Carolina Regional Music Festival Guide

 By Jacob Heyerly

Photo: Roger Gupta 

April 3, 2018 (updated 7/5/2018)

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 festivals:

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

Soulshine Farm Music Festival

August 9-11, 2018 – Green Mountain, NC

The Larry Keel Experience, Town Mountain, Particle, Love Canon, Broccoli Samurai, Malcolm Holcombe, Empire Strikes Brass, and more.

BIG Something presents: The BIG What?

August 16-18, 2018 – Shakori Hills, NC

Big Something, SunSquabi, TAUK, Cory Wong, Consider The Source, Mister, Funk You, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, 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.

Jam In The Trees 

August 24-25, 2018 – Black Mountain, NC

The Travelin’ McCourys, Shooter Jennings, Jim Lauderdale, The Steel Wheels, Elizabeth Cook, Jerry Douglas, The Stray Birds, and more.

Hopscotch Music Festival

September 6-8, 2018 – Raleigh, NC

The Flaming Lips, Miguel, Nile Rogers & Chic, Grizzly Bear, Liz Phair, Vic Mensa, Thundercat, Real Estate, DVSN, Moses Sumney, MC50, The Revolution, Waxahatchee, Julie Byrne, Speedy Ortiz, Ought, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, The Love Language, Michael Rault, and more.

Mountain Song Festival 

September 7-9, 2018 – Brevard, NC

Robert Earl Keen, Taj Mahal Trio, Pokey LaFarge, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fireside Collective, and more.

One MusicFest

September 8-9, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Nas, Miguel, T.I. Jeezy, Big Sean, BIG K.R.I.T., Goldlink, Rapsody, Cardi B, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, August Greene, Brandy, DVSN, Kelis, 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.

Dreamville Music Festival 

September 15, 2018 – Raleigh, NC

J. Cole (Lineup TBA)

Music Midtown

September 15-16, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, Portugal. The Man, Post Malone, Gucci Mane, Kacey Musgraves, Sylvan Esso, Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy, Khalid, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Revivalists, Foster The People, First Aid Kit, Billie Eilish, Twin Shadow, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Maggie Rogers, The Aces, and more.

Imagine Music Festival

September 21-23, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Bassnectar, Armin van Buuren, Kaskade, Alesso, Galantis, RL Grime, Zeds Dead, Adventure Club, 12th Planet, Bear Grillz, and more.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 

September 21-23, 2018 – Bristol, VA

Taj Mahal Trio, Marcus King Band, Twin Peaks, Barns Courtney, Mt. Joy, Old 97’s, The War & Treaty, Acoustic Syndicate, Ancient Cities, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Railroad Earth, The New Familiars, and more.

Pilgrimage Music Festival

September 22-23, 2018 – Franklin, TN

Jack White, Chris Stapleton, Lord Huron, Counting Crows, Bleachers, Dawes, Maggie Rogers, Valerie June, The Struts, Elle King, Pete Yarn, John Moreland, and more.

Art of Cool Music Festival

September 28-29, 2018 – Durham, NC

Nas, Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, 9th Wonder, Royce Da 5’9″, Damien Escobar, Dwele, Sons of Kemet, Iman Omari, Sango, and more.

Devils Backbone Hoopla

September 28-30, 2018 – Roseland, VA

Rayland Baxter, Tyler Childers, Larry Keel, Shook and the Disarmers, Ghost Of Paul Revere Alwyn Robinson, Cris Jacobs Band, Al Al Ingram, The Trongone Band, and more.

The Festy Experience

October 5-7, 2018 – Arrington, VA

Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Della Mae, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rubblebucket, Sons of Bill, The Hackensaw Boys, and more.

A3C Hip Hop Festival 

October 6-7, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Wu-Tang Clan, The Diplomats, Lil Wayne, Talib Kweli, Trina, J.I.D, Lute, Curren$y, PRhyme, Manny Fresh, Young M.A, Saweetie, and more.


Breakaway Music Festival 

October 12-13, 2018 – Charlotte, NC

GRiZ, Lil Skies, Louis The Child, Lil Skies, Hoodie Allen, Machine Gun Kelly, NGHTMRE, 3LAU, Styles & Complete, and more.

Afropunk Atlanta

October 13-14, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

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

REI Outessafest

October 20, 2018 – Pittsboro, NC

Mavis Staples, Pvris, Seratones, Bat Fangs, Mary Lambert, Bibi McGill, H.C. McEntire, S.E. Ward, and Mirna Valerio

*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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