Make Music Day is on June 21 of every year!

Make Music Day brings hundreds of free music-making events to North Carolina

Author: North Carolina Arts Council

(Last updated on June 24, 2024)

On June 21, thousands of North Carolinians took part in our state’s first Make Music Day, the world’s largest annual music event. 150+ communities across the United States also participated in this global event. The N.C. Arts Council, as part of our mission of “Arts for All,” was proud to sponsor events that local arts councils and arts partners organized in 13 cities and counties across the state.

These events were in Bertie County, Brunswick County, Catawba County, Kinston, McDowell County, Raleigh, Stanly County, Statesville, Stokes County, Surry County, Vance County, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. They included community jam sessions, songwriting clinics, open mics, music lessons, live performances, and “Instrument Zoos” (with instruments curated and provided by the N.C. Symphony). 

Make Music Day 2024

Make Music Day began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, and in the years since it has spread to thousands of cities across 120 countries. 2024 is the first time it has been celebrated across the state of North Carolina. 

Distinct from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and encourages the natural music maker in all of us. Events will take place in “traditional” music venues as well as parks, downtown plazas, rooftops, and other public spaces, to make the act of making music as accessible as possible. Some communities are distributing musical instruments, along with giving music lessons, jam sessions, and live music performances.  
“North Carolina has proven to be fertile ground for a rich and diverse musical tapestry, with music and musicians that have impacted and been influenced by musical traditions from around the world,” said Jeff Bell, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council. “It’s exciting to have communities all across our state participating in Make Music Day this year to highlight the joy that music can offer to participants and audiences alike.”  

Highlights of Make Music North Carolina: 

Brunswick County Make Music Day

Brunswick County: Events include all-day kazoo fests at branch libraries in Shallotte, Southport, Oak Island, and Calabash, with free kazoos. Community group activities include a free guitar string change-out and rhythm sticks giveaway, an old-fashioned jam session, and an outdoor community concert complete with swing dancing!

Catawba County Make Music Day

Catawba County: Events include street jam sessions, open mic night, and a songwriters session.

McDowell County Make Music Day - a group of young people posing and smiling with their instruments

McDowell County: Events range from an open mic/jam session, a string band and chorus performance of both old-time and original songs, and a beginner-friendly harmonica melody lesson with 30 free harmonicas provided.

Raleigh make music day - a group of folks, young and old, playing the ukelele

Raleigh: A Series of events across Raleigh and Wake County feature several interactive events, including a harmonica workshop, and an "Instrument Zoo" with orchestral instruments provided and curated by the N.C. Symphony, a bucket drumming session, and a ukulele learning/strumming session, including loaner ukuleles. Local libraries will also host jam sessions.

Statesville Make Music Day 2024
Image from Iredell Free News.

Statesville: Musical experiences include live performances, workshops, open mics, drum circles, STEM classes, buskers, and karaoke.

Stanly County make music day - small

Stanly County: The day will feature free workshops in Albemarle and Locust, including bucket drumming, ukulele, guitar, voice, harmonica, and How to Build a Rock Band. All library branches will have stations to create your own rhythm instruments and the history center will explore all the countries participating in Make Music Day and what instruments they play. Local music stores will host "Instrument Zoos" and local musicians will play throughout the county in venues such as breweries, bakeries, coffee shops, park amphitheaters, and courtyards.

Stokes County Make Music Day

Stokes County: The day will include live music at five different locations and a youth open mic night.   

Surry County Make Music Day - a young girl holding a kazoo

Surry County: Celebrations welcome participants of all ages and skill levels to learn drumming rhythms, perform karaoke and ukulele, sing along to pop and gospel tunes, and participate in an open mic session.  

Vance County Arts Council logo

Vance County: The day will kick off with an opening ceremony and include a full roster of free music-making events across the county, including in-person as well as virtual experiences such as bluegrass on the grass, a bucket drumming class, and live karaoke.

Make Music Day Wilmington

Wilmington: Day-long events will include live ukulele, rock, internationally inspired music, and a “Sousapalooza” marching band experience.  

Anyone who’s ever been curious about creating music - haven’t we all - amateur or professional, young or old, visit to find out how you can take part in future events.

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