Carolina Regional Music Festival Guide

 By Jacob Heyerly

Photo: High Water Music Fest

April 3, 2018

As festival season approaches, we decided to take a look at some of the festivals within an easy day’s drive from our home here in Charlotte. Don’t feel like booking that flight and carrying all of that extra luggage? Don’t feel like arguing with your friends for two days on that road trip to Coachella? We’ve got you covered.

Some of these regional festivals offer an escape from the usual large crowds, overpriced food and drinks, and outrageous ticket prices. In addition, many of them boast pretty impressive lineups. Rock fans will enjoy Shaky Knees in Atlanta with big headlining artists like Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, The National, and many more. Hip-hop, R&B, and jazz enthusiasts might want to check out the Art of Cool Music Festival in Durham with a revamped brand and impressive duo of Nas and Erykah Badu topping the bill.

Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina

Fans of traditional appalachian music, plus a variety of other genres including americana, country, and blues will enjoy the long-standing Merlefest dedicated to performances of “traditional-plus” music in memory of Doc Watson’s late son, Eddy Merle Watson. Whether you choose to pay homage to Appalachian roots, or decide to eat, sleep, rock, and repeat at Hopscotch, or anything in-between, you’ll have a good time.

Here’s a list of some great regional music festival:

*Click on the festival for more info. We’ll be updating this list weekly*



Tuck Fest

April 19-22, 2018 – Charlotte, NC

Shakey Graves, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, Deer Tick, SUSTO, John Moreland, The Ghost of Paul Revere, Driftwood, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Walden, and Elonzo Wesley.

SweetWater 420 Fest

April 20-22, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Sturgill Simpson, Tedeschi Trucks, The String Cheese Incident, Vulfpeck, Ghostland Observatory, Umphrey’s McGee, and more.

High Water Festival

April 21-22, 2018 – North Charleston, SC

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Band of Horses, Shovels & Rope, Brandi Carlile, Jeff Tweedy, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Shakey Graves, M. Ward, Susto, Valerie June.


April 26-29, 2018 – Wilkesboro, NC

Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, Rhiannon Giddens, Jim Lauderdale, Town Mountain, Donna The Buffalo.

Spring Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival

May 3-6, 2018 – Pittsboro, NC

Steve Earl and The Dukes, Rising Appalachia, Chicano Batman, Ibibo Sound Machine, Donna The Buffalo, Driftwood, and more.

Shaky Knees Music Festival *Giveaway*

May 4-6, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Jack White, The National, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Cake, Vance Joy, The Distillers, Tenacious D, Japandroids, Manchester Orchestra, Lord Huron, Jimmy Eat World, Alvvays, Parquet Courts, Bully, Andrew W.K,  and more.

Carolina Rebellion

May 4-6, 2018 – Concord, NC

Alice in Chains, Muse, Queens of The Stone Age, Incubus, Billy Idol, Shinedown, Stone Temple Pilots, Andrew W.K., Bullet for My Valentine, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, and more.

Trondossa Music Festival

May 5-6, 2018 – North Charleston, SC

Widespread Panic, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Moon Taxi, Hiss Golden Messenger, Big Something, and more.

LEAF Festival

May 10-13, 2018 – Black Mountain, NC

Snarky Puppy, Ani DiFranco, Rising Appalachia, Samantha Fish, The Suffers, Bokante, and more.

North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival

May 11-12, 2018 – Huntersville, NC

Leftover Salmon, Acoustic Syndicate, Chatham County Line, The Josh Daniels/Mark Schimick Project, The Larry Keel Experience, Cicada Rhythm, Anabelle’s Curse, and more.

Shaky Beats Music Festival

May 11-13, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Kygo, Marshmello, Zedd, Excision, Dillon Francis, Ludacris, Playboi Carti, G Jones, and more.


May 17-20, 2018 – Durham, NC

Kelela, KRS-One, Jamila Woods, Mouse On Mars, Chelsea Manning, Jon Hopkins, J Rocc, Jenny Hval, Shabazz Palaces, Honey Dijon, Torres, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and more.

Rooster Walk

May 24-27, 2018 – Axton, VA

The Wood Brothers, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Marcus King Band, JJ Grey & Mofro, Billy Strings, Tauk, Dangermuffin, Zack Deputy, and more.

Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que

May 25-26, 2018 – Evans, GA

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Infamous Stringdusters, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Front Country, and more.

Gears and Guitars

May 25-28, 2018 – Winston-Salem, NC

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Blues Traveler, Cold War Kids, Colony House, Amanda Shires, Soul Asylum, Charley Crockett, and Matthew Sweet.

Outlaw Music Festival 

May 26, 2018 – Charlotte, NC

Willie Nelson & Family, Sturgill Simpson, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Brandi Carlile, and more.

Mountain Music Festival

May 31-June 2, 2018 – Oak Hill, WV

Umphrey’s McGee, Perpetual Groove, Big Something, The Fritz, Pimps of Joytime, Dr. Slothclaw, Aqueous, and more.


June 7-10, 2018 – Manchester, TN

Eminem, The Killers, Bon Iver, Anderson .Paak, Brockhampton, Sturgill Simpson, Broken Social Scene, Bassnectar, Sylvan Esso, Daniel Caesar, Kali Uchis, Manchester Orchestra, Playboi Carti, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Mavis Staples, Chic (feat. Nile Rodgers), First Aid Kit, Mr. Carmack, Japanese Breakfast, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Kali Uchis, and more.

Cold Mountain Music Festival

June 8-9, 2018 – Canton, NC

Shovels and Rope, Mandolin Orange, River Whyless, The Steel Wheels, Jon Stickley Trio, The Broadcast, Kenny George Band, and more.


July 25-29, 2018 – Floyd, VA

Foster The People, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, ZZ Ward, Hiss Golden Messenger, Greta Van Fleet, Leftover Salmon, Nikki Lane, Langhorne Slim, Antibalas, and more.


August 23-26, 2018 – Arrington, VA

Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Sheryl Crow, The Suffers, Blues Traveller, Lettuce, and more.

Moon River Music Festival

September 8-9, 2018 – Chattanooga, TN

The Avett Brothers, The Head and the Heart, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Judah & The Lion, Margo Price, Mavis Staples, Trampled by Turtles, Durand Jones and the Indications, Joseph, and more.

Hopscotch Music Festival

TBD – Raleigh, NC

Art of Cool Music Festival

September 28-29, 2018 – Durham, NC

Nas, Erykah Badu, Sons of Kemet, Iman Omari, Sango, and Damien Escobar.

Afropunk Atlanta

October 13-14, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

N.E.R.D., The Internet, Benjamin Booker, Noname, Yves Tumor, and more.

*We’ll be updating this list weekly, and giving away several festival passes in 2018. Be sure to check back, share and sign up for our newsletter for updates!*

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