music festivals 2016

North Carolina is host to some of the best music festivals in the country. We rounded up all that have been scheduled so far this year, and we will continue to update this list as more festivals are scheduled, or become known to us. This version was updated on August 22, 2016.

Don’t see your favorite music festival on our roundup? Submit an event below.


Clear Mountain View Music Festival • Polkville • August 25-27
Experience three days of live music and camping at Elliot Family Farms and enjoy musical performances by “America’s Got Talent” finalist and country musician Benton Blount, Americana band Hackensaw Boys, island rock band Simplified, and more.

Jam in the Trees • Black Mountain • August 26-27
The first-ever Jam in the Trees festival at Pisgah Brewing Company is a celebration of heritage music, featuring musicians with influences from bluegrass, gospel, folk, rock, blues, and traditional country.


Smoky Mountain Folk Festival • Lake Junaluska • September 2-3
Audience members take their seats in Stuart Auditorium as the windows frame the sunset over Lake Junaluska, and a parade of traditional and contemporary instruments take the stage. Dulcimers and harmonicas make an appearance, and even household items, such as spoons and saws, find a new life in folk music. The lineup is a pleasing variety of acoustic duos, energetic dance groups, and quick-pickin’ ensembles.

Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention • Historic Happy Valley • September 2-4
“Fiddlers Convention” is perhaps a misnomer for this festival. While there will be some fantastic fiddling, the convention showcases a diverse group of talented musicians from the region. The convention will also hold a variety of contests, jam sessions, and educational demonstrations, including one where attendees can watch a luthier make instruments.

Hopscotch Music Festival • Raleigh • September 8-10
Hopscotch Music Festival is a three-day celebration of live music held annually in downtown Raleigh. Now in its seventh year, Hopscotch features local, national, and international bands in a variety of genres, from folk and rock to hip-hop and pop. More than 100 bands play in venues across the city — indoor and outdoor — all within walking distance of each other. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup, which will be announced on Hopscotch’s website in the coming months.

76th National Folk Festival • Greensboro • September 9-11
Greensboro is going big as it plays host to the National Folk Festival for the second time this year. Approximately 300 musicians will perform, including headliners like Haywood County’s Balsam Range. While music will be in abundance, the festival’s mission is to celebrate all types of folk art, both from North Carolina and from cultures around the world. The NC Folklife Area will celebrate performance traditions and pottery, some of our state’s most recognizable folk art forms.

Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival • Mocksville • September 10
Now in its fifth year, the Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Carolina Bible Camp and Retreat Center. Grab an advance ticket for $15 ($20 at the gate), and hear world-renowned talents such as Scythian, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, The Snyder Family Band, and more. There will also be food and craft vendors to enjoy throughout the day.

Brewgrass Festival • Asheville • September 17
Western North Carolina’s original craft beer festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year at Memorial Stadium in Asheville. While more than 55 breweries will offer a diverse assortment of national and regional craft beer, Brewgrass Festival is steeped in the celebration of bluegrass music in the Appalachian mountain region. Last year’s musical talent included Jeff Austin (of Yonder Mountain String Band) and Truth & Salvage Co. Be on the lookout for this year’s lineup on the festival’s website.

CenterFest Arts Festival • Durham • September 17-18
CenterFest celebrates fine artists of all kinds, including musicians, performers, and visual artists whose media range from paintings and sculpture to woodworking and jewelry. There will be more than 70 performing acts across six stages in Durham, and more than 140 visual artists showcasing and selling their work. This family-friendly festival will also feature a Creative Kids Zone filled with fun activities, and local food and beverage vendors.

Hoppin’ John Fiddler’s Convention • Silk Hope • September 15-17
This old-time and bluegrass fiddler’s convention is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and will feature banjo, fiddle, and guitar-style showcases. In 2015, the convention included three instrumental workshops and two dance workshops, the High Strung Instruments’ “Petting Zoo,” children’s activities, a family recipe cook-off, and more. Stay tuned for this year’s schedule, which will be posted on the convention’s website.

Apex Music Festival • Apex • September 17
Formerly the Apex Jazz Festival, the Apex Music Festival is in its second year and will feature live performances in 10 public venues across Apex. The purchase of a wristband will grant you access to all 10 venues, the beer and wine garden, and the main stage. Last year featured 15 bands of different genres. Keep an eye on the festival’s website for this year’s lineup announcement.

Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival • Wilkesboro • September 23-24
Now in its second year, the Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival continues its tradition of celebrating the heritage of western North Carolina through music, food, and beverage. More than 100 musicians, chefs, vintners, and craft beer brewers from the region will gather on Main Street in Wilkesboro to engage audiences with the best of their craft. This year will also feature the North Carolina Banjo Championship. The festivities are hosted by The Kruger Brothers.

AVL Barnaroo • Leicester • September 30-October 2
Like its name, this festival is a spin-off of Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, which attracts tens of thousands each year. In its seventh year, Barnaroo’s lineup continues to evolve, branching beyond rock ’n’ roll to incorporate other musical styles. The event was founded with family in mind, so bring the kids. Music goes from morning to night, and afterward, participants can sleep beneath the stars on an organic farm.


Wide Open Bluegrass • Raleigh • September 30-October 1
This free street festival in downtown Raleigh features five stages, a dance tent, and a music expo in the Raleigh Convention Center. There will be a ticketed main stage event at the Red Hat Amphitheater, and the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue Championship will be back again this year to add a distinct local flavor to the festivities. While you’re at the festival, be sure to check out the juried artists in Artsplosure’s Arts Market area, the Got to Be NC products, and much more.

Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival • Pittsboro • October 6-9
Imagine a camping trip with loved ones in beautiful Chatham County, then add live music, great food, and lots of fun — that is Shakori Hills in a nutshell. A family-friendly celebration of music, dance, art, and education, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival is a music lover’s paradise. Come for a day or two, or set up camp for the weekend and enjoy more than 60 bands across four days and four stages.

Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival • Carolina & Kure Beach • October 8-9
A weekend of non-stop musical talent, the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival features two stages of live jazz and blues performances. This two-day festival takes place along the scenic Cape Fear River at the Fort Fisher Military Recreational Area. Enjoy browsing the Arts & Wine Garden, shopping for crafts, listening to music, and fine wine tasting. Children will stay entertained for hours as they enjoy magicians, face painting, educational exhibits, and more.

LEAF Festival (Fall) • Black Mountain • October 20-23
For more than 20 years, the LEAF Festival has been bringing together thousands of people from all walks of life to experience the power of music, art, and culture. This four-day festival takes place on the site of the historic Black Mountain College and is surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, streams, and gorgeous mountain views. The campgrounds are comfortable and family-friendly, and there is plenty of live entertainment and activities for everyone to enjoy.

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Rosalie Catanoso is the digital assistant at Our State. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University, and developed a freelance editing career while living in Philadelphia for two years. Now back in North Carolina, she enjoys exploring her home by way of its breweries, live music, and above all else — barbecue.

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