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

October 2015

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

September 29 - October 3    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 2018. It presents newgrass, jamgrass, traditional bluegrass, old-time and more by more than 150 acts in Wide Open Bluegrass at the downtown amphitheater, the Bluegrass Ramble showcase performances at downtown clubs and the Convention Center, and a free street festival put on by the City of Raleigh. The convention also includes a business conference, music expo, a bluegrass-oriented film festival added 2014, 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.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby, Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and many more.

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 $65 IBMA member, $75 nonmember; $20 per evening IBMA members, $25 nonmembers.

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.

Camping: N.C. State Fairgrounds (about 5 miles away with a shuttle available) $25 per night for tents, campers or RVs with full hookups (50 sites available). RV camping with no hookups adjacent to convention center $30 per night (30 sites).

October 3    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 performances outdoors during the day and an auditorium at night. The day includes the Fiddlin' 5K Road Race and Fun Run.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Richard Hurley, Rihannon Ramsey, Stoney Creek Boys, Roger Howell, Joe Penland 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 shows are free; evening show $10, $5 younger than 12, free with Mars Hill University ID.

October 3    Down South Music Festival - Sanford

The Southern country music festival began as a benefit for victims of a tornado that hit the Sanford area on April 16, 2011. It is presented by Lights on Broadway, a group that supports organizations in the Lee County community of Broadway. There will also be food and drink vendors.

TBA. 2014 lineup was Brick City South, The Seaside Band, Mr. Cat, Larry Frick, Craig Campbell, Rob Matthews.

Festival sites: Lion's Club Fairgrounds

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Gates open 4 p.m., music starts at 5 p.m.

$15 in advance; $20 day of show or $15 with four cans of food at the gate.
Younger than 7 free.

24 spaces for 10'x10' tents will be available day of show for $20 each.

October 3 - 4    Barnaroo - Leicester

The festival showcases local and regional singer songwriters and bands in the rock 'n' roll, hard rock and funk genres on two stages, one of which is in a barn. There will also be a food truck, art vendors and special entertainment, like fire spinning. A portion of proceeds will go to a local music charity TBA.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, Paper Crowns, Jaeb Fisher and Goof Troupeand nine more.

Festival site: Franny's Farm

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Gates open 10 a.m., music starts around noon.

$20, $35 with camping.

October 8 - 11    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 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. 2014 lineup included Donna the Buffalo, North Mississippi Allstars, Nahko and Medicine for the People, The Soul Rebels, The Duhks and about 50 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: $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 9 - 10    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 a slate of shows at a main outdoor site and late night sets at a various other venues. Regional breweries and area restaurants will have contingents onsite alongside arts and craft vendors. See also the Mustang Spring Jam in May.

TBA. 2014 lineup included JJ Grey and Mofro, The New Mastersounds, The Revivalists, Roadkill Ghost Choir and 11 more.

Festival site: The Whalehead

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2 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. on main stage and to 1:30 a.m. at clubs.

Two-day pass: $59.
Daily: $35.
VIP pass (admission to Thursday kickoff party, private viewing area, food, beer, wine, flush-toilet restrooms): $179.
Younger than 13 free.

October 10    Clayton Shindig - Clayton

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

TBA. 2014 lineup was Big Daddy Love, Hackensaw Boys, Sol Driven Train, Cutthroat Shamrock, Old Habits, Swift Creek.

Festival site: Downtown Clayton

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11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

$15 - includes barbecue.

October 10    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, raffles, a checkers playoff, a horseshoe toss, craft displays, storytelling and children's activities.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Aubrey Spurlok and Friends, Dan Mosely Band, Upright and Breathing and five more.

Festival site: Walter and Annie Cook Park

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9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


October 10 - 11    Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival - Kure Beach

The oceanside festival presents national, regional and local blues and jazz performers on two stages, plus coastal cuisine; craft vendors; wine, beer and liquor; 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. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Robert Cray Band, Delbert McClinton, Shemekia Copeland, Damon Fowler and 10 more.

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 tends to sell out.

October 15 - 18    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. 2015 lineup included Talib Kweli, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and about 30 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 17    American Roots Bluegrass Festival - Thomasville

An event planner / musician and her journalist assistant in Thomasville established the festival with its 2014 edition. In addition to traditional and modern bluegrass and musicians' workshops, vendors offer food, crafts and merchandise.

TBA. 2014 lineup included Lonesome River Band, The Loose Cannons, Destination Bluegrass Band and three more.

Festival site: TBA

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Workshops 8 to 10 a.m., music 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

$15 advance, $20 at door.
VIP (early admission for workshps, t-shirt, goodie bag): $30 advance, $35 at door.
Age 5 to 13: $10 advance, $15 at door.
Younger than 5 free with adult.

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