You may remember a couple of weeks ago we told you that, according to our recent DestinationNEXT research, one of Wake County’s existing tourism strengths is festivals and events.

And no wonder—in Sept. and early Oct. 2017, downtown Raleigh alone will play host to more than 15 events that are projected to draw as many as 650,000 attendees. (To see a list of many of these M.A.I.N. events, go to

One of the largest and loudest is Hopscotch Music Festival, now in its eighth year. The weekend will kick off with the Hopscotch Design Festival, beginning on the morning of Thurs., Sept. 7; the music festival starts Thurs. evening and extends through the weekend to Sun., Sept. 10. (For a full lineup, go to

Here are a few fast facts about Hopscotch:

  • 120 bands are on the schedule and will be performing at 12 separate venues in downtown Raleigh.
  • Virtually every genre of music will be represented.
  • Organizers anticipate more than 25,000 attendees from 27 states and 12 countries. 
  • And here’s an interesting sidebar... more than 80 percent of those attendees have a bachelor's degree or higher.

For our purposes, let’s talk about the visitor economic impact (EI) of Hopscotch Music Festival to Raleigh and Wake County. Estimates of EI for 2016’s festival were at $1.88 million dollars in direct spending from visiting attendees, and because of the extra day this year, that number will likely rise.

Consider the 12 venues where the artists will appear. Most of them are concert spaces that serve food and drinks, so the beer and cash will be flowing freely. If there are visitors coming from 27 states (and granted, some of them might be using Airbnb), many will be staying in area hotels. Retailers will benefit from having new customers looking for souvenirs and gifts. And of course, all of those hungry music fans will be looking for something to good to nosh between shows. To state it more simply, direct visitor spending equals direct business sales.



How can you and your business benefit from the influx of 25,000+ music-loving festival-goers while Hopscotch is here? Here are at least three ways:

  • If you’re on the festival footprint in downtown Raleigh, think target marketing and affinities. What do you have to offer to discerning music fans that they might find enticing? Specials on merchandise, menu items (Hopscotch themes), area souvenirs etc.
  • Use your social media accounts to target attendees. Offer a deal to fans such as “If you’re going to be in town for Hopscotch Music Festival, stop by, show us your wristband and get a free appetizer with drinks purchase.” Facebook ads allow you to target specifically to those who have already expressed an interest in music festivals and concerts (and, even more specifically, people who are interested in Hopscotch Music Festival, plus this year's festival headliners including Solange, Big Boi, Run The Jewels, Future Islands and Angel Olsen). You can also target individuals who are currently visiting the destination during the weekend for a better chance of reaching festival-goers. (Go here for details.)
  • On your website, you could try a blog entry or page about what your business is offering Hopscotch attendees. This will give potential customers even better, more detailed info about what you're offering, and also has a better chance of showing up on Google and social media searches than just a post would. (Think, festival-goers may search for terms like "Hopscotch Music Festival deals" or "Hopscotch Music Festival souvenirs" over the weekend.) When you share your piece of content, use the #hopscotchfest hashtag to place yourself in front of the 25,000+ fans who may be watching on social media and searching online. Also, use #visitRaleigh, so we can see what you're offering! 

Here’s one more—get in the habit of watching the upcoming events and groups section of our Tourism Talk e-newsletter and start your own target marketing campaigns based on that insider information. Using social media, GRCVB's SmartCard deals and other avenues, this kind of promotion doesn’t have to be expensive (even down to $1 a day for Facebook ads), and can only be good for business.

To all those who are involved in organizing Hopscotch, good luck! And Wake County hospitality partners, roll out your best Southern hospitality to make this event a continued success.