Enjoy the Rhythm and Colors of Fall Music Festivals in North Carolina
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. 6-8, 2018, 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 120 bands will perform over three days, making it one of North Carolina’s largest annual music festivals. This year’s lineup includes Miguel, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, MC50 and Thundercat.
2 North Carolina Folk Festival
2 North Carolina Folk FestivalSept. 7-9, 2018, GreensboroSee on map
The National Folk Festival’s successful 3-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, a North Carolina Arts Marketplace, parades, and regional and ethnic foods.
3 Mountain Song Festival
3 Mountain Song FestivalSept. 7-9, 2018, BrevardSee on map
Held at Brevard Music Center’s Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, the scheduled artists for this family-friendly music event include Robert Earl Keen, Steep Canyon Rangers, Ben Sollee, Pokey LaFarge, Shannon Whitworth & Tonk, and more. In addition to the mountain music, there’ll be plenty of food, local artists, children’s activities and nature interests. Proceeds benefit the local Boys and Girls Club.
4 Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival
4 Carolina in the Fall Music & Food FestivalSept. 21-22, 2018, WilkesboroSee on map
On the old Courthouse Square in historic downtown Wilkesboro, The Kruger Brothers will host some of North Carolina’s leading folk and roots music bands. The lineup includes The Kruger Brothers, The Steel Wheels, The Secret Sisters, Jim Lauderdale, Front Country, Humming House and many others.
5 Wide Open Bluegrass
5 Wide Open BluegrassSept. 28-29, 2018, 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 2-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival features traditional and acoustic music on three stages, showcasing acts such as Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Leftover Salmon, The Gibson Brothers and many others. Ancillary activities include a business conference, a music expo, workshops, a film festival and a North Carolina whole hog barbecue competition.
6 Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival
6 Outer Banks Bluegrass FestivalOct. 3-6, 2018, ManteoSee on map
Four days of “good ol' Southern pickin’” in the tradition of music legends, the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival at Roanoke Island Festival Park features today’s bluegrass stars including Presley Barker, Edgar Loudermilk Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Donna Ulisse and many others. Festival food includes fresh local Outer Banks seafood, barbecue, burgers, sausages and more.
7 Duck Jazz Festival
7 Duck Jazz FestivalOct. 6-7, 2018, DuckSee on map
Celebrating its 12th year in the town of Duck on the Outer Banks, this free festival offers two days of live jazz music by artists such as Yolanda Rabun, Sidecar Social Club, Russell Malone, Huntertones, The Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble and more. 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.
8 The Shindig
8 The ShindigNov. 3, 2018, ClaytonSee on map
This seventh annual music festival celebrates Americana bands along with local craft beer. Taking over downtown Clayton (just outside of Raleigh), the lineup will feature nine bands on two stages. There will also be several craft breweries and food trucks.
10 J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival
10 J. Cole’s Dreamville FestivalApril 6, 2019 (originally Sept. 15, 2018), RaleighSee on map
J. Cole’s inaugural festival will be a celebration of music, culture, food and art as the rapper, who was raised in Fayetteville, gives back to his home state. The event promises acts that blend together some of music’s biggest names while also showcasing up-and-comers, all in Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh’s largest city park. Big Sean, SZA, Young Thug and Nelly were among the artists in the lineup before the festival was postponed in September due to Hurricane Florence.
11 Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival
11 Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz FestivalApril 13-14, 2019 (originally Oct. 13-14, 2018), Kure BeachSee on map
Celebrating its 25th year, this oceanside festival in Kure Beach presents nationally recognized blues and jazz performers on two stages, coastal cuisine, crafts, a wine tasting, and a children’s area with magicians, jugglers, clowns and more.