Everything you need to know about Halifax’s 2023 Hopscotch Festival | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Atlanta rap duo EARTHGANG are headlining Halifax's Hopscotch Festival in 2023.

Everything you need to know about Halifax’s 2023 Hopscotch Festival

Atlanta rap duo EARTHGANG and LA producer The Alchemist headline the annual hip hop festival, back for its 13th year.

One of the buzziest groups in alt-rap is coming to Halifax’s Hopscotch Festival this year. Grammy-nominated duo EARTHGANG, who first made a splash when they signed to J Cole’s Dreamville Records in 2016, are performing at the Light House Arts Centre on Sept. 21. Along with Los Angeles-based rapper-producer The Alchemist, they make up the headliners of this year’s Hopscotch Festival—the 13th annual iteration of the East Coast’s signature hip hop festival.

The four-day festival also includes a free tribute show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop, along with a who’s who of local R&B and reggae talent (Jah’Mila, O’Sound) gathering for a “Highschool Mixtape” night at the Marquee Ballroom, performing covers of their favourite ’90s and 2000s-era radio hits with The Mellotones.

What’s happening and when?

The opening night kicks off Thursday, Sept. 21 with EARTHGANG at the Light House Arts Centre. The duo (composed of members Olu and WowGr8) earned a pair of Grammy nominations in 2020 for their contributions to Dreamville Records’ critically-celebrated Revenge of the Dreamers III album and song “Down Bad.” They’re also members of the genre-spanning group Spillage Village, whose politically-charged album Spilligion earned praise from Rolling Stone and was called “brilliant” by Complex. Former Polaris Music Prize nominee Sydanie joins the Halifax show bill, along with Nigeria’s F$RGO and St. Lucia creative Kayo. The show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $46.05.

On Friday, Sept. 22, an ensemble cast of Halifax talent—from Jah’Mila to O’Sound to Kxng Wooz—will take over the Marquee Ballroom stage for “My Highschool Mixtape.” The evening-long show will see the performers singing their favourite ’90s and 2000s covers with The Mellotones. The show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $11.97.

The festivities continue at the Marquee on Saturday, Sept. 23, as LA rapper-producer extraordinaire The Alchemist visits Halifax for the first time for a DJ set. A producer for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Earl Sweatshirt, the Beverly Hills-born artist is in the running for Producer of the Year at the 2023 BET Awards. He’s also the longtime tour DJ for Eminem. DJs Matty Galaxy and Grimrock join The Alchemist for the Marquee show, which starts at 9pm. Tickets are $25.81 in advance.

click to enlarge Everything you need to know about Halifax’s 2023 Hopscotch Festival
The Alchemist (@alanthechemist) / Instagram
Producer The Alchemist, in studio with Larry June. The Alchemist will perform a DJ set in Halifax on Sept. 23, 2023.

Free shows and events round out Hopscotch lineup

On both Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22 and 23, The Green Room (the back patio at 2037 Gottingen Street) will host special guest DJs with no cover, starting at 7pm. Both nights are all-ages.

Also on Saturday, some of the country’s best breakdancers will compete in a free “All Styles + BBoy Battles” event at Breaking Circus (2164 Barrington Street). The all-ages show starts at 4pm.

The four-day festival wraps on Sunday, Sept. 24 with a free all-ages show at Maxwell's Plum’s new outdoor patio. The show—with guest turntable sessions from DJ IV, RS Smooth and OKAY TK—is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip hop.

About The Author

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...
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