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

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October 2018 - North Carolina Music Festivals

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

October 3 - 6    Bluegrass Island Festival - Manteo

The festival debuted in 2012 and has established itself as a major fall event on the Outer Banks featuring top bluegrass acts, a band competition, vendors, fireworks and more. Wednesday's kickoff show is at Bluegrass Island Trading Co. in Manteo. Click on the photo for more information.

Wednesday: Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith Band, Sideline, Edgar Loudermilk Band, Presley Barker.
Thursday: Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Lonely Heartstring Band, Sideline, Kristy Cox Band.
Friday: Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Donna Ulisse, Mile Twelve, Carson Peters and Iron Mountain.
Saturday: The SteelDrivers, Breaking Grass, Darrell Webb Band, The Barefoot Movement, Deeper Shade of Blue, Cuttin' Grass.

Festival site: Roanoke Island Festival Park

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Gates open 10 a.m.

Ticket prices typically rise periodically, sometimes without prior notice.
Four-day pass: $125.
Daily: $45.
VIP 4-Day Pass (chair in front of stage, reserved parking on the island, barbecue shindig): $250.
VIP Backstage Pass (preferred parking, onstage seating, private restroom, complimentary water and sodas, artist meet-and-greets, barbecue shindig): $350.

All non-VIP parking is at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, where a $5 shuttle (all-day pass) is available.

October 4 - 7    Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival - Silk Hope

The semiannual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance (see May schedule) presents an eclectic mix of music - from rock to jazz and Americana, Cajun and klezmer - on four 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. 2017 lineup included Beats Antique, Donna the Buffalo, Elephant Revival, Locos Por Juana, Seratones, and about 40 more.

Festival site: Shakori Hills

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Music starts 5 p.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Four-day pass: $104 early bird (to August 14), $114 advance (to October 3), $133 at gate; ages 13-15 $54, $59, $70.
Thursday $22 in advance, $30 at gate; Friday $37 in advance, $45 at gate, Saturday $37 in advance, $45 at gate; Sunday $27 in advance, $35 at gate.
Ages 13-15 (at gate only): Thursday $16, Friday $21, Saturday $21, Sunday $16.
Younger than 13 free.
Check website for various discounts.

Camping: Tents $15 in advance, $20 at gate; car camping $79 early bird, $86 in advance, $94 at gate; RVs $115 early bird, $125 in advance, $135 at gate.
Early camping begins prior Saturday at $10 for tents, $10 per day for vehicles.

October 5 - 6    Ol' Front Porch Music Festival - Oriental

The picturesque coastal village of Oriental opens the front porches of several homes and businesses for about two dozen groups and solo performers who play a variety of music Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. Artisans and crafters display their wares, and local restaurants and delis sell food. A Friday night concert is ticketed; the rest is free. The festival is in its fifth year in 2018.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Dom Flemons, Red Clay Ramblers, Mojo Collins, and 23 more.

Festival site: Neuse Riverfont, Main Stage at South Avenue and Freemason Street, concert at The Red Rooster, 111 Broad Street

Times TBA.

2017 concert was $20.

October 5 - 6    Marcus King Band Family Reunion - Black Mountain

The rising guitarist Marcus King and his band debuted a two-day music festival in 2017 featuring a lineup curated by King himself. A portion of the proceeds go to Cannabis Forward, a Greenville, S.C.-based organization that raises awareness of the medical benefits of marijuana, and Mental Health America of Greenville County, a mental health advocacy, awareness and service organization..

TBA. 2017 lineup included Marcus King Band, Blackberry Smoke, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band and 10 more.

Festival site: Pisgah Brewing Co.

4:30 p.m. Friday, TBA Saturday.

Two-day pass: Early bird $49.50 sold out; $67.50.
VIP pass (guided brewery tour and tasting, early entry, preferred parking, private viewing area, private bar, private port-a-lets and commemorative poster): $149.50.

See our profile of another festival held at Pisgah Brewing Co.

October 5 - 6    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 presents showcase (i.e., very short) performances outdoors during the day and in an auditorium at night. The day includes the Fiddlin' 5K Road Race and Fun Run. The Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival is in its 51st year in 2018.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Jeff Atkins, The Buckner Family, Lillian Chase and 15 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 shows are free; evening show $10, $5 younger than 12, free with Mars Hill University ID.

October 12 - 14    Three Days of Light Gathering - Ferguson

The 3DL festival bills itself as part retreat, part festival, part summer camp, part earth school. In addition to music in the evenings, the weekend offers three dozen workshops on such topics as sustainable living, natural health and wellness, personal / spiritual development and community and culture, plus keynote speakers, yoga and movement classes, flow / fire performances, fire dance, drum circles, and more. It is in its seventh year in 2018.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Desert Dwellers, Yaima, In Plain Sight, HuDost and 15 more.

Festival site: High Country Motorcycle Camp

2:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday.

See the website for multiple ticket / camping packages.

October 13 - 14    Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival - Kure Beach

The oceanside festival presents national, regional and local blues and jazz performers on two stages, plus craft vendors; food vendors offering seafood and other cuisine; wine, beer and liquor; and a children's area with magicians, jugglers, clowns and more. The festival is in its 25th year in 2018 and is sponsored by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce, which serves Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Mud Morganfield Blues Band, Roomful of Blues, Nick Moss Band, Randall Bramblett Band, and 10 more.

Festival site: Fort Fisher Air Force Recreational Area

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Begins 11:30 a.m.

$50 in advance; at gate: $60 Saturday, $35 Sunday.
Younger than 13 free.

Tickets are limited and tend to sell out.

October 13 - 14    Mustang Rock and Roast - Corolla

After two years off (one because of a hurricane), the festival returns as a celebration of two North Carolina culinary favorites, with an oyster roast and barbecue cookoff, and "at least 12" national, regional and local performers, plus student bands from the Mustang Outreach Program, on two stages. The festival remains a 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. Mike Dianna’s Grill Room will be serving their outdoor cookout menu and selling beer, wine and cocktails throughout the event. See also the Mustang Spring Jam in May.

TBA. (The lineup for the cancelled 2016 Mustang Music Festival included Lettuce, Yonder Mountain String Band, moe., G. Love and Special Sauce and 16 more.)

Festival site: Mike Dianna’s Grill Room

2 to 10 p.m.

Advance, day of show and VIP ticket prices TBA.

October 18 - 20    Deweyfest - Burlington

Deweyfest is fiddler Dewey Brown's family-style bluegrass celebration. The festival moved from spring to fall in 2016 for two-days of shows, and expanded to three days in 2017. The festival also presents picking and vocal harmony workshops, vendors, a fishing pond and a free "Beans & Cornbread Supper" on Thursday. Some bands play two sets each day.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Tommy Brown and the County Line Grass, Nathan Stanley, Kevin Prater Band, and 10 more.

Festival site: Maplewood Hills Events Center

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Show starts: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Three-day pass: $50.
Thursday and Friday (each): $20.
Saturday: $25.

Free camping with tickets; showers available on site.

No alcohol allowed in the concert area.

October 18 - 21    The LEAF - Black Mountain

The semiannual LEAF - Lake Eden Arts Festival - embraces world music, new ageism and the outdoors (see May schedule). The weekend includes a lot of activities, especially for kids, and it's held at a mountain camp well-appointed for weekend festivals. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Toots and the Maytals, Los Lobos, Elephant Revival, Turkuaz, and 35 more.

Festival site: Camp Rockmont

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Ticket prices in several combinations increase periodically or as limited numbers available at each tier are sold out. These are final-tier prices for ages 10-17 and adults:
Weekend pass (with tent camping, three days, two nights): $150-$180.
Weekend Plus (with tent camping, three and a half days, three nights, i.e., Thursday): $190-$215.
Community Pass (weekend for local residents): $105-$120.
Friday or Sunday: $45-$55.
Saturday: $60-$65.
Age 9 and younger free; younger than 18 must be with a parent. Packages for spring and fall festivals also available.

Car camping: $90 per 20x20 spot (one vehicle per spot).
RV Parking: $175 per spot (for larger vehicles that do not fit within the 20x20 vehicle camping spots)
Cabins: Sleeps 9 $470; sleeps 10 $490; sleeps 12 $516; sleeps 11 and has bathroom $616; lodge room for five $470; lodge bunk $188; shared 16-bunk room with half bath $1,355. Prices for Thursday through Saturday.
More options at website.

Parking: $8 advance, $10 at festival.

October 20    Groove in the Garden - Raleigh

The day at Raleigh Little Theatre's rose garden includes shows by mostly local bands playing indie pop, Southern rock, R&B and bluegrass. There are also be food trucks, craft beer from North Carolina, vendors and a kids' zone. The festival, which is put on by The Pour House music hall, moved from August to October in 2017, its third year. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2017 lineup included American Aquarium, Toubab Krewe, Bombadil, and five more.

Festival site: Stephenson Amphitheater at Raleigh Little Theatre

1 to 9 p.m.; gate opens at noon.

$20 limited advance, $25 advance and at gate; younger than 6 free.
VIP (festival t-shirt, screenprinted poster, VIP tent access with complimentary food and drinks, side stage viewing privileges): $75.
(Packages also available with advanced ticket plus t-shirt or poster or shirt and poster.)

October 20    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. The long-running festival has struggled to stay afloat, changing formats and times of years.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Mac Arnold and Plate Full O' Blues, Nathan Pope Band, Blazin' Blues Bob, and five 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.

October 20    Black Alternative Music Festival - Charlotte

The free festival debuted in 2017 as a project to "support the building of Charlotte’s already rich music scene by providing a platform for both local and national black alternative musicians to share their art and talent." It presents punk, indie, metal, rock and soul music, as well as food, craft and craft beer vendors.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Blu House, SunQueen Kelcey and the Solar Flares, Foxture, Chocola, and five more.

Festival site: Camp North End

Noon to 11 p.m.

Free admission.

October 20    Blue Ridge Bluegrass Festival - Spruce Pine

Buck Stove subsidiary Buck's Tiny Houses put on a day of music in 2017, which the site says will be back in 2018. In addition to tours of the company's tiny houses and the factory that makes them, vendors and artisans were also on hand. A portion of proceeds were donated to the Mitchell High School Band.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Darin and Brooke Aldridge, David Holt and Josh Goforth, The Surly Gentlemen and two more.

Festival site: Buck Stoves

1 p.m.

$20 in advance, $25 at door.

October 25 - November 3    Clayton Piano Festival - Clayton

The festival dedicated to concert piano present four themed programs at various locations and some with dinner, and its pianists make presentations in local schools and to local piano students while in town. The festival is in its seventh year in 2018.

TBA. 2017 artists included organizer Jonathan Levin, César Reyes, Nikita Galaktionov and three more.

Festival sites: Preston Woodall House (Benson), Brick and Mortar Events (Clayton; map), The Piazza at Portofino (Clayton), Cary Arts Center (Cary)

6:30 p.m. October 26, 6:30 p.m. October 28; 7 p.m. November 2; 7:30 p.m. November 4

Individual shows' prices vary.

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