The Summer Festival Guide

by All of us for All of you.

The gig: May Fest

The site:

Theplace: South Mountain Acoustic Revival Theatre (SMART), Connelly, NC

The buzz: “The fun and laughter and eclectic music last till the wee hours, often finishing up around a bonfire with pickin’ circles springing up everywhere.”

One(s) to watch: Ras Allen with some of the Lions, Blunt Head Trauma, Tennessee Jed, the Stink Show, Electric Church, Calm & Collective and live art by Dan McGraw

Book it: May 18-19

How much: $25

The gig: Asheville Music Jamboree

The site:

The place: Derfields, Asheville, NC

The buzz: “Music and dance devotees of all ages will gather to make new friends and renew old relationships. Children will laugh and sing and share and learn. Families will tuck away their laptops and gaming systems to rediscover the simple pleasure of each other’s company. And couples will stroll by sparkling ponds as the festival’s sounds and pageantry unfurl around them.”

One(s) to watch: The Avett Brothers, Acoustic Syndicate, Jen & the Juice, Purple Schoolbus, Artvandalay, Donna the Buffalo, Toubab Krewe, Barrel House Mamas, Menage, Barefoot Manner and more

Book it: June 1-3

How much: $110 (three-day pass, extra for RV and vehicle camping)

The gig: 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: Fishers Peak Timber Rattlers, Blur Ridge Thunderbirds, the Highlanders, Silver Creek Band, Makeshift and headliners Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper featuring Audie Blaylock

Book it: June 8-9

How much: FREE (donations appreciated)

The gig: Charlie Poole Music Festival

The site:

The place: Eden Fairgrounds, Eden, NC

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: Uncle Earl, Carolina Chocolate Drops, the New North Carolina Ramblers and Wayne Henderson, among others, with competitions all day Saturday including bluegrass fiddle, clawhammer banjo and best Charlie Poole song

Book it: June 8-10

How much: $10-$20

The gig: Twin City RibFest

The site:

The place: Downtown Winston-Salem

The buzz: Three days and nights of music and meat off the bone, with a Winston Cup traveling museum, a kids’ area and a rib competition.

One(s) to watch: Three to four shows a night, includng Bombadil, Mad Tea Party, the Red Elvises, Big Ron Hunter & the Have Mercy Band, Swapdawamp and Confederate Railroad.

Book it: June 14-16

How much: $5 (kids free), $8 after 6 p.m. Saturday

The gig: Kernersville summerfest

The site:

The place: Kernersville Elementary School; 512 W. Mountain St.

The buzz: A good old-fashioned street fair with pony rides, classic cars, a petting zoo and fireworks.

One(s) to watch: Entertainment is a shagalicious quartet: Band of Oz, the Embers, Lia & the Waves and the Part-Time Party-Time Band.

Book it: June 22-23

How much: FREE (donations accepted)

The gig: EMF

The site:

The place: Various Triad locations

The buzz: “Over 100 events… everything from Grammy-winning classical soloists with symphony orchestra (three resident orchestras to choose from) – to one of America’s most innovative and eclectic schedules of alternative programming, as part of EMFfringe.”

One(s) to watch: If you like classical, chamber, orchestra, soloists, concert piano and 12-year-old violin prodigies, there’s much here for you, along with a Fringe series that has a little more youth appeal.

Book it: June 23-July 28

How much: $9-$49

The gig: Annual Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion

The site: None

The place: FarmPark, Denton, NC

The buzz: “The greatest steam, gas and antique farm machinery show in the Southeast.”

One(s) to watch: Jeff & Sheri Easter, Daryle Singletary and Stella Parton

Book it: June 30-July 4

How much: $13 ($6 kids)

The gig: Fun Fourth Festival

The site: None

The place: Downtown Greensboro

The buzz: Greensboro’s 22nd annual Fourth of July celebration

One(s) to watch: TBA

Book it: June 30-July 4

How much: FREE ($10 block party)

The gig: Christmas in July


The site:

The place: West Jefferson, NC

The buzz: Activities include a Civil War reenactment and a square dance

One(s) to watch: The Dollar Brothers Band, Whitetop Mountain Band, Heritage, Rock Bottom Band

Book it: July 6-7

How much: FREE

The gig: 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: “Three stages running in seperate “bars,” all in one building! Ranging from rockabilly, rock and roll, psychobilly, honky tonk, ska to punk rock!”

Book it: July 6-8

How much: $25 (one day) $65 (weekend)

The gig: NC Womens’ Jam Fest

The site:

The place: TBA, Nashville, NC

The buzz: A big party turned fundraiser – this year’s beneficiary is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

One(s) to watch: TBA

Book it: July 21

How much: $20 ($15 advance)

The gig: FloydFest 6

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: Fifty bands, including Donna the Buffalo, the Duhks, Sam Bush, the North Mississippi Allstars, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Langhorne Slim, the Red Stick Ramblers and Bombadil.

Book it: July 26-29

How much: $28-$400 (RV passes sold out)

The gig: BeleChere

The Site:

The place: Downtown Asheville

The buzz: “Bele chere means ‘beautiful living.'”

One(s) to watch: Train, Gin Blossoms, Lovin’ Spoonful, JJ Grey and Mofro, the Afromotive, Martin Sexton, Granola Funk Express, the Cyril Lance Band, Bonepony, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, 13 Stories and more

Book it: July 27-29

How much: FREE

The gig: Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival

The site:

The place: Sneads Ferry, NC

The buzz: A festival with its own song, the shrimp festival features a shrimp heading/peeling contest, a parade, a Shrimp Queen pageant, fireworks and the Shrimp Ball.

One(s) to watch: The Natural Brothers, a local act who penned the official Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival song.

Book it: Aug. 11-12

How much: $3 ($5 two-day pass)

The gig: Winterville Watermelon Festival

The site:

The place: Winterville, NC

The buzz: the 22nd annual festival dedicated to that most succulent of fruits.

One(s) to watch: Travis Tritt (seriously!)

Book it: Aug. 23-25

How much: FREE ($15 for Travis Tritt)

The gig: Festival in the Park

The site:

The place: Freedom Park, Charlotte

The buzz: In its 43rd 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 the Stragglers, Pervis Lee, the Spongetones and Volatile Baby

Book it: Sept. 20-23

How much: FREE

The gig: Carrboro Music Festival

The site:

The place: Carrboro

The buzz: In its 10th year, the daylong festival takes over the city with shows at such disparate venues as bars, cafés, dance studios, garden stores and markets, as well as the venerable Cat’s Cradle.

One(s) to watch: Well over a hundred acts… seriously. Standouts include Carolina Chocolate Drops, Memphis the Band, Crushed by the Numbers, the Redheaded Strangers, Lyn Koonce, Fresh Pork & the Pantaloons, Dr. Powerful, Viva la Venus and Gypsy Town.

Book it: Sept. 30

How much: FREE (donations accepted)

Out of the Way

The gig: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

The site:

The place: Manchester, Tenn.

The buzz: It’s only the biggest, baddest and best music festival of its time.

One(s) to watch: So much good stuff, including the White Stripes, Galactic, Tool, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, the Flaming Lips, Franz Ferdinand, Gov’t Mule, Fountains of Wayne, Hot Tuna, Aesop Rock and a reunion of the Police, along with comedians Dave Attell, Lewis Black and David Cross.

Book it: June 14-17

How much: About $200 for a four-day pass

The gig: Pitchfork Music Festival

The site:

The place: Union Park, Chicago

The buzz: “With so many blockbuster festivals gouging their attendees out of absolutely obscene sums of money, only to confine them in uncomfortable, tight spaces and skimp on basic necessities, our goal is to do the right thing: That is, to create a reasonably priced summer music festival that provides an overwhelmingly positive, comfortable and fun festival experience for both attendees and musicians.”

One(s) to watch: Sonic Youth, Slint, Yoko Ono, Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues, Iron & Wine, Girl Talk, the New Pornographers, De La Soul, of Montreal, the Ponys and lots more

Book it: July 13-15

How much: $15-$35

The gig: Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival

The site:

The place: Morgan City, La.

The buzz: “This is an event that will prove that oil and water really do mix.”

One(s) to watch: Lineup TBA

Book it: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

How much: FREE

The gig: Austin City Limits Music Festival

The site:

The place: Zilker Park; Austin, Texas

The buzz: A three-day music orgy put on by the people from the TV show

One(s) to watch: Still unannounced, but last year the lineup included

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Gnarls Barkley, the Tragically Hip, John Mayer, the Raconteurs, Ween, G. Love & Special Sauce and Matisyahu, so it should be pretty good.

Book it: Sept. 14-16

How much: $145

The gig: San Francisco Blues Festival

The site:

The place: Fort Mason’s Great Meadow; San Francisco, Calif.

The buzz: This two-day blues festival held under the Golden Gate Bridge brings great blues, microbrewed beer, wine and cuisine from California to Cajun.

One(s) to watch: 2007 lineup TBA, but since its inception in 1973, the fest has attracted the best artists in the blues, including Buddy Guy, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Albert King, James Cotton, Etta James, Taj Majal, Keb’ Mo’, the Staples, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Gatemouth Brown, Otis Rush, Dr. John, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and Delbert McClinton.

Book it: Sept. 28-30

How much: $35-$80 (two-day reserve lawn seat)