this year!  It makes up for them booking a Hip-Hop act as wack as legacy.

  • FM Realty
    05/09 05:50 PM

    Wow, such a great lineup! It’s exciting to see how our new, local music festival is moving up the ranks and becoming a nation-wide attraction. First Fridays, weekend shows downtown to benefit tornado victims and now Hopscotch just go to show what a strong cultural and musical presence Raleigh has in the Triangle’s great education, tech, and research sectors! http://bit.ly/jK4Ute

  • It'scalledjustplainbadwriting
    05/18 01:29 AM

    I don’t think you disagreed with Menconi so much as you took what he wrote completely out of context

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