I had been predisposed against festivals for the longest time. I don’t care for crowds, and I don’t like beer or drugs at all, so what was in it for me, I thought for the longest time. Better to sit it out, I imagined! And wrongly at that. While I suppose that Ozzfest or Lollapalooza might rub me the wrong way, I relented and attended Moogfest last year after they added Harold Budd to the lineup. I felt it was a wonderful evening and not chaotic and sprawling, so here we go to another festival being held in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 5-7. The Hopscotch Festival is run by the local freekly newspaper [Indyweek] and it is now in its fourth year, so it’s still a baby festival, but any festival offering John Cale and Pere Ubu is a must to attend.
John Cale I consider a peerless master of music and art. Having seen him the last time I had the chance, were dumbstruck by his mastery of so many genres and styles of music. He’s at the top of his form whether at the experimental art or pop side of the spectrum; and all points in between, for that matter. I’d be hard pressed to name another musician of his vintage who is as consistently excellent. John Foxx alone comes to mind. [I still haven’t heard the Bowie album…]
Moreover, the last time my wife and I saw Cale, the large venue was tragically [and I do mean tragically] under-attended, yet Cale proceeded to gift us with a generous and open-hearted performance that was spellbinding. Afterward, I can’t have imagined him ever setting foot in the state again, so when I was at Cale’s site recently to see hat he had to say about Lou Reed’s recent liver transplant, I saw the listing for the Hopscotch Festival underneath that post and as I am wont to do when seeing a festival lineup, I always read them to see if there is anyone I like playing there. I immediately noticed that the festival was in Raleigh, a three hour drive away and worth every drop of gas to see a man like Cale!
Then I noticed that Post-Punk trailblazers Pere Ubu were also scheduled for the weekend! It’s been even longer since the wife and I drive to Carrboro in 2001 to see Ubu at the Cat’s Cradle for a thrilling evening with the electric Dave Thomas and players. So with Cale and Pere Ubu playing, the only question is what type of tickets do we purchase? Pere Ubu have helpfully published their tour schedule in advance on their website and it reveals that they will be playing on Friday, September 6. If Cale plays on Friday, we might get by with a single day pass. If Cale plays on Saturday, then the full monty is in order. Hopscotch will publish their schedule on June 26, so we’ll know by then.