North Carolina is home to some of the best music festivals in the country! Here’s a list of long-standing festivals for the music-enthusiasts and travelers looking for quality music experiences. The festivals listed are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council through our grant program, are featured on our cultural trail, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina or components of the festival are being sponsored by Come Hear NC. This is an evolving list that the Come Hear North Carolina team will continue to update throughout 2019.
Look for our logo next to sponsored events!
Summer Series, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Summer concerts and movies have been an NCMA tradition for two decades, and we’re excited to launch another season of great music and entertainment. Our 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, 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.
Summer Concert Series, Downtown Asheville
2019 is the 53rd Season of Shindig On the Green! Bring your instruments, families, friends, lawn chairs and blankets and join us for good times at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Stage. Locals and visitors alike come together downtown “along about sundown,” or at 7:00pm for those who wear a watch, until 10:00p.m. Concessions are available. Come experience the beautiful music and dance traditions of Southern Appalachia on a summer evening in the mountains.
Kicking off on Saturday July 6th, check the official website for the full summer schedule.
August 21-25, 2019, Chapel Hill, N.C.
The music, loves, and losses of the legendary North Carolina musician. Yolanda Rabun stars as the High Priestess of Soul in this one-woman play with music.
A world premiere from Triangle playwright Howard L. Craft and directed by longtime PlayMakers company member Kathryn Hunter-Williams.
August 31 and September 1, 2019, Raleigh, N.C.
The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County is an annual celebration of African American culture as expressed through art, music, food and community. Over the past nine Labor Day weekends, the two day festival has connected diverse people and families from across our region with local, national, and international artists, performers, food vendors, area business owners, and our local media outlets. The festival has become Raleigh's premiere destination for teaching, sharing, and celebrating the distinctive folk and cultural traditions of African Americans here in North Carolina and from around the world.
August 30, 31, and September 1 2019, Lenoir, N.C.
For 15 years Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention has been managed by a group of volunteers who are committed to the preservation and promotion of traditional music. The mission of the convention is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage and resources of Happy/Yadkin Valley through an annual music festival that highlights traditional old-time and bluegrass music and rural traditions, doing so in a way that provides wholesome family activities and protects our farmland and community values while promoting trust between the community and the event.
August 31 and September 1 2019, High Point, N.C.
Entering its ninth year, the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival, brought to you by the Friends of John Coltrane returns to High Point on August 31.
Since its inception, the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival has succeeded in bringing the very top names in jazz, paid homage to the blues, celebrated the life and musical legacy of the jazz genres greatest artists. The festival attracts a growing audience and enjoys burgeoning reputation as the destination for Labor Day weekend.
September 5 to 7, 2019, Downtown Raleigh
Hopscotch Music Festival returns to downtown Raleigh to celebrate it’s tenth year this September 5-7. Featuring more than 130 bands over 3 days, Hopscotch is known for adventurous lineups, memorable performances, and a fan-friendly atmosphere. From a large outdoor main stage in Raleigh City Plaza to intimate club shows, the festival offers music in almost every genre imaginable—rock, hip-hop, metal, folk, electronic, experimental, and more—and its programming highlights this diversity each year.
September 6 to 8, 2019, Downtown Greensboro
The North Carolina Folk Festival is a free outdoor celebration of our state's cultural roots and heritage. The festival will feature performances and demonstrations by musicians, dancers, and craftspeople.
September 14, Durham, N.C.
Beats n Bars’ mission is to build stronger community through the influence of urban culture and music. In order to meet this goal and place NC Hip Hop, and Durham specifically, in national conversations related to Hip Hop, BnB aims to establish relationships, build partnerships, and foster collaboration with individuals and businesses for support.
BnB curates a diverse mix of performances from some of the best artists in Hip Hop locally and nationally. The lineup represents a variety of styles and showcases the the dynamic range of Hip Hop music. The festival showcases are both a recognition of artists making their mark and a celebration of the contributions from established trailblazers.
September 14, Dillsboro, N.C.
The event will feature four bands performing live on the beautiful wrap-around porch of the 1908 Monteith Farmhouse. The Appalachian Women's Museum will celebrate the memory and mountain music of Jackson County resident Samantha Bumgarner. In 1924 she became the first woman to record country music for a wide audience and continued a long career until her death in 1960.
September 20-21, Wilkesboro, N.C.
The fifth annual Carolina in the Fall™ Music & Food Festival takes place on September 20-21 in historic downtown Wilkesboro, located in the picturesque foothills of North Carolina. The Kruger Brothers will host some of North Carolina’s best roots music bands. And, they will be joined by a variety of bands from around the world that tip their hats to the rich musical history of Wilkes, the Heart of American Folk Music™.
Carolina in the Fall™ has become an annual pilgrimage of roots music lovers. In addition to great Americana, folk and bluegrass music, vendors vying for the festival’s food truck championship serve the finest in sweet and savory delights. Local vineyards and craft breweries provide a taste of the region’s best adult beverages. There’s also the Carolina Jam™, contra and clogging dance classes, jamming tents, artist workshops, a splash pad and more. Best of all, the street festival is free to the public! Visit https://carolinainthefall.org/ to purchase tickets for the performance venues, reserve accommodations, see the complete lineup and find more information.
September 21, China Grove, N.C.
The 3rd Annual Stand Together Music Festival will be held from 2:00-10:00pm on Saturday, September 21, 2019. The festival raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There will be five bands playing including Darrell Harwood and The CWB, The Tonez, Mostley Crue, Red Dirt Revival and Havoc. There will be a Kidz Zone and food vendors on site. The event is held at Hannah Park on Main Street of China Grove, NC
September 27 to 28, 2019, Downtown Raleigh
Wide Open Bluegrass will once again feature a North Carolina musicians stage, sponsored by the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. The free street festival features IBMA and Grammy Award winners, top-notch emerging acts, traditional bluegrass, and acts that stretch the boundaries across eight stages in downtown Raleigh.
September 27-28, 2019, Durham, NC
A remix of a Black American Music festival, AOCFEST 2019 fuses forward-thinking Jazz, alternative Soul and Hip-Hop greats over the course of a dope, culture-filled weekend.
AOCFEST is proud to say we are a Durham born and bred festival! The AOC team is working hard to create a phenomenal experience for new and returning Art of Cool Festival attendees.
October 3-6, Shakori Hills, N.C.
Join festival founders Donna the Buffalo as they welcome Galactic, Roosevelt Collier Band, Ryan Montbleau Band, and over 50 other performers to the 16th Annual Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance this October 3 – 6 in Pittsboro, NC!
The festival, now in it’s 16th year, is a benefit for the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, which provides free, or greatly reduced, music and arts education programs to rural areas in Chatham, Orange, and Durham counties.
October 5, Mt. Airy, N.C.
Granite City Roots is a music festival located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Mount Airy, North Carolina. This years festival is packed with amazing new musical acts, along with some repeat offenders we just can’t get enough of. Featuring Blue Cactus, Lone Hollow, Shay Martin Lovette, Black Mtn. Revival, Time Sawyer, South Hill Banks and The Vegabonds!! Get your tickets, mark your calendars, grab that overnight gear, and plan to boogie your boots off, while sampling some of the areas most bodacious breweries. The countdown begins…now!
October 5, Mars Hill, N.C.
The 52nd edition of Western North Carolina's second-oldest folk music festival returns to the Mars Hill University campus the first weekend of October. The Bascom Lamar Lunsford "Minstrel of Appalachia" Festival takes place from 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, 2019. It's the same day as the Madison Heritage Arts Festival, which runs from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in downtown Mars Hill. Admission to the festivals is free, although there is a charge for some of the Lunsford Festival music workshops.
Most of the Lunsford Festival activities, including the main stage performances, will take place on or near the Lunsford Commons, traditionally known as the Upper Quad of the campus, adjacent to College Street. A highlight of the day is the 11 a.m. presentation of the 2019 Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award, which will be given to dancer Loretta Freeman. Afternoon highlights include a community jam session in the Sunken Garden, adjacent to the Quad, and a ballad swap in historic Owen Theatre.
December 4-December 8, Durham, NC
Longstanding institutional barriers prevent many musicians from accessing the resources needed to live and make music. For 25 years, Music Maker Relief Foundation — a groundbreaking nonprofit organization based in Hillsborough, NC — has ensured that the voices of hundreds of extraordinary and unheralded blues and folk musicians are not silenced by poverty and time. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Music Maker collaborates with Duke Performances for a weeklong music series and exhibition at The Fruit in downtown Durham that spotlights pioneering contributors preserving the rich musical traditions of the South.