Carolina Music Festivals is a comprehensive calendar and guide to multi-act, daylong or multiple-day music festivals in North Carolina.

October 2014

Dates may be estimated based on last year's festival until confirmed by festival organizers.

September 30 - October 4    Wide Open Bluegrass Festival - Raleigh

The International Bluegrass Music Association's "World of Bluegrass" annual convention, awards show and fan festival relocated from Nashville to Raleigh for 2013 through 2015. Its Wide Open Bluegrass Festival presents newgrass, jamgrass, traditional bluegrass, old-time and more by more than 60 top acts at the downtown amphitheater, in showcase performances at downtown clubs and the Convention Center, and in a free street festival put on by the City of Raleigh. The convention also includes a business conference, music expo, workshops, fan / celebrity meet-and-greets and more.
The IBMA Awards show, which is also a part of the weekend, requires separate tickets (see below). Click on the photo for more information.

Bluegrass Ramble: Barbwire, Becky Buller, Compton and Newberry, Constant Change, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Davidson Brothers, Donna Ulisse, Driven, Flatt Lonesome, Helen Highwater Stringband, Irene Kelly, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Jim Lauderdale, Monroe Crossing, Moore Brothers Band, Mr Sun, Mustered Courage, New Country Rehab, Newtown, Rebecca Frazier and Hit and Run, Red June, Sister Sadie, Special Consensus, The Barefoot Movement, The Danberrys, The Earl Brothers, The Grass Cats, The Lonely Heartstring Band, The Railsplitters, The Rigneys.
Many more TBA.

Festival site: Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Convention Center, City Plaza, Nearby Clubs

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Convention Center: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Red Hat Amphitheater: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Bluegrass Ramble: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Two-day pass with reserved seat at amphitheater: $120 IBMA member, $140 nonmember.
Two-day general admission pass: $80 IBMA member, $100 nonmember; younger than 15: $60 IBMA member, $70 nonmember.
Daily general admission pass: $40 IBMA member, $50 nonmember; younger than 15: $30 IBMA member, $35 nonmember.

Bluegrass Ramble: full pass $100 IBMA member, $150 nonmember; or $10 per venue each evening.

Bluegrass Wide Open tickets include admission to expo as well as amphitheater and convention center stages. Bluegrass Ramble tickets are separate but are included with business conference registration.

IBMA Awards: Lifetime IBMA Members - $90, $50, $40.
Organizational, Individual, or Grass Roots Club IBMA Members - $95, $55, $45.
Non-members: $105, $65, $55.

October 3 - 5    New Bern Storytelling and Folk Music Festival - New Bern

The festival debuted in 2013 to present contemporary folk music and free-form storytelling by local artists. Shows move among several downtown New Bern venues (see schedule at link).

Musical Artists
TBA. 2013 lineup included The Barefoot Movement, The Swayback Sisters, Diali Cissokho, and nine more.

Festival sites: Trent River Coffee Company, Isaac Taylor Garden, Bank of the Arts, James Reed Lane.

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7 p.m. Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Friday: $15 in advance, $20 day of show.
Saturday, Sunday afternoon: free.
Sunday evening (Swayback Sisters): $10.

October 4    Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival - Mars Hill

Regional musicians and dancers remember Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a musician and folklorist who dedicated his life to collecting and promoting the music of the Southern Appalachians. The festival includes the Fiddlin' 5K Road Race and Fun Run.

TBA. 2013 lineup included The Trantham Family, Roger Howell, Midnight Plowboys and about 20 more.

Festival sites: Mars Hill University

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Daytime stage 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ballad and story swap 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; evening show starts 7 p.m.

Daytime show is free; evening show $10, $5 younger than 12, free with Mars Hill University ID.

October 4    Clayton Shindig - Clayton

The small-town gathering is a benefit for Toys for Tots, and also features a cornhole tournament, a barbecue cookoff and beer from local breweries.Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2013 lineup was Hackensaw Boys, Old Habits, Phillip Roebuck, Mountain Standard Time, Johnny Orr Band.

Festival site: Downtown Clayton

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11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.


October 4    The Phantasmagoric Fall Ball - Moncure

Telephathic Productions, which also puts on the Sensational Spring Fling, presents an "all-night dance party" in the Magickal Forest.

TBA. 2013 lineup included Electric Soul Pandemic, Mac and Juice Quartet, Yesterday's Gravy and six more.

Festival site: Magickal Forest

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$30 in advance, $40 at the gate.

October 9 - 12    Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival - Silk Hope

The semiannual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance (see April schedule) presents an eclectic mix of music - from rock to jazz and Americana, Cajun and klezmer - on five stages. There are also musicians' competitions, art and craft vendors, food vendors, games, a drum circle, children's activities and more. Donna the Buffalo is the host band. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2103 lineup included Donna the Buffalo, Yonder Mountain String Band, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Lake Street Dive, International Blues Express with Sidi Toure and Cedric Watson, and many more.

Festival site: Shakori Hills

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Times TBA.

Four-day pass: $85 early-bird, $95 in advance, $100 at gate; ages 13-15 $45 in advance, $55 at gate.
Thursday $20 in advance, $25 at gate; Friday $30 in advance, $35 at gate, Saturday $40 in advance, $45 at gate; Sunday $20 in advance, $25 at gate.
Ages 13-15 (at gate only): Thursday $12, Friday $17, Saturday $22, Sunday $12.

Camping: Tents $10; RVs $50 in advance, $60 at gate. RV more that 25 feet long or a vehicle and trailer pays double.

October 10 - 11    Mustang Music Festival - Corolla

The benefit for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a nonprofit organization working to protect and preserve the last remaining herd of Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks, presents acts on two stages, plus late night sets at a second site. Regional breweries and area restaurants will have contingents onsite alongside arts and craft vendors. See also the Mustang Spring Jam in May.

TBA. 2013 lineup included Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Big Daddy Love, Orgone, The Critters, and 14 more.

Festival site: Mike Dianna's Grill Room, Sundogs Raw Bar & Grill (late night)

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2 to 10 p.m.; late night sets at Sundogs 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

$45 or $35 with 10 non-perishable food items for the local food bank.
Younger than 12 free.

October 11    Todd New River Festival - Todd

The free festival sponsored by the Todd Ruritan club on the banks of the New River features bluegrass and a gospel sing, a checkers playoff, a horseshoe toss, craft displays, storytelling and children's activities.

TBA. 2013 lineup included Left of Blue, Upright and Breathing, Norris Family and four more.

Festival site: Walter and Annie Cook Park

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9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


October 11 - 12    Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival - Kure Beach

The oceanside festival presents nationally recognized blues and jazz performers on two stages, plus coastal cuisine, crafts, a wine tasting, and a children's area with magicians, jugglers, clowns and more. The festival is sponsored by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce, which serves Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. It will be in its 20th year in 2013.

Saturday: Blues Stage - Robert Cray Band, Shemekia Copeland, Justin Fox, Blues World Order, Fatty Lumpkin and the Love Hogs. Jazz Stage - BLP's Touch of Jazz, Lee Ventors and Vermillon Sands, Lynne and the Wave.
Sunday: Blues Stage - Delbert McClinton, Damon Fowler, Big Bump and the Stun Gunz. Jazz Stage - Snake Malone and the Black Cat Bone, Nita B and the Swinging Soiree, Nina Repeta.

Festival site: Fort Fisher Air Force Recreational Area

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Begins 12:30 p.m. each day; gates open at 11 a.m.

Two-day pass: $50 in advance.
Saturday only: $60.
Sunday only: $25.
Younger than 13 free.

Tickets are limited; this event does sell out.

October 16 - 19    LEAF - Black Mountain

The semiannual LEAF - Lake Eden Arts Festival - embraces new ageism, world music and the outdoors at a mountain camp well-appointed for weekend festivals (see May schedule). Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2013 lineup included Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Zap Mama, Vieux Fark Toure, Acoustic Syndicate, about 20 more.

Festival site: Camp Rockmont

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Four-day pass with tent camping (three nights): $142 adults, $118 ages 10-17 June 1-30; $158 and $129 July-August, $169 and $139 September-October 13.
Three-day pass with tent camping: $112 adults, $92 ages 10-17 June 1-30; $129 and $104 July-August, $146 and $113 September-October 13.
Community Pass (weekend for local residents): $73 adults, $60 ages 10-17 June 1-30; $82 and $71 July-August, $94 and $79 September-October 13.
Single-day passes (no camping):
  Friday or Sunday: $29 adults, $24 ages 10-17 June 1-30; $35 and $29 July-August, $40 and $32 September -October 13.
  Saturday: $38 adults, $33 ages 10-17 June 1-30; $45 and $40 July-August, $50 and $42 September-October 13.
Age 9 and younger free; younger than 18 must be with a parent. Packages for spring and fall festivals also available.

Cabins: Sleeps 9 $305; sleeps 12 $360; lodge room for five $305; lodge bunk $90. Prices for Friday and Saturday; Thursday add $55 for cabin, $35 for bunk.

October 19    Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival - Salisbury

The family-friendly and free festival is dedicated to preserving, promoting and presenting blues and jazz with emphasis on musicians from North Carolina's Piedmont and of all ages. Arts and crafts, and food vendors will also be a part of the festival.

TBA. 2013 lineup included Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Joe Robinson Jazz Revue, The Brubakers, and three more.

Festival site: Downtown Salisbury

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2 to 11 p.m.; gates open at 1 p.m.

General admission is free; limited VIP seating available through the website for $10.

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