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

October 2016

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

September 27 - October 1    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, 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. 2015 lineup included Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Sam Bush Band, The HillBenders present "Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry," Sierra Hull, Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line, and dozens more.

Festival site: Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Convention Center, Fayetteville Street, Nearby Clubs

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Bluegrass Ramble: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Red Hat Amphitheater: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Street Fest: Noon to 11 p.m.

Two-day pass with reserved seat at amphitheater: sections 1 to 3 - $120 IBMA member, $140 nonmember; sections 4 to 7 - $100 IBMA member, $120 nonmember.
Single-day with reserved seat: section 1 to 3 - $60 IBMA member, $70 nonmember; sections 4 to 7 - $50 IBMA member, $60 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 1    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 an auditorium at night. The day includes the Fiddlin' 5K Road Race and Fun Run. The evening show begins with the premiere of the Roger Howell documentary, "A Mighty Fine Memory: Stories and Tunes from the Fiddler of Banjo Branch."

TBA. 2015 lineup included Midnight Plowboys, Stoney Creek Boys, Carole Rifkin, Gary Spence, and about 25 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 6 - 9    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. 2015 lineup included Donna the Buffalo, Hot Rize featuring Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers, Rubblebucket, Kinobe and The Wamu Spirit, Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line, 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 7 - 8    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. 2015 lineup included Keller Williams and More Than a Little, Rusted Root, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Nth Power, and 19 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 8    Clayton Shindig - Clayton

The small-town gathering is a benefit for Toys for Tots, and also features a barbecue cookoff, beer from local breweries, a cornhole tournament and a wing-eating contest. A second stage with was added for 2015. Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The SteelDrivers, The Black Lillies, Scythian and seven more.

Festival site: Downtown Clayton

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

$15; $35 includes unlimited beer tastings from 1 to 5 p.m. and a commemorative glass.

October 8    3B Music Festival - Union Grove

The 3B festival presents country, bluegrass, blues and barbecue, plus crafts and more in a benefit for the American Renaissance School.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Kruger Brothers, Marcus Myles Ireland, Clay Lunsford, and seven more.

Festival sites: Fiddler's Grove Campground

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Noon to 6:30 p.m.

$12 in advance, $15 at the gate.

Fiddler's Grove is an alcohol-free facility.

October 8 - 9    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. 2015 lineup included Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Shemekia Copeland, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King and 11 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 14 - 15    Ol' Front Porch Music Festival - Oriental

The picturesque coastal village of Oriental opens the front porches of several homes and businesses for about a dozen performers who play a variety of music throughout the afternoon. Artisans and crafters will display their wares at the Country Marketplace, and various restaurants and businesses support the festival with special sales and other activities. There will also be a classic car show and and a chicken barbecue dinner. A kickoff show at the Old Theater Friday evening features a band and a showing of the musical documentary “Muscle Shoals.” The festival is in its second year in 2015 and is free.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Laurelyn Dossett, The Carmonas, Green Creek Bluegrass, and 15 more.

Festival site: Broad and Hodges streets (map), Old Theater

6:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

October 14 - 15    Carolina Jubilee - Union Grove

The festival is a fund-raiser for the Carolina Farm Trust, which buys farm land and puts it into a protective trust to lease back to new and existing farmers. In addition to music, several Carolina microbreweries, wineries and farm-related vendors will showcase their products and educate the community. 2015 was the festival's debut year.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Mipso, Tacoma Narrows, Unspoken Tradition, Songs of the Fall, and six more.

Festival site: VanHoy Farms

Two day pass: $50
Daily: $35.
Two Lifetime passes: $500.

Camping through VanHoy Farms.

October 15 - 16    American Roots Music & Arts Festival - Raleigh

The festival, which debuted in 2015, is to celebrate the best in music, food and arts with two days of nationally known musical acts and the Taste of Raleigh Food & Brews Celebration, plus special events, vendors and more.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Modest Mouse, The Roots, and nine more. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Leftover Salmon, Chris Stapleton, Railroad Earth, more TBA.
Sunday: Eric Church, Warren Haynes, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Greensky Bluegrass.

Festival site: Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Noon to 11 p.m.; gates open 11 a.m.

Two-day pass: lawn seats $79, reserved seats $110 to $250.
Daily: starting at $39.95.
VIP packages: $500 and $1,000.

Multiple travel packages with lodging, transportation to and from the festival, tickets and more available from $890 to $2,540.

October 20 - 23    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 Aaron Neville, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dumpstaphunk, Rebirth Brass Band, Rising Appalachia, and 32 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 prices for September 4 to October 15:
Weekend pass (with tent camping, three days, two nights): $168 adults, $142 ages 10-17.
Weekend Plus (with tent camping, three and a half days, three nights, i.e., Thursday): $203 adults, $177 ages 10-17.
Community Pass (weekend for local residents): $112 adults, $99 ages 10-17.
Friday or Sunday: $50 adults, $40 ages 10-17.
Saturday: $60 adults, $53 ages 10-17.
Age 9 and younger free; younger than 18 must be with a parent. Packages for spring and fall festivals also available.

Car camping: $69 per 20×20 spot (one vehicle per spot).
RV Parking: $135 per spot (for larger vehicles that do not fit within the 20×20 vehicle camping spots)
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 28 - November 4    Clayton Piano Festival - Clayton

The festival dedicated to concert piano presents four concerts over nine days, each with a guest pianist and a theme. Pianists involved in the festival also make presentations in local schools and to local piano students while in town. The final concert is in Raleigh. The festival is in its fifth year in 2016.

TBA. 2015 lineup was Yana Reznik, Jonathan Levin, Paul Sanchez, Michael Bulychev-Okser.

Festival site: Wagner House (map), Hopper Piano (Nov. 7)

7 p.m. October 30, 3 p.m. November 1, 7 p.m. November 5, 7:30 p.m. November 7.

Wagner House Series (three concerts, dinners, receptions): $90 adults, $70 older than 64, $50 younger than 13.
Individual shows' prices vary.

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