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 2017 - North Carolina Music Festivals

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

April 1 - 2    Rock 'n' Roll Marathon - Raleigh

The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is a series of marathon and half-marathon 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. 2017 is its fourth year in Raleigh.

Cracker, more TBA, including bands along the race course.

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.

Friday: $25; VIP (two drink tickets, dedicated cash bar, PIT general admission in front of stage, and separate VIP line/entry) $102.
Other events are free, except for fees to enter the marathon.

April 6 - 8    Big Lick Bluegrass Festival - Oakboro

Like several other bluegrass festivals, most bands play afternoon and evening sets. Big Lick is in its 14th year in 2017.

Thursday: Open mic.
Friday: Steve Dilling and Sideline, Deeper Shade of Blue, The Spinney Brothers, Bethel University Bluegrass Band, Wood Family Tradition.
Saturday: Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, The Malpass Brothers, The Spinney Brothers, Bethel University Bluegrass Band, Flatt Lonesome.

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 7 - 9    Waterfront Jazz Festival - Mooresville

The festival promises three days of great contemporary jazz, plus a kickoff show on Thursday, and on Saturday and Sunday is running sightseeing cruises of Lake Norman with musicians playing onboard. Cruises, which are limited to 100 people each, are included in the price of a weekend pass, and go quickly.

TBA. 2016 lineup included Spyro Gyra, Steve Cole, Chuck Loeb, and 12 more.

Festival site: Queens Landing

6 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cruises 11 a.m.

Three-day pass: general admission $150, premium seating $180.
Daily: general admission $55, premium seating $65.
Table of four weekend pass (includes one cruise, premium seating in addition to table): $1,000.

Seating, cash bar and food sales provided; no lawn chairs, coolers, tents or umbrellas.

April 8    Live & Local: Earth Day 2017 - Raleigh

The City of Raleigh's Earth Day celebration features four stages with a slate of performances by a diverse range of local musicians, plus environmental workshops, craft beer, food trucks, a kids' zone that includes bouncy houses and a crafts station, and more. Admission is free.

TBA. 2016 lineup included John Dee Holeman, The Love Language, Katelyn Read and nine more.

Festival site: Compiegne Park

Noon to 8:30 p.m.

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

April 8    Beach Fest - Selma

The Farm, a special events venue just off of I95, puts on a day of top-line beach music each spring. It is in its fourth year in 2017.

Jim Quick and Coastline, Band of Oz, The Embers, Hip Pocket.

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."

April 14 - 15    Phuzz Phest - Winston-Salem

The evening, mostly indoor, festival in downtown Winston-Salem presents about 50 genre-spanning acts ranging from nationally known acts to locals from Winston-Salem and greater North Carolina. The festival also presents a community bike ride, yoga in the park, a film screening in conjunction with the RiverRun International Film Festival, and more. Phuzz Phest is in its seventh year in 2017.

TBA. 2016 lineup included Shirlette Ammons, Skylar Gudasz, Neon Indian, Chairlift, and 46 more.

Festival site: The Millennium Center and seven other venues

7 p.m. to about 1 a.m.

Two-day pass: $60.
Daily: $35.

A few venues are for ages 21 and older.

April 15    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 a kids' zone. 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.

TBA. 2016 lineup was Front Country, Fireside Collective, Old Habits, The Moore Brothers, TreeHouse!.

Festival site: W. Davie Street

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Noon to 6 p.m.

$5, younger than 11 free.

April 17 - 23    Southport Songwriter Festival - Southport

The ScreenDoor Songwriter Alliance puts on the week-long festival to celebrate local, regional and national songwriters and original music by providing educational workshops and events for songwriters, as well as concerts for the public. The festival is in its third year in 2017.

TBA. 2016 lineup included Missy Raines and the New Hip, Jeanette Williams Band with Johnny Williams, Claire Lynch and Bryan McDowell, and 40 more.

Festival site: Downtown Southport (multiple venues)

Shows at various times (website at link above has schedule).

Full access pass: $100.
Individual show prices range from $40 to $15, and a free kids' show Sunday.

April 21 - 23    NC Disc Jam - Mebane

The weekend is primarily a gathering for disc golfers, with tournaments and open play on "a challenging and scenic 18-hole disc golf course on site." There will also be live bands, open mic performances and jamming, as well as performance and visual artists and vendors, and a kids' booth with creative activities and toys. The festival, which debuted in 2015, is put on by the producers of July's The Big What?

TBA. 2016 lineup included The Travers Brothership, Dr. Bacon, Apples and Airplanes, Sky Blew, and eight more.

Festival site: Lynch Farm

Gates open noon Friday.

Weekend pass (includes camping): $28 early bird (including all handling fees); later prices TBA.

Onsite registration for disc golf tournaments will require additional fees.

April 22    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 fifth year in 2017.

Slate Mountain Ramblers, Strictly Strings, The Trailblazers, ShadowGrass, Madison Elmore, Danny Wicker, Carolina Express, Alexander Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM).

Festival site: Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area

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

Free admission.

April 23    Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival - Kure Beach


The October 2016 Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival (a two-day festival) was postponed until April 23 because of Hurricane Matthew.

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.

Blues Stage: Jonny Lang, Samantha Fish, Kara Grainger, David Gerald, Luxuriant Sedans, Snake Malone and the Black Cat Bone.
Jazz Stage: Benny Hill Trio, Nina Repeta, Max Levy and the Hawaiian Shirts, Nita B and Her Soiree, Nelson and the Rock-a-fellas, Lynne and the Waves.

Festival site: Fort Fisher Air Force Recreational Area

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Begins 11:30 a.m.

$50 in advance, $60 at gate.
Younger than 13 free.

Tickets are limited; when held in October this event tends to sell out.

April 27 - 30    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: Leftover Salmon, Tift Merritt, Jorma Kaukonen, Donna the Buffalo, John Driskell Hopkins.

Avett Brothers, Zac Brown Band, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Del McCoury Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Scythian, Sarah Jarosz, The Steel Wheels, The Kruger Brothers, Mipso, I Draw Slow, Jim Lauderdale, Mandolin Orange, Sierra Hull, Chatham County Line Electric Holiday, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Mountain Heart, Bryan Sutton Band, Mitch Greenhill, The Waybacks, John Doyle, Jim Avett, David Holt, Pete and Joan Wernick, T. Michael Coleman, Banknotes, Roy Bookbinder, Andy May, Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, Claire Lynch, Wayne Henderson, The Contenders, Happy Traum, The Stray Birds, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Carol Rifkin and Jeanette Queen, 10 String Symphony, Laura Boosinger and the Midnight Plowboys, Locust Honey String Band, The Bluegrass Experience, Pat Donohue, Steve James, Tony Williamson, Ed Snodderly, Mark Bumgarner, String Madness with Mitch Greenhill, The Local Boys, The WBT Briarhoppers, Todd Albright, Megan Nash, Ken Tizzard, Joe Smothers, Charles Welch, Bob Hill, Andy Buckner, Bill Mathis, Mark “Brink” Brinkman, The Gravy Boys, Steve and Ruth Smith, Bethel University Renaissance Bluegrass Band, Eric Ellis, Scott Freeman, The BattleAxe Band, Uncle Ted White, Lydia Luce, Counterclockwise String Band, Dear Brother, The Hook and Bullet, Nate Harris and Spice Creek Ramblers, Shadow Grass, Surry Line, The Trailblazers, Uncle Je and the Shady Rest, Virgil Harden and the Appalachian Countdown, Swift Creek, Roanoke, J.P. Cormier, Flando Clarissian, Front Country, Pat McInerney, The Greengrass Cloggers and Strictly Strings, The InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Alberti Flea Circus, more.

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 28 - 29    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 added a September festival in 2015.

Friday: Telluride, Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys, Highway 58, Three Rivers Band, The Boys from Carolina.
Saturday: Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys, Constant Change, Sideline, Steady Drive, Damascus Ridge.

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: $35.
Daily: $20.

Camping package: $170 for two nights and two tickets for each day; additional people $35 each for two days; extra nights $50.
"Dry" camping is free.

April 28 - 30    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 more than 20 performances on six indoor music venues.

George Clinton, Revive Big Band, Rakim, Christian Scott, Goldlink, JMSN, Just Blaze, Kenneth Whalum, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill, Matthew Stevens, Nao, RC and the Gritz, Shaun Martin, Sputnik, Terrace Martin and the Polly Seeds, The Baylor Project, The Hamiltones, Theo Crocker.

Festival site: Carolina Theatre (map), 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.

All Access VIP (includes concert seats, club pass, hospitality lounge and Sunday brunch): $325.
Durm Flex pass until December 5 (includes Moogfest May 18-21): $249.
Two-day club pass: $115.

April 29    Triangle Beach Music Festival - Greenville

After 17 years in Garner (just southeast of Raleigh), the Triangle Beach Music Festival relocated to Greenville in 2016. The daylong show, which presents top beach music bands along with several food and drink vendors, is in its 19th year in 2017.

Jim Quick and Coastline, Blackwater Rhythm and Blues, Band of Oz, more TBA.

Festival site: Pitt County Fairgrounds

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

$20 in advance online, TBA at gate.

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

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