by YES! Staff

Featuring some of the top festivals in the area!

The Gathering of the Peacemakers The site: The place: Camp Rockmont; Black Mountain The buzz: A traveling hippie circus, with camping and an organic meal plan available: “It will be a 4-day retreat of conscious instruction and nights of conscious music.” Miss this one and you can catch them when they come back through North Carolina in August. One(s) to watch: Laura Reed & Deep Pocket, Julian Abey, Black Rebels, Robanic, Chalwa Book it: April 9-13 How much: $145 4-day pass

HATCHfest The site: The place: The Orange Peel; Asheville The buzz: ”HATCH is a non-profit organization that provides inspiration in the creative and media arts by facilitating an ongoing dialog between creative professionals and groundbreaking new artists and innovators.” Probably not as boring as wonk-talk makes it sound. Ones to watch: Lineup TBA, but they better get on it. Book it: April 15-19 How much: Daytime events are free, evening events will be ticketed, price TBA

Asheboro’s First Annual Chili Cookoff The site: The place: Between Worth, Fayetteville and Sunset streets in downtown Asheboro The buzz: Now that you can finally buy a beer in Asheboro, you might want some chili to go with it. One(s) to watch: Acts TBA Book it: April 18 How much: $10

Spring Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival The site: The place: Silk Hope The buzz: Cool little campground neighborhoods in the woods One(s) to watch: More than 40 bands, but be on the lookout for Donna the Buffalo, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Rachid Taha, Des Ark, the New Familiars and our friend Billy Two Rivers who plays a set with David Reavis Book it: April 16-19 How much: $26-$85

Two Wheel Frenzy The site: The place: 315 E. 7th St.; Charlotte The buzz: A biker festival and rally in downtown Charlotte centered around two bars, Dixie’s Tavern and Alley Cats. One(s) to watch: Simplified, Evelyn Rose, Drop D, Matter of Fact, Below the Belt and Poor Man Revolution Book it: April 18 How much: $20

Asheville Earth Day The site: The place: Martin Luther King Park; Asheville The buzz: “[P]eople of all ages and backgrounds of the Asheville community, gathering to educate and celebrate that every person can make a difference for environmental change. One(s) to watch: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Laura Reed & Deep Pocket Book it: April 18 How much: FREE


The site: The place: Wilkes Community College; Wilkesboro The buzz: “The festival is held in a secure and substance-free setting that complements the experience and fosters an interest in a variety of musical forms representative of the repertoire of Doc and Merle Watson.” One(s) to watch: Too many to list, but the big names inclide Travis Tritt, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Sam Bush, David Bromberg and, of course, Doc Watson. Book it: April 23-26 How much: $35-$225

DarfurFest ’09 The site: The place: Millstone Farm; Davidson The buzz: Mass hysteria from the people who bring Groverfest in June an appetizer, if you will. One(s) to watch: Greensboro band the Mantras, who thrive in a festival atmosphere Book it: April 24-25 How much: $15, with free veggie or barbecue plate

Festival on the Neuse The site: The place: Kinston The buzz: Fireworks, golf tournament, street dance, pigs in costumes and the Great Neuse River Duck Race One(s) to watch: Local acts TBA Book it: April 30-May 2 How much: FREE

Spring Folly The site: The place: Kernersville The buzz: No skateboards, no alcohol, no pets, One(s) to watch: The Dixie Cups, old-school New Orleans R&B girl group best known for “Chapel of Love” Book it: May 1-3 How much: FREE

World Beer Festival The site: The place: Moore Square; downtown Raleigh The buzz: A solid beer buzz One(s) to watch: Brooks Wood Band, Jah Creation, Ascella Vega, The High & Mighties, Sean Aitken, Shane Bullis Book it: May 2 How much: $50, $85 VIP

Shine to Wine Festival The site: The place: Downtown north Wilkesboro The buzz: Wine, food and song, and the 2nd annual Culinary Chefs Challenge One(s) to watch: Hope you like the SHU band Book it: May 2 How much: FREE, wine tasting $20

Nashville Blooming festival The site: The place: Downtown Nashville The buzz: Mother’s Day festival you can actually bring your mom to One(s) to watch: “[A]t 10 a.m. you’ll be entertained by the band When Stars Fall, a winner in the annual Nash County’s Got Talent Contest sponsored by Nash Arts. The group will kick the day off with contemporary Christian music.” Book it: May 7 How much: FREE

Lake Eden Arts Festival

The site: The place: Camp Rockmont; Black Mountain The buzz: “Connecting cultures and creating community through arts.” One(s) to watch: So much hot stuff, but if you miss the Meter Men, featuring three of the original four Meters — George Porter, Leo Nocentelli and Zigabo Modeliste — you will regret it all summer long. Book it: May 7-10 How much: Day tickets start at $43 and go up to about $150 for a weekend pass.

Beaufort Music Festival The site: The place: Beaufort waterfront The buzz: An outdoor festival in one of the state’s most charming waterfront communities One(s) to watch: Bands TBA Book it: May 8-9 How much: FREE

Bluegrass in Wilkes The site: The place: Forest Edge Amphitheater; Wilkesboro The buzz: Smokey the Bear will be there One(s)to watch: Curley Seckler, high lonesome tenor Book it: May 9 How much: $15

Carolina Blues Festival The site: The place: Festival Park; downtown Greensboro The buzz: The folks at the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society survived several years of inclement weather and venue changes before finding their groove — and a home — in downtown Greensboro One(s) to watch: Headliner Cyril Neville, fresh off the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Book it: May 9 How much: $TBA

Smoky Mountain Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: Fontana Village Resort; Fontana Dam The buzz: “”Pickin’ and a grinnin’ in the Mountains. Sweet.” One(s) to watch: Balsam Range, Pine Mountain Railroad, Blue Moon Rising, Rye Holler Boys Book it: May 9 How much: $25, $12.50 children

NC Gold Festival The site: The place: Tom Johnson Camping Center; Marion The buzz: Thar’s gold in them there hills! Or, at least, there used to be. One(s) to watch: Music TBA, but expect to see some fiddlers Book it: May 15-16 How much: FREE [ck]

Artsplosure The site: The place: Moore Square; downtown Raleigh The buzz: It’s mostly about the art One(s) to watch: Eric Lindell, northern Californian who found his chops in New Orleans Book it: May 17 How much: FREE

Old New and Blue The site: The place: Maggie Valley Festival Grounds; Maggie Valley

Guide The buzz: Sunshine and bluegrass in the Smokey Mountains One(s) to watch: Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys in the right place at the right time Book it: May 16 How much: $30

Deep River Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: Randleman The buzz: Very low key for a festival — outdated website, and very little information available One(s) to watch: Blue Highway, Newfound Road, James King Band Book it: May 16 How much: TBA

Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Newton Mayfest The site: The place: Downtown Newton The buzz: Word is Dale himself may show One(s) to watch: Bands TBA Book it: May 16-17 How much: FREE

Carolina Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary The buzz: “Heybro Productions reaches out to help feed the hungry at the Carolina Bluegrass Festival, benefiting the organization Stop Hunger Now.” One(s) to watch: The Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Tony Rice Unit, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Al Batten & the Bluegrass Reunion, No Strings Attached Book it: May 17 How much: $25 general admission, $35 reserved

Little John’s Mountain Music Festival The site: The place: Cane Creek Campground; Snow Camp The buzz: “Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival believes in a positive attitude and giving the bluegrass fans quality entertainment” One(s) to watch: 13 bands, but we’ve got our eye on Sweet Potato Pie, which appears to be a bluegrass band comprised of soccer moms Book it: May 21-23 How much: $65 three-day pass, $15-$30 a day

Heritage Festival Weekend The site: None The place: Riverfront City Park; Bryson City The buzz: A log-sawing contest! One(s) to watch: Some really great homegrown gospel mixed with Highland pipe and drums Book it: May 22-23 How much: FREE

International Festival The site: None The place: Mendenhall Transportation Terminal; High Point The buzz: Part of the High Point sesquicentennial celebration One(s) to watch: Afromotive stands out among the rest Book it: May 23 How much: FREE

Fiddler’s Grove Festival The site: The place: Fiddler’s Grove Campground; Union Grove The buzz: “The oldest continuous ole time fiddler’s competition in North America” One(s) to watch: The certified Old Time Fiddlers, open to musicians over 55 who play only by ear and have had no formal training Book it: May 22-24 How much: $50 weekend pass/$10-$30 per day; camping available

Festival in the Grove The site: The place: Shady Grove United Methodist Church; Davidson County The buzz: All proceeds benefit Davidson County Special Olympics and Victory Junction Gang Camp One(s) to watch: Lots of Christian family bands, but headliner Donna Hughes could make a preacher kick in a stained glass window Book it: May 30 How much: $TBA

35 th anniversary of Rural Hall The site: The place: Covington Memorial Park; Rural Hall The buzz: A pound cake contest! And Rural Hall is only 35 years old? WTF? One(s) to watch: Taylor Vaden, who will perform the finale as Elvis Book it: May 30 How much: FREE

Malcolm Blue Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: Aberdeen The buzz: Not much… couldn’t even find a list of performers online One(s) to watch: We hear you can feed the chickens. Book It: June 13 How much: ?? (910-944-7558)

Ocrafolk Music & Storytelling Festival The site: The place: Ocracoke Island The buzz: “The festival is a life-enriching experience, full of joy and sharing… a communion of sorts, bringing together musicians, Ocracoke residents and tourists.” One(s) to watch: Lineup TBA Book it: June 5-7 How much: $TBA

Bethania 250th Anniversary Celebration The site: The place: Bethania Visitor’s Center

The buzz: NC’s oldest planned Moravian community throws down One(s) to watch: Moravian bands and choirs, followed by Tin Can Alley on Friday night Book it: June 12-14 How much: FREE

Galax Leaf & String Festival The site: The place: Downtown Galax, Va. The buzz: Bluegrass and old-time mountain music on two downtown stages and a headliner at the historic Rex Theater One(s) to watch: Wayne Henderson and Jeff Little hold court at the historic Rex Theater on Friday night Book it: June 12-13 How much: FREE, some ticketed events

Charlie Poole Music Festival The site: The place: Eden Fairgrounds, Eden The buzz: Three days of pickin’, grinnin’ and fiddlin’ in honor of the legacy of mill worker and banjoist Charlie Poole. One(s) to watch: Headliner Dom Flemon of the Carolina Chocolate Drops; Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Joe Thompson Book it: June 12-14 How much: $10-$20

Groverfest 2008 The site: The place: Native Vines Winery; Lexington The buzz: “[B]rings together genres of music from across the board for an all ages event geared toward exposing our area’s talent and providing a safe and affordable recreation for a diverse experience unlike any other around.” One(s) to watch: Details on this year’s lineup are scarce, but last year saw bands with great names like Yesterday’s Gravy, Fat Cabbage, Hollywood Red, 5 Finger Discount and the Mud Bunnies Book it: June 19-21 How much: Last year it was $15

Twin City RibFest The site: The place: Dixie Classic Fairgrounds; Winston-Salem The buzz: Three days and nights of music and meat off the bone for

this award-winning festival, now in its fifth year. One(s) to watch: Vanilla Ice. Seriously. Book it: June 12-14 How much: TBA

North Carolina State Bluegrass Fest The site: The place: Happy Holiday Campground; Cherokee The buzz: Wall-to-wall bluegrass in a state renowned for the form One(s) to watch: Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and one 90-minute set by Ralph Stanley Book it: June 18-20 How much: $30/day advance, $35 after June 9; 30day passes are $75/$85

Kernersville summerfest The site: The place: Kernersville Elementary School; 512 W. Mountain St., Kernersville The buzz: A good old-fashioned street fair with pony rides, classic cars, a petting zoo and fireworks. One(s) to watch: Band of Oz, Craig Woolard Band and the Part- Time Party Time Band Book it: June 18-20 How much: FREE (donations accepted)

Juneteenth Celebration The site: The place: Hayti Heritage Center; Durham The buzz: This year’s theme is “Bridging a COnnection One(s) to watch: “[O]ld fashion gospel, reggae, blues, positive hip hop, spoken word, jazz and R&B.” Book it: June 20 How much: FREE

Eastern Music Festival The site: The place: Various Triad locations The buzz: A huge lineup of classical musicians, conductors, small groups and orchestras along with a Fringe series that’s a little more hip One(s) to watch: We love the EMF Fringe series, which brings a different vibe to the event, but most acts are TBA Book it: June 27-Aug. 1 How much: $9-$49, but lots of deals available at the website

Annual Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion The site: The place: FarmPark, Denton The buzz: “The greatest steam, gas and antique farm machinery show in the Southeast.” One(s) to watch: Probably the people Book it: June 30-July 4 How much: $13 ($6 kids)

Red, White and Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: Catawba Meadows Park; Morganton The buzz: A festival born of a 15-minute fireworks show on the campus of Western Piedmont Community College in the 1980s One(s) to watch: 28 bands, featuring the Grascals, Blue Highway, Cherryholmes and the Dan Tyminski Band Book it: July 1-4 How much: $10/day, $35 weekend pass

Fun Fourth Festival The site: The place: Downtown Greensboro The buzz: Greensboro’s 24th annual Fourth of July celebration One(s) to watch: The Soul Brothers and the Embers Friday night, other acts TBA Book it: June 27-July 4 How much: FREE ($10 block party)

Christmas in July Festival The site: The place: West Jefferson The buzz: Activities include a Civil War reenactment and a square dance One(s) to watch: Lots of music, but we’re looking forward to the Mayberry Impersonators, Including Barney Fife, Gomer Pyle and Betty Lou Book it: July 4 How much: FREE

Heavy Rebel Weekender

The site: The place: The Millennium Center, Winston-Salem The buzz: “Top soil is a wonderful thing for mud wrestling!” One(s) to watch: “Dexter Romweber is a god.” Book it: July 3-5 How much: $25 (one day) $70 (weekend)

Cape Fear Blues Festival The site: The place: Wilmington The buzz: Blues on the beach courtesy of the Cape Fear Blues Society One(s) to watch: Still in the planning stages, but last year the Cape Fear Blues Society was able to lure Mel Melton & His Wicked Mojos onto a Cape Fear Blues Cruise, so they’ve got some juice. Book it: July 24-26 How much: $TBA

FloydFest 8: Revival The site: The place: Floyd, Va. The buzz: “FloydFest is named after our one-stoplight, two-block town, or rather the special essence of our town, which residents and visitors alike experience as a respite from the restless, hurried activity of our modern society, and the cookie-cutter look and feel of many, if not most, modern places.” It is not a Pink Floyd tribute festival. One(s) to watch: These guys throw down year after year. Watch out for Greensboro boy Dave McCracken on the Hammond B-3 with Donna the Buffalo, the Duhks, the Lee Boys, New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band, the ubiquitous Laura Reed & Deep Pocket, Mad Tea Party, the Jugbusters and, yowza, Blues Traveler. Book it: July 24-27 How much: $55-$415

High Country Bluegrass Festival The site: The place: High Country Fairgrounds; Boone The buzz: The usual: altitude, banjos, high-lonesome wailings One(s) to watch: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver headline, but we’re more interested in the fiddle and banjo workshops. Get to pickin’ and sawin’, ’all Book it: July 25 How much: $25

BeleChere The Site: The place: Downtown Asheville The buzz: “Bele chere means ‘beautiful living.’” One(s) to watch: In it’s 31st year, BeleChere is making some changes to the festival layout and renewed a pledge to make the music completely free. Lineup TBA, but last year saw Travis Tritt, Edwin McCain, Cowboy Mouth and plenty more. Book it: July 24-26 How much: FREE

Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival The site: The place: Sneads Ferry The buzz: A festival with its own wine — Stone Bay Blush, the shrimp festival features a shrimp heading/peeling contest, a parade, a Shrimp Queen pageant, fireworks and the Shrimp Ball; also has its own song (mp3 on the website) One(s) to watch: The lineup still in the early planning stages, with no announced acts as of yet Book it: Aug. 10-11 How much: $TBA

Winterville Watermelon Festival The site: The place: Winterville The buzz: The 23rd annual festival dedicated to that most succulent of fruits. One(s) to watch: Lineup TBA, but last year they had Travis Tritt (seriously!) Book it: Aug. 27-29 How much: FREE

Happy Valley Old-time Fiddlers’ Convention The site: The place: Jones Farm; Lenoir The buzz: Lenoir is the place where Tom Dooley actually hung his head and cried in 1867 after being executed for murdering his neighbor, Laura Foster, who grew up on the festival site


One(s) to watch: Check out the competitions, especially the ones for autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer and mountain dance Book it: Sept.4-6 How much: $5, $10 camping

Festival in the Park The site: The place: Freedom Park, Charlotte The buzz: In its 45th year, the festival has been ranked among the top 200 in the US by Sunshine Artists magazine One(s) to watch: Special stages for kids, clowns, magicians and folk musicians. On the main stage look for Peralta, the Spongetones and Wink Keziah Book it: Sept. 24-27 How much: FREE

Carrboro Music Festival The site:

The place: Carrboro The buzz: In its 12th year, the day-long festival takes over the city with shows at such disparate venues as bars, caf’s, dance studios, garden stores and markets, as well as the venerable Cat’s Cradle. One(s) to watch: Still booking, but last year’s event saw well over a hundred acts, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Showcase Book it: Sept. 20 How much: FREE (donations accepted)

The Gathering of the Peacemakers The site: The place: Camp Rockmont; Black Mountain The buzz: Bookending the April event, the Peacemakers finish out in Black Mountain in a full week of love and harmony. Plus, there’s a pool One(s) to watch: Lineup TBA, but it should be sufficiently crunchy Book it: Aug. 30-Sept. 5 How much: $275