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Hopscotch to it 

Hip-hop festival Hopscotch is back for year three with an epic party in the Citadel Hill fortress

Local weirdos Weirdo Click perform at this year’s Hopscotch. - RILEY SMITH
  • Local weirdos Weirdo Click perform at this year’s Hopscotch.
  • Riley Smith

The spotlight is set to shine once again on the urban arts with the return of hip-hop festival Hopscotch this weekend. Now entering its third year, the fest will be expanding its musical offerings to include that electronic dance music that everyone is talking about.

"The electronic music addition is certainly different," says communications chair Mel Hennigar. "It's something we haven't done before, and it's something we recognized an audience for."

Produced by the HRM, Hopscotch 2012 will feature unique acts during its opening night like live mural painting, and professional dance team The Woods, plus a concert held inside Citadel Hill. Begging the question, just what are the acoustics like in a 200-year-old granite fort?

"I guess we're going to find out," Hennigar says with a laugh. "There have been a couple of events there before, but this is the first time a concert like this is happening there. I think it's going to be an interesting event."

Interesting not just in the locale, but also for the Canadian talent who will be performing. Montreal formed DJ and producing team Sultan + Ned Shepard will headline the night's events, while another techno duo, Botnek, will return to the HRM for the official Hopscotch after-party at The Palace.

Originally from Halifax, Botnek's Gordon Huntley and Erick Muise have been living and recording in Montreal for the last few years. This weekend will be their first trip home in nearly a year, and so understandably they're pretty excited. "I'm going to eat all the fucking pepperoni I can find," says Huntley. "And donairs," adds Muise.

Recently signed to Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records, Botnek has been busy recording a new album due out later this fall. A European, Asian and Australian tour is also planned for the new year.

With a self-described style that's "left of centre dance music," Muise says audience members can expect a highly energetic and heavy retro feel to the night. "It's going to have a pretty predominantly old-school influence, like old rave records that we're really into," says Muise. "We play a lot of edits of tracks like that."

Though the addition of electronic dance music is new to Hopscotch, Muise feels EDM and hip-hop go hand-in-hand---particularly in Halifax's tight-knit artistic community.

"A lot of the dudes that are producing rap artists also produce electronic music and dance music," says Muise. "It just seems like the two are kind of very cohesive together. They're separate scenes, but they're together at the same time since they're all working together anyway. So it's very natural, especially in Halifax."

After the opening night kicks things into gear, Hopscotch attendees can check out the sixth instalment of the Kings of the East B-boy competition, featuring Halifax's Lokdown Crew and performances by the IV League on Saturday. Later that night, a hip-hop showcase will take place across two venues; with R$ Smooth, Jay Mayne, Weirdo Click, Quake and DJ IV performing at the Bus Stop Theatre, while Something Good, Cam Smith, Hello Click, J Bru and Ghettosocks take the stage at The Company House.

Festivities will wrap up on Sunday, with a community BBQ at the George Dixon Centre on Brunswick Street.

Hopscotch 2012, http://hopscotchhalifax.com/

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