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

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April 2018 - North Carolina Music Festivals

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

April 6 - 7    Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention - Dobson

Two days of activities celebrate the old-time music of Surry County with a Friday night square dance and Saturday competitions for adult and youth (younger than 16) instrumentalists, bands and songwriters, which include cash prizes. Competitions are followed by youth and adult dances, respectively. There will also be luthier displays, jamming, a cake walk and raffles. 2018 is the festival's ninth year.

TBA. 2017 lineup was Whitetop Mountain Band, New Ballard's Branch Bogtrotters, plus competitors in band, fiddle, banjo, guitar, twin fiddle (adults), folk song, variety, dance, bass (adults).

Festival site: Surry Community College

7 to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Friday $5, younger than 13 free; Saturday $5, contestants and younger than 13 free.

April 7    Live & Local: Spring Fest - Raleigh

The City of Raleigh's Spring Fest features local musicians and performers on a main stage and a youth stage, an artist village curated by Artsplosure, a beer zone sponsored by Raleigh Brewing Company, and a kids' zone. Admission is free. Live & Local is a series of music and art events in the Hillsborough Street district of Raleigh, including Roots Fest in September.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Chatham County Line, The Beast, The Amateurs and four more.

Festival site: Compiegne Park and nearby

Noon to 8:30 p.m.

Free. Festival-goers are encouraged to use alternative transportation to get to the event.

April 8    Depot District Music Fest - Lexington

The City of Lexington opened a new amphitheater in 2017 with a festival expected to become an annual event with music, beer and wine, food truck vendors and children’s games and activities.

TBA. 2017 lineup included The Gin Blossoms, Edwin McCain, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and three more.

Festival site: Breeden Insurance Amphitheater

Gates open 11 a.m., music starts 11:30 a.m.

General admission: $35 in advance, $45 at gate.
VIP (100 available): $75 includes front-of-stage viewing area, VIP tent, access to private bar and restrooms.
Younger than 13 (with paying adult): $10 in advance, $15 at gate includes unlimited access to rides, games and activities.

April 7 - 8    Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon - Raleigh

The Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon is a series of foot races in cities across the country accompanied by alternative, classic and punk rock, blues, jazz and soul bands along the race course, plus concerts each day. There's also a health and fitness expo at the Raleigh Convention Center Friday and Saturday. 2018 is its fifth year in Raleigh (and drops a full marathon run in previous years).

Susto, about 10 more, plus race course bands, TBA.

Festival site: Red Hat Amphitheater / Raleigh Convention Center / Citywide race course

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8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Events are free, except for fees to enter the half-marathon.

April 12 - 14    Big Lick Bluegrass Festival - Oakboro

Like several other bluegrass festivals, most bands play afternoon and evening sets. Big Lick is in its 15th year in 2018.

Thursday: Open mic.
Friday: Sideline, Terry Baucom and the Dukes of Drive, Deeper Shade of Blue, Salt and Light.
Saturday: The Malpass Brothers, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Carson Peters and Iron Mountain, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Carolina Blue.

Festival site: Big Lick Festival Park

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6 p.m.-until Thursday, 1 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Three-day pass: $55 before April 1, $75 afterward.
Thursday: $10, ages 12 to 16 $5, younger free.
Friday: $30, ages 12 to 16 $10, younger free.
Saturday: $35, ages 12 to 16 $10, younger free.

Camping on-site with limited hookups.

April 14    Beach Fest - Selma

The Farm, a special events venue just off of I95, puts on a day of top-line beach music each spring. There will also be food trucks on site. It is in its fifth year in 2018.

The Embers, Band of Oz, Jim Quick and Coastline, Chairmen of the Board.

Festival site: The Farm

Gates open 11 a.m., music starts at noon.

$20 in advance, $25 day of show; younger than 6 free.

Note: "NO glass allowed anywhere on the property, including parking lots."
Tents 10'x10' or smaller allowed in a designated area.

April 14    Loaded Up and Truckin' - Hendersonville

It's mainly a competitive food truck rodeo, with 15 trucks participating, but the "food truck off and aural pleasure fest" is also to present seven bands plus a late-night dance with a DJ. Festival goers who buy a "judge's ticket" get to sample each food truck's one-of-a-kind creation. Oskar Blues Brewery of Brevard is the host. The festival is in its third year in 2018.

Donna the Buffalo, River Whyless, Front Country, Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, more TBA.

Festival site: Oskar Blues Reeb Ranch

Noon (gates open) to 1 a.m.

$30 in advance, $40 day of show; younger than 10 free.
Judging/tasting ticket (one special menu item from each food truck from noon to 4 p.m.): $65.

Tent camping: $20 per person.
Car camping: $100 per site with four people per site max.

April 20 - 22    Little Creek Vineyard Earth Day Music Festival - Snow Camp

Little Creek Vineyard and Music hosts several festivals, including this spring event to further the mission of the vineyard and farm. Food and beverages onsite are to include craft beers and Little Creek Vineyards wines.

Dr. Bacon, ESP, Wright Ave, Juju Guru, Katie Martin, The Ends, The New Hillbillies, Twisted River Junction, Electric Vegetables, Murdub, Matt Irie Band, Jimmy Fleming and Friends, Good Karma Trio.

Festival site: Little Creek Vineyard and Music

6 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.

Two-day pass: $20.
Daily: $10.

Camping: $10 per tent or vehicle.

April 21    North Carolina 'Cuegrass Festival - Raleigh

The daylong show put on by The Pit restaurant in downtown Raleigh's Warehouse District presents bluegrass and roots music, barbecue and craft beer, a silent auction of goods from downtown merchants, and kids' activities. The festival expands for 2018, its 10th year, to present music on two stages. Proceeds benefit local child abuse prevention agency SAFEchild, and the Junior League of Raleigh's BackPack Buddies, which is a food program for school kids. Click on the photo for more information.

Main Stage: Summer Brooke and The Mountain Faith Band, Old Habits, Barefoot Manner Bluegrass, The Tres Chicas, Songs From The Road.
Beer & Banjos Stage: Beer & Banjos Jam, The Band Sorrelle, Alana Barnosky, Heather Kenney.

Festival site: W. Davie Street

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Noon to 6 p.m.

$5, younger than 11 free.

April 21    Songsmith Gathering - Brevard

Songsmith Gathering is a bringing together of songwriters, not specific to genre, in a festival environment conducive to the listening experience. The inaugural festival features artists from the Americana and singer-songwriter world on two stages. It is produced by Mountains Song Productions, which also puts on the Mountain Song Festival hosted by Steep Canyon Rangers in Brevard in September.

The Wood Brothers, Darrell Scott, Nicki Bluhm, Greg Brown, Sarah Siskind, Beth Wood, Clint Roberts, Aaron Burdett, Mia Rose Lynne.

Festival site: Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, Brevard Music Center

Times TBA.

All seats general admission. Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium is an open-air venue with 1,800 seats under a roof and lawns on both sides. No tents allowed on lawn.
Auditorium seats: $50.
Lawn: $35.

Camping nearby at Davidson River Campground and elsewhere in the Pisgah National Forest.

April 21    RockyFest - Hiddenite

RockyFest is mostly a day of climbing, rappelling and trail runs, but among the other festivities is a slate of live music performances and a picking tent. There will also be children's activities and food and arts and craft vendors. RockyFest is in its sixth year in 2018.

Rodney Sutton, Five Mile Mountain Road, The New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, Crooked Road Ramblers, Cane Mill Road, Spencer Branch, Gap Civil, Junior Appalachian Musicians of Alexander County.

Festival site: Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area

Music 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; event starts at 8 a.m.

Free admission.

April 26 - 29    MerleFest - Wilkesboro

MerleFest, one of the country's best music festivals, features Americana, bluegrass, country, rock and more by top acts, and old and new favorites on more than a dozen stages. Some bands play a single show but many artists play several shows throughout the weekend and sit in with other bands and performers. The festival honors the late Merle Watson and the Doc Watson family, and is a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Click on the photo for more information.

Latest additions: Steep Canyon Rangers and Friends with special guest Steve Martin, Jerry Douglas and Tommy Emmanuel, Jim Lauderdale with Buddy Miller and the North Mississippi Allstars, Jerry Douglas with John Medeski, We Banjo 3, The Cleverlys, Si Khan and Joe Jencks.
Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell, The Mavericks, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, The Devil Makes Three, Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble; "Mission Temple Fireworks Revival" featuring Paul Thorn and Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama and The McCrary Sisters; Mandolin Orange, Alison Brown, Brandy Clark, Elephant Revival, Shinyribs, , Jerry Douglas, Aaron Burdett, Andrew Collins Trio, Andy May, Ari Eisinger, Ashley Heath and Her Heathens, Banknotes, Bill Mathis, Bob Hill, Bryan Sutton, Brynmor, Cane Mill Road, Cardboard Fox, Carol Rifkin, Jeanette Queen, Mark Queen, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Charles Welch, Cicada Rhythm, David Holt and Josh Goforth, Dead Horses, Donna the Buffalo, Doolin, Elephant Sessions, Erin Harpe, Flatland Harmony Experiment, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Fireside Collective, Gunner and Smith, Hannah Shira Naiman, Happy Traum, Horsemen Let's Ride, Hubby Jenkins, Hummingbird Crossing, Jack Lawrence, Jayme Stone's Folklife, Jeanette Williams Band, Jeff Little Trio, Jeffrey Foucault, Jim Lauderdale, Jody Carroll, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Joe Smothers, Junior Appalachian Musicians Band, Laura Boosinger and The Midnight Plowboys, Lauren and Lane, Lindsay Lou, Lillian Chase, The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Lori King and Junction 63, Mark Bumgarner, Mike Aiken Band, Mitch Greenhill, My Bubba, The Note Ropers, Nu-Blu, Pete and Joan Wernick, Peter Rowan, Piper Jones, The Po Ramblin’ Boys, Richard Ray Farrell, Richie and Rosie, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, Robin and Linda Williams, Rosie and the Riveters, Roy Book Binder, Sam Bush Band, Sarah Jane Scouten, Savannah Smith and Southern Soul, Scythian, Sideline, Smitty and the JumpStarters, Steve and Ruth Smith, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman Band, Ted Olson, Tennessee Jed Fisher, Terry Baucom's Dukes of Drive, The Barefoot Movement, The BattleAxe Band, The East Pointers, The Hackwells, The Kruger Brothers, The Lang Sisters, The Local Boys, The Lonely Heartstring Band, The Mastersons, The Midatlantic, The New River Drifters, The Waybacks, The Wildmans, Susana and Timmy Abell, Tony Williamson Band, Town Mountain, Unspoken Tradition, Virginia Hollow, The Way Down Wanderers, Wayland, Wayne Henderson, Wesley Bright and The Honeytones, Whitewater Bluegrass Company, Alberti Flea Circus, The InterACTive Theatre of Jef.

Festival site: Wilkes Community College

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Gates open 2:30 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. Friday-Sunday.

14 stages; some in tents, three indoors.

Four-Day Watson Stage reserved seat: row 1-35 $235 through February 15, $245 after, $260 at gate; row 36-51 $210 through February 15, $220 after, $230 at gate.
Four-day general admission: $150 through February 15, $165 after, $180 at gate.
Friday-Sunday general admission: $135 through February 15, $145 after, $155 at gate.
Daily: $40, $45, $50 Thursday; $55, $60, $65 Friday; $60, $65, $70 Saturday; $50, $55, $60 Sunday.
Midnight Jam (Saturday in Walker Auditorium) (2015 price): $40.
Gold Patron Packages ($2,200) and Platinum Patron Packages ($2,600) for groups of four are also available.

Several campgrounds are located nearby and are served by continuous bus shuttles.
On-campus RVs, four days: $450. On-campus tents, four days: $75.

April 27 - 28    White Oak Shores Bluegrass Festival - Stella

The campground-based show is on the coast at the edge of the Croatan National Forest. Camping is not required to attend. The campground has a small water park and playgrounds, and food and beverage vendors will be on hand during the festival. A portion of proceeds will go to the Carteret Community College Foundation. White Oak Shores also presents a September festival.

Friday: Telluride, A Cut Above, Salt and Light, Hwy 58, Black River Pickers.
Saturday: Constant Change, Po' Rambling Boys, Sideline, Eric Strickland and Here Tonight, Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys.

Festival site: White Oak Shores Camping & RV Resort

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Noon to 4:25 p.m. and 6:15 to 10:40 p.m. each day; each band plays afternoon and evening sets.

Two-day pass: $40.
Daily: $25.

Camping package: $190 for two nights and two tickets for each day; additional people $40 each for two days; extra nights $55.
"Dry" camping is free with festival ticket.

April 27 - 29    Art of Cool Festival - Durham

The nonprofit Art of Cool Project works to present, promote and preserve jazz-influenced music. The Art of Cool Festival, its biggest program of the year, focuses on expanding the audience for jazz-influenced music through dozens of performances at six indoor music venues.

TBA. 2017 lineup included Common, George Clinton, Revive Big Band, Rakim, Alex Isley, and 50-plus more.

Festival site: Carolina Theatre (map), DPAC, Motorco Music Hall, Pinhook, PSI Theatre

Club shows begin between 6 and 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; main stage shows 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Daily: TBA.
Two-day club pass: $100 ($150 after May 31).
All Access VIP (includes concert seats, club pass, hospitality lounge and Sunday brunch - but not headliner show): $200 ($250 after May 31).

April 28    Triangle Beach Music Festival - Greenville

The daylong show, which presents top beach music bands along with several food and drink vendors, is in its 20th year in 2018. It is known as the Triangle Beach Music Festival because it was held in Garner (just southeast of Raleigh) for 17 years before relocating to Greenville in 2016.

TBA. 2017 lineup was Band of Oz, Jim Quick and Coastline, Blackwater Rhythm and Blues, Backyard Groove.

Festival site: Pitt County Fairgrounds

Gates open 11 a.m., show starts 11:15.

$20 in advance online, $25 at gate.

The festival allows popup tents for $10 charged at the gate as long as space is available.

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