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

April 2015

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

April 9 - 11    Big Lick Bluegrass Festival - Oakboro

Like several other bluegrass festivals, most bands play afternoon and evening sets. Big Lick is in its 12th year in 2015.

Thursday: Open mic.
Friday: The Spinney Brothers, A Deeper Shade of Blue, Darrell Webb Band, Bethel University Renaissance Bluegrass Band.
Saturday: Joe Mullins, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, The Spinney Brothers, James King Band, Bethel University Renaissance Bluegrass Band.

Festival site: Big Lick Festival Park

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6 p.m.-until Thursday, 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Three-day pass: $50 before April 1, $73 afterward.
Thursday: $10, ages 12 to 16 $5, younger free.
Friday: $28, ages 12 to 16 $10, younger free.
Saturday: $33, ages 12 to 16 $10, younger free.
After 6 p.m. Saturday: $15.

Camping on-site with limited hookups.

April 10 - 11    BBQ Cook-Off & Bluegrass Jam - Asheville

It's mainly a barbecue competition, but live bluegrass and gospel - on Saturday - go down great with 'cue, and it's free. There are also a car show and kids' activities. The show is in its 10th year in 2015.

Buncombe Turnpike featuring Don Lewis, Whitewater Bluegrass Co., The Waymasters, Back Porch Bluegrass.

Festival site: Western North Carolina Farmers Market

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Noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

April 12    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 a festival and concert at the finish line afterward. There's also a health and fitness expo at the Raleigh Convention Center Friday and Saturday. 2015 is its second year in Raleigh.

Finish Line Concert: Smash Mouth, Honey and the 45s, Justin Trawick and the Common Good.
Race Course (in order along route): New Sweat, Shaw University Pep Band, Time Sawyer, Triangle Taiko, @Risk, Wakefield High School Band, August is Ours, String Peddlers, DJ Ace, McBros Band, Pork Chops and Ham Hocks, One Tribe, NCSU Pipe and Drums, 180 Years, Leeward Fate, DJ Wade Banner, Gypsy Drugstore, Backfence Band, DJ Dan, Flimsy, Last Call.

Festival site: Downtown Raleigh

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Race starts 7 a.m.; race course bands start from 7:05 to 8 a.m.; finish line show 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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

April 16 - 19    Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival - Silk Hope

The semiannual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance (see October schedule) presents an eclectic mix of music - from rock to jazz and Americana, Cajun and klezmer - on five stages. There are also musicians' competitions, art and craft vendors, food vendors, games, a drum circle, children's activities and more. Donna the Buffalo is the host band.Click on the photo for more information.

Donna the Buffalo, Dillon Fence, Billy Joe Shaver, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, Greg Humphreys Electric Trio, AJ Ghent, Lanzallamas, Willie Watson, Jim Lauderdale, Laurelyn Dossett, Preston Frank, Driftwood, MarchFourth!, Bombadil, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Bear Fox, The Honeycutters, Jimbo Mathus, Billy Strings and Don Julin, Music Maker Revue (Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen, Big Ron Hunter, John Dee Holeman, Lakota John, Ironing Board Sam, Bubba Norwood, Harvey Arnold and Max Drake), Bulltown Strutters, Big Fat Gap, New Revielle, Dr. Bacon, Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton, Tea Cup Gin, Five Points Rounders Rowdy Square Dance, Gasoline Stovemore, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Paperhand Puppet Intervention.
  Announced March 3: Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Orchesta GarDel, The London Souls, Big Mean Sound Machine, Chicken Wire Gang, Feufollet, Dub Addis, Muningu, Jimbo Mathus, Tim Wells, The Krektones, Roger Day, Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards, Freewheelin' Mamas, Tow3rs, Laila Nur, Ancient Cities, Jeremy Gilchrest, Bucket Brothers.

Festival site: Shakori Hills

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Four-day pass: adults $80 until December 31, $90 until March 3, $100 until April 15, $110 at gate; ages 13-15 $45 until February 24, then $55.
Thursday: $23 in advance, $28 at gate; ages 13-15 $14 at gate.
Friday: $33 in advance, $38 at gate; ages 13-15 $19 at gate.
Saturday: $43 in advance, $48 at gate; ages 13-15 $24 at gate.
Sunday: $23 in advance, $28 at gate; ages 13-15 $14 at gate.
Younger than 13: free.

Camping: Tents $15; RVs $60 in advance, $75 at gate. RV more that 25 feet long or a vehicle and trailer pays double.

April 17 - 19    Earth Day Jam - Salisbury

The music and arts festival is a fundraiser for the LandTrust of Central NC and Saving Grace Farm, and is meant to raise awareness about land preservation, conservation, recycling, energy efficiency, nutrition, local farming, and homesteading/sustainability. In addition to music there will be kids' activities, food, beer and wine, informational booths, local artists and vendors, and more. This was a one-day show in May in 2014.

Tim Reynolds and TR3, Dangermuffin, Big Daddy Love, The Lee Boys, Jeff Sipe Trio, Dark Water Rising, The David Blackmon Band, Jahman Brahman, Stolen Hearts, Coddle Creek, Camel City Collective, The Goodnight Brothers, Dirty Grass Soul, Neil Cribbs, Abe Reid and The Spikedrivers, Big Break, No.9 Coal, Extended Pleasures, Goof Troupe, Life Size, Elephant Convoy.

Festival site: Dusk Before Dawn Farm

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Noon to midnight.

Three-day pass: $40 through March 31, $45 in advance, $50 at gate.
Friday: $10.
Saturday: $25 through March 31, $30 in advance, $35 at gate.
Younger than 13 free.

Camping: included with weekend pass, $10 without if space is available.

No coolers in concert area.

April 18    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 locally brewed beer. Proceeds benefit the Junior League of Raleigh's BackPack Buddies, which is a food program for school kids. Click on the photo for more information.

Town Mountain, Billy Strings and Don Julian, Four Founders, The HillBenders, The Moore Brothers, Hank Sinatra.

Festival site: W. Davie Street

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Noon to 6 p.m.


April 23 - 25    Family Style Bluegrass Music Festival - Roxboro

Mike and Debbie Wilson, longtime partners with John Maness at the Bass Mountain Bluegrass Festival, carry on the tradition of family bluegrass shows at their own venue, and also present a May beach music festival.

Thursday: Feller and Hill, Lawson Creek Band, Spinney Brothers, Little Roy and Lizzy.
Friday: Marty Rabon and Full Circle, Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, James King Band, Nothin' Fancy, Darrell Webb Band.
Saturday: Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Commonwealth Bluegrass Band, Malpass Brothers, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Michelle Nixon and Drive.

Festival site: Willow Oak Park

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Noon to 10 p.m., with a supper break from 5 to 6 p.m. Bands play afternoon and evening sets.

Three-day pass: $65 before April 6, $75 afterward.
Thursday: $25.
Friday: $30.
Saturday: $30.
Ages 13 to 16 $15 per day with parent; younger than 13 free with parent.

Camping: "Open field" camping free with three-day ticket, primitive camping $5 per night. Limited number of sites with electricity are $20 per day or $100 for entire week; $25 per day at gate.

April 23 - 26    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.

Richard Watson, Dwight Yoakam, Avett Brothers, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Robert Earl Keen, North Mississippi Allstars, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Del McCoury Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Hot Rize, Lee Ann Womack, Trampled by Turtles, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Shannon Whitworth, The Gibson Brothers, Paul Thorn, Sam Bush Band, The Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian; Sutton, Holt and Coleman; Peter Rowan, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jim Lauderdale, Donna the Buffalo, Chatham County Line, Earls of Leicester, Willie Watson, Steel Wheels, Del Barber, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West, Blue Highway, Baillie and The Boys, The Spinney Brothers, The Larry Stephenson Band, The Honeycutters, The David Mayfield Parade, New Country Rehab, JohnnySwim, Jim Avett, Bob Hill, Blind Boy Paxton, Bill Mize, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Baskery, Andy May, Banknotes, The Two Man Gentlemen Band, The Stray Birds, The Ragbirds, The Jason Lee McKinney Band, The Honey Dewdrops, The Black Lillies, The Black Cadillacs, Roy Book Binder, Pete and Joan Wernick, Moore Brothers Band, Mipso, Mark Johnson, Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road Band, Logan Brill, Joe West and The Santa Fe Revue, Jesse and Noah Bellamy, Jeff Little, Jack Lawrence, Front Country, Emory Lester, Doug MacLeod, Carol Rifkin and Friends, Brandon Whyde and The Devil's Keep, Blu-Bop, Bill Mathis, William Ritter and Sarah Ogletree, Wayne Henderson, Veronika Jackson, Unspoken Tradition, Underhill Rose, Tut Taylor, Tony Williamson, ToneBlazers, Time Sawyer, The Sheets Family Band, The Local Boys, The InterACTive Theater of Jef, The Gravy Boys, Ted White, Steve and Ruth Smith, Sons Of The South Bluegrass Band, Mountain Park Old Time Band, Mitch Greenhill, Locust Honey String Band, Lee Bidgood, Laura Boosinger, Joe Smothers, Happy Traum, Glenn Bannerman, Farmer Jason, Charles Welch, Bobby Miller and The Virginia Dare Devils, Blue Ridge Heritage Cloggers, Bethel University Bluegrass Bands, BearWallow, Bayou Diesel, Whitewater Ramble, Bandit's Roost, BackPorch Bluegrass, 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 March 10, $260 after; row 36-49 $210 through March 10, $235 after.
Four-day general admission: $150 through March 10, $165 after.
Friday-Sunday general admission: $135 through March 10, $145 after.
Daily: $40 Thursday, $55 Friday, $60 Saturday, $45 Sunday.
Midnight Jam (Saturday in Walker Auditorium): $40.
Gold Patron Packages ($2,200) and Platinum Patron Packages ($2,600) 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 24 - 25    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. White Oak Shores added a September festival in 2015.

Friday: Spare Parts, Damascus Ridge, Ted Jones and Tarheel Boys, Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam, Boys From Carolina.
Saturday: Hwy 58, Burrows Brothers, Malpass Brothers, Al Batten, Carolina Tradition.

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 24 - 26    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 two outdoor stages and at five indoor music venues.

Friday: Robert Glasper Trio, Roy Ayers, Takuya Kurado, Kenny Garrett Quintet, Jesse Boykins III, Eve Cornelius, Moonchild, Kris Bowers, Carlitta Durand, Al Strong, Madd Satta, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
Saturday: Snarky Puppy, Marc Carey Rhodes Ahead Trio, BadBadNotGood, Butcher Brown, Ester Rada, Gretchen Paralto and Alan Hamilton Duo, The Beast, Sidewalk Chalk, Laura Reed, Ben Williams and Sound Effect, Anthony Hamilton, Maimouna Youseff (aka Mumu Fresh), Soul Understanding featuring Mavis "Swan" Poole.
Sunday: Avery Sunshine.

Festival site: Diamond View Park at American Tobacco Campus (map), Carolina Theatre and additional Durham venues

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Music starts 6:15 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday

Three-day pass: $260 (limited number with VIP access).
Two-day pass (Saturday and Sunday): $125.
Daily pass: TBA.

April 25    Triangle Beach Music Festival - Garner

The Triangle Beach Music Festival has been bringing top beach music acts to Garner each spring since 1999.

Band of Oz, Fantastic Shakers, Sleeping Booty, The Dickens.

Festival site: Bryan Farms

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Gates open 9:30 a.m., music starts at 10:30.

$25 in advance online, $35 at gate.

The festival accepts reservations (and fees) for pop-up tents.

April 25    Harmon Field Music Festival - Tryon

The fundraising event for Harmon Field presents local and regional artists. It began in 2014.

Honey and the Hot Rods, The Deadfields, Larry Hoskinson, 176, Diamond Bullet, Bayou Diesel, The Secret Band.

Festival site: Harmon Field

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Noon to 9 p.m.

$5 advance, $7 at gate.

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