#MusicFestival

A Round-Up of North Carolina's July Music Festivals

Saturday, July 13, 2019

We're back from Ocean City Jazz Festival over Fourth of July weekend and ready for more musical experiences across our great state! Check out all the upcoming music festivals below.

Brevard Summer Institute and Festival

June 6 - August 16, Brevard, N.C.

Led by Artistic Director Keith Lockhart, the 2019 BMC summer music festival provides audiences with an exceptional array of performances by gifted young musicians and some of the most celebrated names in music — from classical superstars to pops, classical guitar and jazz legends, to acclaimed R&B and bluegrass artists — at our lakeside home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Eastern Music Festival

June 22 - July 27, Greensboro, N.C.

The program brings together a cross-section of the world's most sought-after artists with pre-professional students in a five-week schedule of more than 65 concerts and music-related events.

Music Director Gerard Schwarz heads a distinguished list of participating artists. Current and past artists and/or students include Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Wynton Marsalis, Midori, Susan Graham, Andre Watts, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and many more.

An Appalachian Summer Festival

June 29 - August 3, Boone, N.C.

Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. 

Down East Music Festival

July 19-20, Rocky Mount, N.C.

On July 19-20, 2019, the Down East Music Festival will showcase the best of R&B and Southern Soul music from local, regional and national recording artists. Featuring musical entertainment on both indoor and outdoor stages, the Down East Music Festival attracts audience members from across the South and is the largest event of its kind in eastern North Carolina.

MRG 30

July 24-27, Carrboro and Durham, N.C.

MRG30 will take place July 24–27, 2019, in Carrboro and Durham, NC. The 4-day festival will feature the best Merge Records has to offer by featuring an amazing line-up of more than 30 bands including Superchunk, Fucked Up, Titus Andronicus, the Mountain Goats, Waxahatchee, Lambchop, Ibibio Sound Machine, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wye Oak, Destroyer, Sneaks, and Swearin’, just to name a few!

50th Annual Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention

July 26-27, Jefferson, N.C.

Held in Jefferson, North Carolina, the Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be celebrating its fiftieth year with traditional music contests, square dances, and workshops held July 26 and 27. Cash prizes will be presented to contest winners. Camping is open to festival attendees starting July 24.

Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

August 1–3, Asheville, N.C.

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival was founded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford as a means for people to share and understand the beauty and dignity of the Southern Appalachian music and dance traditions that have been handed down through generations in western North Carolina. Since 1928, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival has served a crucial role in raising awareness and understanding of the vitality and importance of Southern Appalachian culture throughout the region, nation and world. The songs and dances shared at this event echo centuries of Scottish, English, Irish, Cherokee and African heritage found in the valleys and coves between the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

 

 

Jazz with a Higher Purpose: The Ocean City Jazz Festival Preserves North Carolina's Historic African American Coastal Community

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jazz with a Higher Purpose

The Ocean City Jazz Festival Preserves North Carolina's Historic African American Coastal Community

By Vergil Demery

When many families are just getting done with Independence Day barbeques and letting their kids bask in the excitement from the fireworks the night before, a small close-knit North Topsail Beach community will hold a music festival to preserve an almost forgotten piece of North Carolina history. On July 5 to 7, the Ocean City Jazz Festival will celebrate the story of Ocean City. Established in 1949, Ocean City was the first coastal community to allow African Americans to purchase property in North Carolina. In the late 1950s, it became the first community to have a black-owned fishing pier in the state. Now in its 10th year, the Ocean City Jazz Festival celebrates the 70th anniversary of the community by presenting a solid lineup of jazz and gospel musicians in the place where it all began. 

The story of the Ocean City community starts long before 1949. During WWII, the area now known as Ocean City was a part of 45,000 acres of land known as Camp Davis, that was once a training ground for Anti-Aircraft troops and at its peak was manned by over 20,000 men. After WWII it became the site of Operation Bumblebee, a U.S. project to develop rocket technology for surface to air missiles who’s findings would later be used by NASA to send humans to outer space. 

In 1948 the base was declared surplus by the U.S. military and dismantled. With the troops gone the beach abandoned the area was desolate and riddled with the scars of explosive testing. However, Edgar Yow, a white attorney from Wilmington, N.C. saw an opportunity and pitched an idea to Dr. Samuel J. Gray, a black client of his: a non-segregated beach that would allow African Americans to own property.

Interested but realistic about the demands of the venture, Gray felt that he alone could not undertake such a feat, so he approached his friends Wade, Bertram, Robert and Louise Chestnutt for help. Each bought a tract of land, Wade coined the area Ocean City, and development started. In 1949 Yow and his brother Circeo bought controlling shares in the remaining land, and Ocean City Developers Incorporated was formed, marking what had to be one of the earliest interracial business partnerships at the time. The corporation swiftly divided the beach into business and residential areas, and the first homes were completed in late 1949. As time went on they added a camp, motel, chapel, camp dormitory, and restaurants. By 1953 a mere 5 years after the military left, Ocean City had gone from a deserted military testing site to bustling African American coastal community. 

In the late 50’s Ocean City became the only community in North Carolina to have a black-owned fishing pier. While the pier may have been black-owned it was open to everybody and allowed Ocean City to draw in a strong tourist crowd. One North Carolina resident George Hall Lewis called it his “Secret fishing hole” and stated that the pier “had the best fishing bottom on the entire island.” Ocean City continued to grow and shine as one of the few tourist destinations that all North Carolina residents could enjoy. 

As time has marched on, Father Time and Mother Nature made preserving the legacy of Ocean City a tough feat. Hurricanes are expected when you live on the coast but sometimes the damage is something not even the most vigilant of residents can’t prepare for. The fishing pier had to be torn down in the ’90s after Hurricanes Fran and Bertha and many more buildings needed extensive repairs after subsequent hurricanes. And yet, a tight-knit group of Ocean City descendants has remained committed.

The Ocean City Beach Citizens Council who built the chapel in 1949 is the same organizing body that puts together the jazz festival. Mother Nature stops for no one and hurricanes will continue to come, so a major goal of the Ocean City Jazz Festival is to raise funds to ensure that repairs on community buildings are affordable and to ensure that new residents are people who want to maintain the areas rich culture and passion for inclusion. While the community was founded on the hard work and sweat of a core group of community leaders, beachfront property is still beachfront property and the Ocean City community occupies desired real estate. Upkeep on beachfront homes can be astronomically expensive and many of the descendants of the original residents may not necessarily see the point in keeping a home they no longer visit. Ocean City Jazz Festival aims to ensure that the original residents hard work doesn’t go to waste, or as the festivals Co-Chair Craig Torrey puts it, “We want to make sure that landowners don’t lose their property and if so we want to be in a position through the jazz festival to have enough funds to purchase any distressed properties.”

When asked why the Ocean City Jazz Festival was so important to the residents, Torrey responded, “What it means to us is carrying on and preserving the legacy of those folks who sacrificed so much to give us the opportunity that we have now to have a beachfront property and be treated like anyone else.”

Ocean City is a resilient community and the jazz festival is a mechanism for supporting hat vitality. This year’s festival will feature many North Carolina natives including the John Brown Band, Marcus Anderson, and Richard Dawkins.

For a full schedule and a link to buy tickets visit www.oceancityjazzfest.com 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vergil Demery, a senior at North Carolina Central University, is studying English. He has been in the Triangle area since the age of three. Vergil, who loves to write, is crafting stories for the Come Hear North Carolina campaign, and he plans to go into journalism after graduating.

From the Coast to the Mountains, North Carolina Music Festivals are in Full Swing in June!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Festival season is in full swing in North Carolina, which means there is no shortage of great musical experiences across our state. The coming weeks include concerts, workshops, and festivals from the coast to the mountains. Be sure to keep an eye on our Music Festivals page throughout the year for information on all the great music North Carolina has to offer!

Blue Ridge Music Trails

Year-Round Programming, Western North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Music Trail region covers 29 counties in Western North Carolina and highlights traditional North Carolina mountain music and dance. A project of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the N.C. Arts Council there are music events featured throughout the year, but the majority of outdoor music festivals happen from the spring through mid-fall.

The Blue Ridge Music Trail website gives you all the tools you'll need to plan a music getaway. Be sure to check their upcoming events page to find your next musical experience!

11th Port City Music Festival

June 2-9, Wilmington, N.C.

Founded in 2009 by cellist and conductor Stephen Framil and Wilmington artist Christine Farley, the 11th Annual Port City Music Festival 2019 is a summer concert series committed to the highest quality of performance, and making the experience of great music accessible to all.

The Port City Music Festival is a program of CAMERATA PHILADELPHIA, an ensemble without musical boundaries. From symphonies to concertos to chamber music to lieder to choral to opera, CAMERATA not only brings a fresh and distinct interpretation to the venerated classics, but also seeks to bridge the styles of classical, jazz, folk and world music – each program an eclectic and richly diverse musical offering. Committed to music appreciation for all ages, it is the mission of CAMERATA to make the experience of great music accessible to all.

Brevard Summer Institute and Festival

June 6 - August 16, Brevard, N.C.

Led by Artistic Director Keith Lockhart, the 2019 BMC summer music festival provides audiences with an exceptional array of performances by gifted young musicians and some of the most celebrated names in music — from classical superstars to pops, classical guitar and jazz legends, to acclaimed R&B and bluegrass artists — at our lakeside home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

This concert series kicks off June 6 and runs through August. View the official calendar here.

NC HipHop Festival

June 21-23, Durham, N.C.

From June 21-23, Durham will open its doors and welcome 3,500 hip-hop lovers to North Carolina’s Luxury Hiphop Experience, the North Carolina HipHop Festival. They will enjoy over 100 exhibitors at venues across the city for a weekend celebrating the thriving genre. This festival is the only large-scale event in the entire Southeastern U.S. that is specifically designated to hip-hop. Keep an eye on NCHipHopFestival.com for line-up updates, ticket information, and schedule.

Cape Fear Blues Festival

June 21-23, Wilmington, N.C.

The Cape Fear Blues Festival, an up and coming festival throughout the national blues industry, is where blues fans can satisfy their soulful cravings. Scott Ellison Band, The Rhythm Bones, Catesby Jones, Fat Bastard Blues Band, and more will be playing at Wilmington's premier blues music venues: the Rusty Nail Saloon, Finkelstein's Music and various other venues in Historic Downtown. This three-day all-blues celebration features live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, and more!

99th State Annual Singing Convention

June 21-23, Benson, N.C.

The State Annual Singing Convention, which brings thousands of people to Benson each year, began modestly in a tobacco warehouse in 1921. About 200 people listened to two choirs that day. Since that time, the State Annual Singing Convention has grown and become one of the largest and oldest gospel sings in the United States.

Some seating is provided; however, spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. There is no charge to attend the Sing or for contestants to enter the Sing, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with round robin singing.

The singing is held outdoors in downtown Benson in a beautiful one-block oak grove located at 400 E Main St, Benson, N.C. 27504.  

Eastern Music Festival

June 22 - July 27, Greensboro, N.C.

The program brings together a cross-section of the world's most sought-after artists with pre-professional students in a five-week schedule of more than 65 concerts and music-related events. 

Music Director Gerard Schwarz heads a distinguished list of participating artists. Current and past artists and/or students include Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Wynton Marsalis, Midori, Susan Graham, Andre Watts, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and many more.

Singing on the Mountain

June 23, Grandfather Mountain, N.C.

The 95th Annual Singing on the Mountain will be held on Sunday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in MacRae Meadows at Grandfather Mountain. In a spirit of faith and community, all are welcome to enjoy picnics and musical performances together. Admission to the Singing on the Mountain is free.

This event, now in its 95th year, will be a special one as its founder, Joseph Larkin Hartley, lived 95 years; the Hartley family is proud to have kept the festival alive for at least the duration of his life.

An Appalachian Summer Festival

June 29 - August 3, Boone, N.C.

Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. Celebrating its 35th season in 2019, the festival has risen in stature to become one of the nation’s most highly respected summer festivals, acclaimed for the breadth and quality of its artistic programming.

Opening night is June 29th with Winston Salem native Ben Folds! Tickets and schedule for the summer can be found at www.AppSummer.org

Stecoah Appalachian Evenings

June 29 - August 31, Stecoah, N.C.

Our annual summer concert series offers an ever-changing schedule of bluegrass, folk and old-time mountain music by award-winning artists — quality entertainment for the entire family. Rich in cultural heritage, the series continues to be a favorite with locals and visitors alike. All concerts at 7:30 pm in the air-conditioned Lynn L. Shields Auditorium.

Spring Music Festival Preview

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Festival season is in full swing in North Carolina, which means there is no shortage of great musical experiences across our state. The coming weeks include concerts, workshops, and festivals from the coast to the mountains. Be sure to keep an eye on our Music Festivals page throughout the year for information on all the great music North Carolina has to offer!

NCMA Summer Concerts

Summer Series, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.

Summer concerts and movies have been an NCMA tradition for two decades, and they’re excited to launch another season of great music and entertainment. The venue—the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park—is situated in the heart of the museum campus amid gardens, meadows, woodlands, and sculpture.

Kicking off on Friday, May 17, with the California folk-rock outfit, Dawes, the series will run through September. Picnics are welcome at summer events, with some restrictions. The Museum’s Iris restaurant also provides food and beverage options. Parking is free.

Atlantic Beach Music Festival

Saturday, May 18, Atlantic Beach, N.C.

You don’t want to miss the 6th Annual Atlantic Beach Music Festival at the boardwalk at the Circle, Atlantic Blvd. in Atlantic Beach. The festival features The Embers, Jim Quick and Coastline, Mighty Saints of Soul, Blackwater Rhythm & Blues, and Steve Owens & Summertime Band. Admission is free, but pets and glass containers are prohibited.

Durham Blues & Brews Festival

May 18, 2019, Durham Central Park

What started as a rockin’ good time has become a Durham tradition, filled with music, food, and outstanding craft beer. Entering it's5th year the Durham Blues & Brews Festival isn’t a Beer Fest with music, or a Blues Fest with beer. It’s a new type of event, designed to be a unique experience by offering great Blues music and only North Carolina craft beers. Proceeds from the festival benefit local Durham charities and programs, including the Exchange Family Center, a Durham-based non-profit agency dedicated to preventing child abuse. 

Carolina Blues Festival

Saturday, May 18 to Sunday, May 19, Greensboro, N.C.

The longest-running blues festival in the Southeastern United States returns Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 to Greensboro’s newest venue, LeBauer Park. The Carolina Blues Festival will have international, national, regional, and local blues acts on the docket for a weekend of blues, rain or shine! The festival is partnering again this year with Second Harvest Food Bank to shed light on hunger in our communities.

Freight Train Blues Music Series

Concert Series, Carrboro, N.C.

Music Maker Relief Foundation partners with the Carrboro Recreation & Parks Department and WUNC to present the Freight Train Blues Music Series at Carrboro Town Commons (Farmer’s Market). Beginning on May 24th, the four-part series will feature performances from blues, gospel, and folk musicians on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and is free.

May 24 - AJ Ghent

May 31 - Chatham Rabbits | Alexa Rose

June 7 - Eastern NC Gospel Jubilee feat. the Glorifying Vines Sisters, Bishop Albert Harrison & the Gospel Tones, James Barrett & the Golden Jubilees, the Dedicated Men of Zion, plus special guests

June 14 - Cool John Ferguson | Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen | Cookie McGee

Carolina Beach Music Festival

Saturday, June 1, Carolina Beach, N.C.

Here is your chance to dance barefoot on the sand or just sway to the beach music beat while standing in the surf. Held the first Saturday in June, the Beach Music Festival hosted by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce is billed as "the biggest and only beach music festival actually held on the beach on the North Carolina coast," and one of the longest running beach music festivals in the United States. Come out and enjoy a full day of live entertainment with the hottest beach music bands in the south!

2019 Brevard Music Center Summer Festival

Concert Series, Brevard, N.C. 

Led by Artistic Director Keith Lockhart, the 2019 BMC summer music festival provides audiences with an exceptional array of performances by gifted young musicians and some of the most celebrated names in music — from classical superstars to pops, classical guitar and jazz legends, to acclaimed R&B and bluegrass artists — at our lakeside home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

This concert series kicks off June 6 and runs to August. View the official calendar here.

Ocrafolk Festival

Friday June 7 to Sunday June 8, Ocracoke Island, N.C.

Welcome to the Ocrafolk Festival 2019, June 7-9. This celebration features musicians, storytellers, artisans, and characters of Ocracoke Island and beyond who come together for one incredible weekend of performances and fun. Now in its 20th year, Ocrafolk Festival is recognized throughout our region as an extraordinary event in a one-of-a kind setting. In 2019, Ocrafolk Festival admission ticket doesn’t just assist Ocracoke Alive in creating a weekend packed with incredible performances it also supports hundreds of hours of student and community programming that would vanish without this funding. 

Mount Airy Old-Time Retreat

Wednesday June 5 to Sunday June 8, Mount Airy, N.C.

The Mount Airy Old-Time Retreat is an opportunity for budding and experienced bluegrass and old-time music lovers to learn from the best. The retreat begins on June 5 and concludes on June 8 in time for the annual Mt. Airy Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. Fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and mandolin classes will be taught by Andy Edmonds, Kevin Fore, John Herrmann, Chester McMillian, Emily Spencer, Martha Spencer, and Kirk Sutphin.

Get Ready for the 48th Annual LEAF Festival!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

48th Annual LEAF Festival Celebrates Music, Arts, World Culture with Flair & Heart

The 49th Annual LEAF Festival kicks off Thursday, May 9 in Black Mountain and features a dynamic lineup of performing artists including four-time Grammy Award winner singer India.Arie, folk duo, Shovels & Rope, and Trevor Hall, who performs an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae, and Sanskrit chanting.

Staged around beautiful Lake Eden, LEAF celebrates world culture through music, arts, and creativity to inspire artistic expression, cultural awareness and community building for festival-goers. LEAF is a family event meant for all generations. The theme this year is “Breaking Ground.”

“For the 48th LEAF Festival, we’ve scoured the globe to select artists who are architects of positive change using the strength and resilience of their creative expression to uplift our communities,” said artistic director Ehren Cruz. “Like all our festivals these artists defy expectation, remain true to their path, allowing authenticity to guide them to ever higher heights of accomplishment and impact.”


 

For more than 20-years LEAF Festival has grown into an epicenter of music, art, creativity, and culture for thousands of families across the U.S. who experience six performance stages, five family adventure villages, over 400 performing artists representing nine different countries, over 80 craft and culinary vendors and dozens of interactive activity centers on the beautiful 200-acre campus amid the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Additionally, there will be more than 50 healing arts, music, and earth skill workshops.

Performance highlights on Friday, May 10 include Trevor Hall, a singer-songwriter who performs a mix of roots, folk and reggae; Dirtwire, electronic music phenoms based in California with a new release, Road Goes All Night; and The East Pointers, a Canadian contemporary folk music group who won the Juno Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year for their album Secret Victory at the Juno Awards of 2017.  

Headliners on Saturday, May 11 are India.Arie, a gifted singer and songwriter who has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and who has won four Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, including Best R&B Album; Larkin Poe, an American roots rock band from Atlanta, Ga. fronted by sisters Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell, and often touted as "the little sisters of the Allman Brothers;” and Black Violin, a hip hop duo from Florida comprising two classically trained string instrumentalists, who go by the stage names Kev Marcus and Wil B. Marcus plays the violin and Wil B. plays the viola.

The festival closes out on Sunday, May 12 with Shovels & Rope, a husband and wife duo (Trent and Cary Ann Hearst) from Charleston, S.C. that blends traditional folk, rock and roll and country rock; The War and Treaty, another husband and wife (Michael and Tanya Trotter) team that thrill with their joyous, gospel-style harmonizing with superb country-soul arrangements and powerful statements of devotion.

An intimate solo acoustic performance by India.Arie, “Songversations” is also scheduled on Sunday.

Tickets are still available! To find out more visit http://www.theleaf.org/.


 

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance

Friday, May 3, 2019

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is this weekend!

Shakori always delivers a weekend full of great music. The Come Hear NC team was lucky enough to catch G Yamazawa there last fall, and you know the home-town crowd turned up for his classic North Carolina anthem "North Cack"!

Check out a video of the performance below and head to www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org/ for all the information on this spring's festival!

Come Hear North Carolina Along the Blue Ridge Music Trails

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

As spring turns to summer Western North Carolina rings with the sounds of old-time and bluegrass bands, ballad and shaped-note singings, dances, and the traditions of the Cherokee. Yes, it’s festival season in the mountains! 

Pack your bags, load the car, and travel down the road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina to enjoy one of the many festivals planned this season.

Some best bets for late April through June include:


MerleFest

April 25-28, www.MerleFest.com, Wilkesboro, N.C.

MerleFest is a celebration of ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock, and many other styles. MerleFest is an annual homecoming for many musicians and music fans.

Fiddler’s Grove Ole Time Fiddler’s & Bluegrass Festival 

May 24 - 26, www.fiddlersgrove.com, Union Grove, N.C.

Fiddler’s Grove has enjoyed a long tradition of preserving old-time and bluegrass music and passing the legacy on to future generations. On-site camping and a laid-back family atmosphere allow guests to immerse themselves in the music and tradition of this festival which has been going strong since 1970.

23rd Annual Swain County Heritage Festival 

May 24 - 25, www.facebook.com/Swain-County-Heritage-Festival, Bryson City, N.C.

The Swain County Heritage Festival on Memorial Day weekend features gospel music Friday night, and bluegrass music Saturday. You can enjoy mountain-style clogging, craft booths, food, beverage, ice cream, an old-time log-sawing contest, sack races for the kids, and more.

Cherokee Voices Festival

June 9, www.visitcherokeenc.com, Cherokee, N.C. 

The voices of an 11,000-year-old culture invite you to come out and play. Cherokee culture speaks in its most thrilling ways through dance, music, storytelling, arts and crafts, and food. 

Bluff Mountain Festival 

June 15, www.madisoncountyarts.com, Marshall, N.C.

Bluff Mountain Festival hosts an all-day event with a non-stop stage full of the finest traditional musicians and dancers. Artist vendor booths feature a wide variety of art and craft and provide a one-of-a-kind shopping opportunity. 

Annual Heritage Day and Wood Kiln Opening 

June 29, www.traditionspottery.com, Lenoir, N.C.

Live music all day with The Dollar Brothers, Glenn Bolick, and Friends, and more. Storytelling with Fred Frawley and Orville Hicks. The wood kiln will be filled with face jugs, Rebekah pitchers, hand formed animals, teapots, vases, pitchers, and more. Arrive early for the best selection! The day includes an interactive quilting party and a Gee Haw Whimmie Diddle Contest.

Pottery being retrieved from a kiln at the Annual Heritage Day and Wood Kiln

From the valleys to the highest peak, you’re never far from the music of the mountains and the foothills. Visit www.BlueRidgeMusicNC.com for a full calendar of traditional music events throughout Western North Carolina. Or pick up a free copy of the 2019 Down the Road Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Guide at a visitor center in the region. 


About the Blue Ridge Music Trails

The Blue Ridge Music Trails is a project of the North Carolina Arts Council and a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Areas to preserve and promote traditional music in Western North Carolina.

About the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is the regional steward of living Appalachian traditions in North Carolina that honor our elders and invite new generations to explore music, craft, foodways, the outdoors, and the native wisdom that all have their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. 

Get Ready for MerleFest 2019!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, serves as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans. Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson.

MerleFest returns to Wilkesboro this year from April 25 to April 28! For ticket information, line-up, and schedule visit www.MerleFest.org.

Dreamville Festival is Coming Up!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Dreamville Festival will be the first event of its kind for the region as it looks to provide a thoughtfully-curated, multi-stage music event from J. Cole, who himself was raised in nearby Fayetteville, North Carolina. The festival offers an opportunity for J. Cole to give back to his home state that has helped shape the artist he has become with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art that also features a curated selection of music performers blending together some of today’s biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers.The festivals itself aims to provide a unique opportunity for locals and traveling visitors alike to gather and enjoy a music celebration in one of Raleigh’s most beautiful and historic locations, Dorothea Dix Park – Raleigh’s largest city park with over 300 acres of public greenspace.

“Dorothea Dix park is excited to host the inaugural Dreamville Fest,” says Kate Pearce, Senior Planner for Dorothea Dix Park for the City of Raleigh. “This is not only an opportunity to celebrate music and community but also a way to start to understand how Dix Park May evolve into a great music destination in the state of North Carolina.”

Dreamville Festival’s ultimate goal is to not only have a positive and substantial economic and cultural impact on the city itself and the surrounding region, but also to become one of the most anticipated annual events in the city – one that is a perfect complement to the existing event landscape and cultural fabric of the City of Raleigh.

 


Some of hip-hop’s heaviest hitters will be visiting Raleigh for Dreamville Festival’s inaugural year, including SZA, 21 Savage, and Big Sean, but there will be quite a few North Carolina natives alongside them on the line-up.

Dreamville Festival's Lineup

J. Cole

International hip-hop superstar is a friendly face around Raleigh. When he’s not selling out stadiums and dropping platinum albums, you can find him playing pick-up basketball at a local gym or shooting an off-the-cuff music video. His work with the Dreamville Foundation emphasizes his desire to uplift his community, with the mission statement: “To reveal to the urban youth, their limitless potential, through positive life- altering experiences.”

Rapsody

A Snow Hill, NC native, Rapsody has established herself as a major player in today’s hip-hop scene. Signed to fellow North Carolinian 9th Wonder’s label, Jamla Records, her slew of solo releases, collaborations, and features look more like a veteran’s rap-sheet than an up-and-coming phenom’s. She served as the lone feature on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 Grammy Award winning album To Pimp a Butterfly and her most recent solo release, Laila’s Wisdom, was nominated for a Grammy in 2017 alongside Lamar, Jay-Z, Tyler the Creator, and Migos. 

Lute

Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Lute was signed to J. Cole’s label, Dreamville Records, in 2015. His debut album, West1996 pt. 2, was recorded entirely in North Carolina and tells the story of his life leading up to his signing with Dreamville. 

Mez

Mez grew up in Southeast Raleigh and has established himself as one of hip-hop’s premiere producers, rappers, and songwriters. Alongside his 5 solo releases, Mez has collaborated with the likes of J. Cole, Kanye West, and most famously, Dr. Dre – with his work on Dre’s 2015 release, Compton, propelling him to star-status.

Field Notes: North Carolina Moments at Folk Alliance International

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

By Catherine Swain, Director of Marketing for the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

North Carolina had a strong presence at the 2019 Folk Alliance International conference which took place February 13-17, 2019, in Montreal, Canada. The annual conference aims to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion. It is the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry, and the many North Carolina musicians, promoters, and presenters present demonstrated just how deep our roots run in the folk community.

Held in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, artist showcases took place on the first five floors of the building.  Attendees literally meander from converted hotel room to room for private showcases while larger showcases are held in the evenings in the hotel ballrooms. The layout is conducive to intimate performances and the opportunity to get up close and personal with many of the acts. The hotel is already part of music culture history in its own right. John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a bed-in at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, where they penned and recorded the iconic pacifist song “Give Peace a Chance.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic moment and during the conference, everyone was invited to livestream a performance of the song during their own bed-in.

Upon arrival on Thursday, the first act I caught was ‘Stray Local’ from Wilmington. It was kismet walking in to that room, where their first words were, “We’re from North Carolina!” Music to my ears indeed, and I treasure that my first experience was one of discovering new talent from North Carolina.

Between seeing music, I visited many of the industry booths which included reps from publications like No Depression and American Songwriter, powerhouse organizations like Americana Music Association, the International Bluegrass Music Association, Kerrville Folk Festival, The Blues Foundation, Folk Camp, Woody Guthrie Center, and a myriad of different music makers, service organizations and places promoting their nation’s music, including Canada, Norway and Wales.  It was good to see so many North Carolina supporters, who just beamed over hearing about the Come Hear NC campaign.

Come Hear NC, MerleFest and YepRoc co-sponsored a showcase featuring North Carolina notables Jim Lauderdale and Mipso. Their fantastic sets highlighted the diversity and depth of our state’s talent.  North Carolina got so many shout-outs from the stage and from friends of the state who were so excited to see Come Hear North Carolina reps at Folk Alliance International. It felt like a homecoming even though it was the first time we had ever been. It’s like they were saving a space at the table for us the whole time.

Livingston Taylor, James’ little brother, packed his showcase on Saturday night, and I was reminded what a sweet voice runs through that family.  He has been touring and performing for over 50 years and ‘Carolina Day’ was playing through the loudspeakers as I walked down the hallway towards his showcase.  

After his set, I headed over to Si Kahn’s 75th birthday celebration, featuring Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who played one of my favorites ‘Truck Drivin’ Woman.’  It was such a nice tribute to Si, an activist, author and songwriter living in Charlotte, who has led many grassroots campaigns to support our state. 

Rising Appalachia had a 1 a.m. showcase on Saturday night that closed out the festival for me. I enjoyed so many North Carolina moments and felt like so much of our people and the places they are from unfolded in unexpected ways throughout the festival. I felt so much pride for North Carolina and gratitude to be part of the story currently unfolding.

There is so much love for North Carolina. Even the hotel concierge had a boyfriend in Charlotte and was planning on transferring there with her company.

Venez ententre North Carolina.  Come Hear North Carolina.

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