Whether your taste in music is rock, rhythm and blues, bluegrass, hip-hop, metal or somewhere in between, there’s a music festival in North Carolina that will have you dancing in the streets this fall. Any of these events will make for the highlight of a great weekend getaway.
1 Hopscotch Music Fest
1 Hopscotch Music FestSept. 7-9, 2023; RaleighSee on map
This annual festival has been called “America’s (Secretly) Best Festival” and “the premier experimental and underground festival in America.” More than 100 bands perform over three days, making it one of North Carolina’s largest annual music festivals.
2 Mountain Song Festival
2 Mountain Song FestivalSept. 8-9, 2023; BrevardSee on map
Held at Brevard Music Center’s Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, past artists for this family-friendly music event include Steep Canyon Rangers, Del McCoury Band, Amythyst Kiah and Gibson Brothers. In addition to the mountain music, there's plenty of food, local artists, children’s activities and nature interests. Proceeds benefit the local Boys and Girls Club.
3 North Carolina Folk Festival
3 North Carolina Folk FestivalSept. 8-10, 2023; GreensboroSee on map
The National Folk Festival’s successful three-year run in Greensboro led to the creation of the North Carolina Folk Festival. You can expect traditional performers and craftspeople, several stages of continuous music and dance, regional foods and family fun.
4 Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival
4 Carolina in the Fall Music & Food FestivalSept. 22-23, 2023; WilkesboroSee on map
On the old Courthouse Square in historic downtown Wilkesboro, The Kruger Brothers host some of North Carolina’s leading folk and roots music bands. In the past, the lineup has included Kruger Brothers, Diamond Rio and Kontras Quartet.
5 Carolina Jubilee
5 Carolina JubileeSept. 29-30, 2023; HarmonySee on map
This two-day music and food festival at VanHoy Farms in Harmony (about an hour north of Charlotte) is dedicated to raising funds and support for Carolina Farm Trust. Liz Cooper, Neighbor Lady, Good Morning Bedlam and Jaime Wyatt are just a few of the artists who have performed in the past. You can even make a weekend of it by purchasing a camping pass to stay the night.
6 IBMA World of Bluegrass
6 IBMA World of BluegrassSept. 29-30, 2023; RaleighSee on map
The International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass annual convention, awards show and fan festival continues its run in Raleigh. The free two-day World of Bluegrass festival features traditional and acoustic music on eight stages, showcasing acts such as Twisted Pine, Balsam Range, Della Mae, The Infamous Stringdusters and many others. Ancillary activities include a business conference, a music expo, workshops, a film festival and a North Carolina whole hog barbecue competition.
7 Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival
7 Ol’ Front Porch Music FestivalOct. 6-7, 2023; OrientalSee on map
Celebrating the kind of music played on the porches of this coastal town decades ago – and some of the artists really will play on porches – this free festival features folk, Americana, bluegrass, country, gospel and jazz. You’ll also find arts and crafts, food and additional vendors in the walkable town of Oriental, the Sailing Capital of North Carolina.
8 Duck Jazz Festival
8 Duck Jazz FestivalOct. 7-8, 2023; DuckSee on map
This free festival offers two days of live jazz music on the Outer Banks. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from local restaurants, and you’re welcome to bring your own food and coolers as well as chairs, blankets and pets.
9 Bluegrass Island Music Festivall
9 Bluegrass Island Music FestivallOct. 19-21, 2023; ManteoSee on map
Four days of “good ol' Southern pickin’” in the tradition of music legends, the Bluegrass Island Music Festival at Roanoke Island Festival Park features today’s bluegrass stars including Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush, the Steeldrivers and many others. Festival food includes fresh local Outer Banks seafood, barbecue, burgers, sausages and more.