All The Best North Carolina Music Festivals


North Carolina has some of the best music in America, and its festival lineup is rich and diverse. There’s something for everyone here, whether they’re local or visiting the state. From beaches to mountains, and hip-hop to fiddle music, if you’re looking for music, you’ll find a festival to suit you.

For something different

Where can you see a competition involving fiddles, banjos, and guitars all in one place?

The Appalachian State Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, that’s where. This festival also has craftsmen and artists from the area who come to show off their wares. Fiddle music has a long history in North Carolina and the rest of Appalachia, so this is a good chance to see some authentic music in its natural habitat. The festival is held on the Appalachian State University campus and students are involved in its running and plan the entire event.

For nature-loving families

The LEAF Festival is also held on the grounds of a school, in this case, Black Mountain College. The mountains are a beautiful background to the art and culture that’s showcased alongside the music here. The festival is family friendly and encourages kids to get involved, with song, dance and art lessons and demonstrations. There’s plenty of hills for hiking and lakes to take a dip so even when not listening to music; patrons are sure to be entertained.

For the bluegrass enthusiast

For a delicious combo of barbecue, beers, and bluegrass music, the North Carolina Cuegrass Festival in Raleigh is the place to be. It’s a hyperlocal event, with bands from the area and the region joining local restaurant The Pit for food and fun. Attendees can expect bluegrass, roots, and Americana music. Craft beer joins the food from The Pit’s upscale menu, but the atmosphere is casual. This festival has been so well received that it’s added another stage for the massive crowds that usually show up.

For the hip-hop heads

It’s new, but the North Carolina Hip Hop Festival in Durham boasts that it’s the biggest hip-hop and R&B festival in the state. The venues range from small clubs in the downtown area to huge outdoor stages. There are also production seminars, panels, and more for those who want to dive deeper into the music. The artists range from acts from the past like Petey Pablo to lesser known North Carolina rappers like Ivy Monae. For those who want to go all out, there’s a VIP package. This includes a chauffeured limo service and private viewing areas as well as the ability to skip the lines. Bonus tip: check out the Hopscotch Festival for an even bigger selection of acts.

If you like your music with water added

The Carolina Beach Music Festival has been running for over 30 years and is one of the country’s oldest beach music festivals. Head down to the Carolina Beach boardwalk to experience rhythm and blues and rootsy Carolina Coast music. Attendees bring their chairs and towels and are even allowed to bring coolers full of drinks.

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