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.
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
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!
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 runs from June to August. View the official calendar here.
Friday June 7 to Sunday June 8, Ocracoke Island, NC
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. Our fans and audiences have been an integral part of our story, along with countless volunteers, performers, and supporters that we call family. In 2019, your 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 your funding.
Saturday, June 29 to Saturday, August 3, Boone, N.C.
Recently named one of the "Top Twenty Events in the Southeast" by the Southeast Tourism Society, Appalachian State University's major summer arts attraction will celebrate its 35th anniversary season this July. This month-long whirlwind of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming has grown from a popular local and regional event to a destination for visitors from around the country, who are attracted by the breadth and quality of its artistic programming, as well as the natural beauty of its High Country setting.
June 22, 2019, Burnsville, N.C.
RiddleFest promises musical excellence with a talented lineup performing at Burnsville Town Center on Saturday, June 22, for the annual event honoring the legacy of Yancey County native and musician Lesley Riddle.
Grammy-winning musician Dom Flemons headlines the concert. Flemons was a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops who won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2010. In 2014, Flemons left the group to pursue his solo career. His 2018 album, “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys,” received a Grammy nomination. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector and multi-instrumentalist, and is known as “The American Songster” because his repertoire covers more than 100 years of American folklore, ballads and tunes.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. To purchase, go to www.EventBrite.com and search “RiddleFest,” or call Burnsville Town Center at (828) 682-7209.
Thursday July 4 and Saturday July 6, West Point on the Eno, Durham, NC
Each year since 1980 the Eno River Association has presented the Festival for the Eno to draw thousands of folks to the shaded banks on the Eno River to sing dance and make merry with great food and crafts all while learning about natural resource conservation and raising funds for land protection in the Eno River basin.
The Festival the Eno has it's beginnings in the NC Folklife Festival held at Durham's newly created West Point Park in 1976 as the state's official bicentennial celebration and featured traditional crafts, music, dance and trades demonstrations. The Festival's for the Eno is still dedicated to the preservation and presentation of our rich and varied cultures and still offers plenty of hands on learning opportunities. Attendees can "throw" a pot on a clay wheel, watch a water powered grist mill grinding corn, or participate in urban farming, kayaking, weaving, and clean energy demonstrations, or participate in an old time or ukulele "jam" at the High Strung workshop stage.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 919-620-9099 ext 203.
July 5 to 7, North Topsail Beach, N.C.
In 2009 the Ocean City Beach Council conceived the idea of a summertime family celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Ocean City community. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this festival promoting and preserving the history and expanding the knowledge of Ocean City by celebrating jazz legends and up-and-coming greats.
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 1 to 3, 2019, 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. He saw the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival grow to be the oldest gathering of its kind in the nation and it continues in this way, a platform for the talented of the high country lying between the Great Smoky and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The festival runs from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM over the three nights at Lipinsky Hall, on the UNC-Asheville campus,
August 16 to 18, 2019, Raleigh, N.C.
A special weekend celebrating the talent, legacy, and spirit of legendary North Carolina musician Nina Simone is scheduled Aug. 16-18 in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art, Come Hear NC, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. To raise awareness of these efforts, a concert featuring Nina Simone’s signature songs will be performed by her daughter Lisa Simone, an award-winning actress and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist on August 17. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the rehabilitation and preservation of the Nina Simone Childhood Home which has been vacant for several years and is in disrepair.
In addition to the concert, the museum will host workshops, a screening of the documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and other events to celebrate Nina Simone’s legacy. Details for each event follow. Purchase tickets online at www.ncartmuseum.org/nina.
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 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.