It’s time to shake last year’s crumbs from the cup-holder of your camp chair and replenish your sunscreen supply, because summer music festivals are on the horizon. And you’ve got options.
Here are a few worth checking in within an hour and a half of Charlotte.
June 9-10, Fiddler’s Grove in Union Grove, N.C. (1 hour from Charlotte).
This two-day festival features more than 20 bands spanning genres, as well as visual art, vendors and workshops. Sojourn of Sparrows, Goodnight Brothers Band, Coddle Creek and Marvelous Funkshun are a few of the bands you’ll hear. Tickets (starting at $30) include primitive camping and parking.
June 20–July 1, Various Charlotte venues.
You actually won’t need your camp chair or sunscreen for this festival. Over the course of two weeks, innovative contemporary classical music will be showcased at varied venues around town, including Lenny Boy Brewing, Google Fiber Space, NoDa Brewing, UNC Charlotte’s Rowe Recital Hall, Morehead Tavern and Steinway Piano Gallery. Tickets are sold separately for each concert and range from free to $8.
July 22, 15300 Black Farms Road, Huntersville.
It’s the ninth year for Barnstock, which is a BYOB festival. What that means: You can bring your own alcohol, food, coolers and dogs. What you can’t bring is your underage pal. This festival is 21+ only. It’s a jam-packed day of music with more than 40 bands and musicians playing. The Mantras are headlining.
Aug. 4-5, Downtown Elkin, N.C. (1 hour 15 minutes from Charlotte).
Founded and organized by Charlotte folk/rock band Time Sawyer, Reevestock is in its seventh year. Always notable for its relaxed and comfortable setting — hammock chairs and swings abound, not to mention shade trees — the festival’s musical lineup is turning heads, too.
Genre-bending rock/blues/funk phenom The Marcus King Band is headlining, and joining the bill are the hard-driving bluegrass band Town Mountain, Charlotte’s own David Childers and the Serpents, and Time Sawyer, along with William Wild and the Corey Hunt Band. A free festival kick-off party Friday night in downtown Elkin features live music from a host of other artists. Tickets start at $15.
Sept. 2-3, Oak Hollow Festival Park, 1841 Eastchester Dr., High Point (1 hour 15 minutes from Charlotte).
High Point has a legitimate claim on jazz legend John Coltrane, who grew up there. He’s commemorated with an 8-foot-tall bronze statue in downtown Coltrane Plaza, and the annual Labor Day Weekend festival that bears his name. Branford Marsalis and Spyro Gyra are among the artists this year. Tickets start at $65.
Sept. 8-10, Downtown Greensboro (1 hour 30 minutes from Charlotte).
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If you like world music, and you missed the National Folk Festival last year, don’t miss it this year. The festival, which is celebrating its 77th year, moves around, settling in at one location for three years, and this is its final year in Greensboro. It’s a huge event, with music ranging from Tuvan throat-singing to Chinese string ensembles to classic country to Chicago blues. You are guaranteed to find something you didn’t know existed. The festival also features parades, dancing, storytelling, kids’ activities and demonstrations. Oh, and it’s free.
Sept. 22-23, Downtown Wilkesboro (1 hour 30 minutes from Charlotte).
You can think of this festival as a way to get your Merlefest fix while you wait for next April. Held in downtown Wilkesboro, it features bluegrass, roots and Americana artists like the Kruger Brothers (who host the festival), Ricky Skaggs, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, The Black Lillies and about 21 more bands and artists. A highlight is the one-time-only collaborations that take place during the nightly Carolina Jam sessions. Tickets start at $45.
Sept. 29-30, VanHoy Farms, 742 Jericho Road, Harmony, N.C. (1 hour from Charlotte).
One hundred percent of the proceeds from this music and food festival benefit Carolina Farm Trust, which helps North Carolina farmers. The bands are from North and South Carolina, and run the gamut from folk and Americana to blues and funk. A few of the artists are Susto, Acoustic Syndicate, The Paper Crowns and Ellis Dyson & the Shambles. Charlotte artists Sinners & Saints, Time Sawyer, Groove 8 and Amigo are also among the performers. Tickets start at $35.