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Festival Guide 2019: Do Your Fest

100+ Essential Blue Ridge Festivals

Call your friends, grab tickets, and get ready to go. Within our yearly guide of more than 100 Blue Ridge festivals we’ve highlighted outdoor galas for all interests, bringing you the nitty gritty on the region’s best experiences in music, craft beer, art, and adventure.

Virginia Creeper Fest 

Abingdon, Va. April 27

Celebrate Virginia’s beloved 34-mile rail trail with a full day of fun, featuring live music, food trucks, local beer and wine, and plenty of recreation opportunities, including bike rides, yoga, and kayak and SUP clinics.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance

Silk Hope, N.C. May 2-5

Roots mainstay Donna the Buffalo hosts this longstanding family-friendly fest on a 75-acre farm near the main cities of the North Carolina Triangle. Headliners include Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Turkuaz, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. A fall version also takes place October 3-6.

Beale Street Music Festival

Memphis, Tenn. May 3-5

Sounds ring through the streets of this historic musical city. This year Beale Street’s line-up features sets by Dave Matthews Band, the Killers, and Cardi B. 

Shaky Knees Music Festival

Atlanta, Ga. May 3-5

Atlanta’s eclectic rock throwdown at Central Park hosts big names including Beck, Tame Impala, Cage the Elephant, Gary Clark, Jr., and Maggie Rogers.

Best River Fest

French Broad River Festival

Hot Springs, N.C. May 3-5

This mainstay regional festival was started more than two decades ago by a group of local western North Carolina boaters with great taste in music. In its 20-plus years the paddler party has remained one of the region’s favorite low-key fests, staying relatively intimate at the Hot Springs Campground but featuring an impressive line-up of roots music and plenty of chances to play on the river. Best of all, it’s a party with a purpose: Through the years the fest has raised boatloads of cash for river access protector American Whitewater and a handful of other local charities. 

This year catch sets by Doom Flamingo, Acoustic Syndicate, Sol Driven Train, and Alanna Royale. Also, enlist some friends for the French Broad River Raft Race, a nine-mile, class I-IV run that boasts distinction as the biggest mass start raft race in the Southeast.


Berkeley Springs, W.Va. May 3-5

Groove into spring with this fun little fest that takes place at Sleepy Creek on the Potomac. Acts on the bill include Jeff Austin Band, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Jon Stickley Trio, and Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon. 

Cheat River Festival

Albright, W.Va. May 3-4

This big annual waterfront party is filled with arts, boating, bluegrass, food, and fun, all to support the Cheat River watershed. Paddle in the Downriver Race, run a 5K, and catch tunes by Vince Herman and the Hillbilly Gypsies.

Blues, Brews & BBQ

Yorktown, Va. May 4

Enjoy a sweet spring day filled with full plates of BBQ, more than two dozen craft beers poured by local breweries, and tunes by some of the best blues players in Hampton Roads. 

Untappd Beer Festival

Charlotte, N.C. May 4

Approximately 150 breweries from across the country will bring their best liquids to Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium for this huge beer fest, hosted by the North Carolina-based beer networking app Untappd.

Best MultiCultural Experience


Black Mountain, N.C. May 9-12

LEAF celebrates arts and cultures from around the world. Twice a year, in the shadow of Mt. Mitchell, traditions from around the world are represented through interactive exhibits, activities, food, and especially music. Well-known headliners like Shovels & Rope, India.Arie, Trevor Hall, and Larkin Poe will play alongside artists covering African roots sounds and experimental dance movements. Beyond the tunes, LEAF is designed to be interactive with more than 50 healing arts workshops on a range of topics from yoga and holistic health to permaculture and ancient earth skills. In addition to the festival’s annual fall return (October 17-20) to Camp Rockmont, organizers will also host LEAF Downtown AVL at Asheville’s Pack Square Park on August 2-3.

Shaky Beats Music Festival

Atlanta, Ga. May 10-11

EDM and hip-hop sounds will be blaring throughout Atlanta’s picturesque Central Park. Topping the bill: Rufus Du Sol, Big Gigantic, Martin Garrix, and Galantis. 

North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival

Huntersville, N.C. May 10-11

High-energy bluegrass bands will be picking and nearly three-dozen inventive craft breweries will be pouring at this popular event on Huntersville’s historic Rural Hill. Acts on the bill: The Infamous Stringdusters, Donna the Buffalo, Scythian, and River Whyless.

Aiken Bluegrass Festival

Aiken, S.C. May 10-11

Aiken continues to up the ante at this annual progressive bluegrass bash. This year catch soaring string jams from Del McCoury Band, Keller and the Keels, Billy Strings, and many more.

Maryland Craft Beer Festival

Frederick, Md. May 11

Forty breweries will be pouring more than 200 different beers—all made in the great state of Maryland.


Masontown, W.Va. May 16-18

Jam outfit Pigeons Playing Ping Pong hosts this three-day festival at Marvin’s Mountaintop. Additional acts include Aqueous, the Magic Beans, and Litz.

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival

Gettysburg, Pa. May 16-19

This festival, serious about traditional bluegrass, celebrates its 78th running with Steep Canyon Rangers, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and Balsam Range. 

Dominion Riverrock

Richmond, Va. May 17-19

Held on the banks of the James River in downtown Richmond, Riverrock is a huge outdoor sports and music festival featuring plenty of opportunities to play and groove. Run the James River Scramble 10K, ride the MTB time trial, send a rock wall, and catch sets by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Billy Strings.

Best Trail Party

Trail Days

Damascus, Va. May 17-19

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all interests, Trail Days is a must-do festival. Since 1987, the sleepy Virginia town of Damascus has hosted this wild party, which acts as a big family reunion for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers from different generations. Every year approximately 20,000 people descend on “Trail Town, USA” to trade boot-worn stories by bonfire, dress up in crazy costumes and march in a parade, check out a variety of gear booths, and get rowdy at the campgrounds in the evenings. The fest also features films, talks, and presentations by A.T. legends of yesteryear, live music from regional roots acts, and plenty of displays of Trail Magic—with locals providing food and gear repairs for hikers currently on the A.T.

Hangout Music Festival

Gulf Shores, Ala. May 16-19

Dance with the sand between your toes to the sounds of Travis Scott, the Lumineers, Khalid, Vampire Weekend and many more at this big bash on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Songsmith Gathering

Brevard, N.C. May 18 

Returning for a second year, this emerging day festival celebrates the skill of songwriting with performances by some of the best in the business. David Crosby headlines with additional sets by Hush Kids, Sarah Siskind, the Suitcase Junket, and Erin Rae. 

Dr. Ralph Stanley’s 49th Annual Hills of Home Festival

Coeburn, Va. • May 23-25

A Memorial Day weekend tradition, Ralph Stanley II leads his legendary late father’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, at this bluegrass festival at the Stanley old home place in southwest Virginia.

RoosterWalk Music & Arts Festival

Axton, Va. May 23-26

Excellent for all ages, RoosterWalk is an intimate roots and jam-based gala held on an idyllic farm near Martinsville that features a top-notch line-up of national acts in a setting that’s friendly for the whole family. Bands this year: Galactic, Shovels & Rope, and the Marcus King Band. Don’t miss the latter’s special collaboration with bluegrass phenom Billy Strings, dubbed Kings and Strings.

Papa Joe’s BanjoBQue Music Festival

Augusta, Ga. May 24-25

This growing festival, now at Lake Olmstead Park, features a serious BBQ cook-off, an impressive line-up of craft beer, and killer tunes from Greensky Bluegrass, Old Crow Medicine Show, Leftover Salmon, Deer Tick, and the Infamous Stringdusters—all to honor the late Joe Pond and his love of ‘cue and bluegrass.

Best in Bluegrass


Cumberland, Md. May 23-26

DelFest honors living bluegrass legend Del McCoury—once a member of genre founder Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys—who turned 80 this year. Del and his band headline the festival in the scenic Potomac River Valley of western Maryland with help from a generation-spanning line-up of top-notch pickers, this year featuring Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, and Sierra Hull. To avoid string overload, organizers also added some Americana and psychedelic rock into the mix, including the String Cheese Incident, Marcus King, and Tyler Childers. 

Long Creek Music Festival

Long Creek, S.C. May 24-26

If you like low-key music festivals, escape to South Carolina’s Sumter National Forest and catch tunes at the Chattooga River Resort & Campground.

Ole Time Fiddler’s & Bluegrass Festival

Union Grove, N.C. May 24-26

Approaching its 96th year, the longest running fiddler’s convention in North America will once again feature the most authentic pickers in the mountains.

White Squirrel Festival

Brevard, N.C. May 24-26

This fun street festival in Brevard will feature live tunes from Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds and Chatham Rabbits, as well as a parade and 10K/5K run.

Virginia Trail Festival

Stokesville, Va. May 24-27

Fat tire freaks from around the region come together for a big hang at Stokesville Campground throughout a long weekend that includes some epic rides during the day and kicking back by campfires with fat-tire-loving friends at night.

Gears and Guitars Festival

Winston-Salem, N.C. May 23-26

Held in conjunction with the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, this growing festival features four days of music and family fun at Bailey Park. This year the band line-up features Stone Temple Pilots, Drive-By Truckers, North Mississippi Allstars, and Trampled by Turtles.

Graves Mountain Festival of Music

Syria, Va. May 30–June 1

Fans of the High Lonesome Sound flock to Graves Mountain Lodge, set near Shenandoah National Park, to enjoy a packed line-up of world-class pickers. This annual event offers a peaceful festival experience—the chance to sit and watch some of the best in bluegrass on a stage near a flowing creek with the Virginia Blue Ridge in the background. This year’s line-up: Mo Pitney, J.D. Crowe & the New South, and the Lonesome River Band.

Cold Mountain Music Festival

Lake Logan  Canton, N.C. • May 31–June 1

Now expanded to two days, this fest features a rock solid line-up of tunes on a gorgeous 300-acre property surrounded by the Shining Rock Wilderness. Catch sets by the Milk Carton Kids, Calexico, Yonder Mountain String Band, and J.S. Ondara. 

Mountain Music Festival

Oak Hill, W.Va. May 30–June 2

ACE Adventure Resort hosts this fest that mixes music and adventure, pairing a deep roster of jam bands with access to world-class whitewater and a top-notch trail network in West Virginia’s New River Gorge. Ride, paddle, and listen to sounds from a stacked line-up that includes Tyler Childers, the Floozies, Big Something, and the Werks.

Nelsonville Music Festival

Nelsonville, Ohio June 6-9

With big names and small-town charm, this festival takes place in the hills of southeast Ohio on the campus of Hocking College. Bands: Death Cab for Cutie, Mavis Staples, the Breeders, Tyler Childers, and Mandolin Orange.

Woodstock in the Gap

Hillsboro, Va. • June 7-8

Take a step back in time at this two-day event at Old Stone School and celebrate 50 years of peace and love with groovy music, movies, craft beer, local food and artisan vendors.

Spoleto Festival USA

Charleston, S.C. May 24-June 9

Late spring is a great time to be in Charleston, as the Spoleto Festival fills the historic city’s theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with a variety of music, dance, theater, and visual arts.

Beer City Festival

Asheville, N.C. June 1

The culminating event of Asheville Beer Week (May 24-June 1;, this festival at Roger McGuire Green features a couple thousand craft beer fans tasting the goods from 30 breweries while soaking up some great local music.

Carolina Country Music Festival

Myrtle Beach, S.C. June 6-9

Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, and Dierks Bentley lead this huge country bash on the beach. 

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Manchester, Tenn. June 13-16

The pace setter for the current explosion of multi-band mega fests that have popped up across North America and beyond, Bonnaroo brings tens of thousands of music fans to a 700-acre farm in the middle of Tennessee for an eclectic, high-profile musical marathon. This year the festival is covering everything from hip-hop and electronica to indie rock and Americana. Top billing goes to Phish, Childish Gambino, the Lumineers, and Kacey Musgraves.

The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming

Southwest Virginia June 7-15

Appalachian roots run deep at this nine-day celebration of bluegrass and traditional mountain music, which features more than 25 concerts and 70 cultural experiences around southwest Virginia.


Galax, Va. June 7-8

Big names in bluegrass perform at this growing festival at Felt’s Park that was created to honor the late Houston Caldwell. Acts include Shenandoah, Dailey & Vincent, and EmiSunshine.

W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival

Henderson, Ky. • June 12-15

Grab a plate, then groove to some of the best blues artists in the country at this festival that’s been jumping for more than a quarter century. Legends representing sounds from the Delta to the hill country to the city will take the stage at the scenic Audubon Mill Park on the Ohio River. 

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp

Mills River, N.C. June 8

It doesn’t get much more fun than day camp for beer-loving adults. Sip special Sierra Nevada beers created just for the event, and  then challenge your friends to rounds of keg bowling, human foosball, and obstacle course races. 

Firefly Gathering

Mills River, N.C. June 13-16

Taking place at Deerfields in Mills River, the largest primitive skills gathering in the country features a long weekend of outdoor discovery. At Firefly you can connect with your natural surroundings through classes and workshops in homesteading, survivalism, plant identification, and much more.

Atlanta Summer Beer Festival

Atlanta, Ga. June 15

Craft goodness will be flowing at Historic 4th Ward Park at this annual event featuring more than 150 different beers from breweries based in Georgia and beyond.

Hops in the Hills Craft Beer Festival

Maryville, Tenn. June 21-22

Craft breweries from the South and beyond will be pouring their best beers at this annual festival in Maryville. You can also nosh on local food offerings and play games like giant beer pong and cornhole. 

Williamsburg Live

Williamsburg, Va. June 21-22

Norah Jones and Emmylou Harris lead the line-up at this new gala at the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg with help from Mandolin Orange and Parker Millsap.

ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival

Owensboro, Ky. June 26-29

ROMP bridges generations of bluegrass musicians, mixing seasoned veterans like Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs with progressive string favorites including Trampled by Turtles and Billy Strings.

Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival

New Martinsville, W.Va. June 28-30

A big-time bluegrass and roots music bash takes place over three days in the Mountain State. Catch sets by the Allman Betts Band, Travelin’ McCourys, Jeff Austin Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and Billy Strings. 

Bayou Boogaloo Music & Cajun Food Festival

Norfolk, Va. June 28-30

The sounds and eats of New Orleans come to the Norfolk waterfront. Enjoy your fill of crawdads, jambalaya, po’ boys, and beignets, as well as some of the best bands coming out of the Crescent City, including the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk. 

Avery County Wine & Beer Festival

Banner Elk, N.C. June 29

Taste the best of the High Country and surrounding areas at Sorrento’s Dining Complex in Banner Elk.

Festival for the Eno

Durham, N.C. July 4 and 6

This annual event at Durham City Park features over 70 bands on four stages, along with great food and art—a big celebration of the great Eno River. Line-up TBA.

4848 Festival

Snowshoe, W.Va. July 11-13

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is the place to be for this new jam bash with a deep line-up that includes Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, the Infamous Stringdusters, Lettuce, and Railroad Earth. 

Best Family Jam

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Mount Solon, Va. July 12-14

Virginia string band the Steel Wheels host this annual gathering at Natural Chimneys Park in the Shenandoah Valley. The line-up is always impressive, featuring a full slate of Americana and bluegrass heroes, and the atmosphere is intimate and friendly, meaning parents can feel good about bringing little ones to the party. The festival’s two main stages are within sight of each other, and the entire grounds are configured into a close-knit village, making everything—vendors, beer garden, local food booths—always easy to access. This year grownups can dig the sounds of Mandolin Orange, the Wood Brothers, and First Aid Kit, while little ones enjoy activities in the Shady Grove kid’s area and get to hear music for youngsters on the Kinfolk Stage. 

Best Southern City Fest

Forecastle Festival

Louisville, Ky. July 12-14

Forecastle has grown to become one of the premiere music festivals in the country, annually bringing an impressive roster of national acts to Louisville’s scenic 85-acre Waterfront Park on the banks of the Ohio River. In addition to the bands—this year’s line-up features the Killers, the Avett Brothers, Anderson.Paak & the Free Nationals, Tyler Childers, and Maggie Rogers—the festival also showcases the best of the host city, including local art and food, along with the bounty of whiskey being made in the Bluegrass State at the popular Bourbon Lodge.

Camp Bisco

Scranton, Pa. July 18-20

The Disco Biscuits host this multi-band electronica rager at Montage Mountain. Additional acts: Bassnectar, Odesza, Tipper, Lotus, STS9, and Umphrey’s McGee. 

Virginia Lake Festival

Clarksville, Va.   July 18-20

Running for more than four decades, this festival in Clarksville features a lively arts and crafts scene, a wide array of food vendors, live music, fireworks, and the popular “Gathering of the Boats” on Buggs Island Lake/John H. Kerr Reservoir in the evening.

Master Musicians Festival

Somerset, Ky. July 19-20

This Kentucky roots music summit—blending Americana, bluegrass, country, and indie folk—has become a regional mainstay in its 25 years in existence. Lineup includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, the War and Treaty, Cedric Burnside, and many more.


Baltimore, Md. July 19-21

Over 400,000 people regularly attend Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival. Situated in downtown Baltimore, the fest spans 12 city blocks and features an array of exhibits in fine art, music, dance, theater, and film.

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

Orkney Springs, Va. July 19 – September 1

This longstanding concert series takes place on the scenic grounds of Shrine Mont in the Shenandoah Valley. Acts confirmed include the Beach Boys on July 26 and the Oak Ridge Boys on August 9, with more to be announced soon.


Asheville, N.C. July 20

Party on the banks of the French Broad River at New Belgium Brewing with local tunes and brews, all for a good cause, as proceeds benefit the watershed’s nonprofit advocate, RiverLink. One of the festival’s main events is the Anything That Floats Parade, which features creatively decorated floats and rafts colorfully floating down the river. 

Best Musical Mix


Floyd, Va. July 24-28

At FloydFest you always find at least five new favorite bands. The multi-stage musical blowout, located on a beautiful 80-acre mountain plateau right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, features one of the best curated musical line-ups in the region—mixing national mainstays with regional up and comers on the rise. This year’s line-up is heavy on jam and Americana with the festival’s eight stages featuring Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band, String Cheese Incident, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, and Margo Price. On the undercard be sure to check out sets by Sean McConnell, Erin & the Wildfire, Jon Stickley Trio, and Chupacabras. Set in a location that’s ripe for recreation the festival also offers a nice variety of adventure programming, including mountain biking, trail running, paddling, and disc golf.

Asheville Yoga Festival

Asheville, N.C. July 25-28

Extend your body and expand your mind at this event in Asheville that features expert instructors and experienced teachers leading classes and workshops, along with a schedule of live music and outdoor activities like slacklining and SUP Yoga. 

The Peach Music Festival

Scranton, Pa. July 25-28

Jams will be plentiful at this festival, initially started by the Allman Brothers Band, that takes place annually at Montage Mountain. Acts on the bill include Phil Lesh and Friends, Trey Anastasio Band, String Cheese Incident, and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.

Altoona First Frontier Festival

Altoona, Pa. July 26-27

This fun weekend fest mixes Americana sounds with craft beer, food trucks, and local artisans. 

Virginia Highlands Festival

Abingdon, Va. July 26 – August 4

For 10 straight days, creativity comes alive in Abingdon with events focusing on music, photography, visual and performing arts, antiques, and much more.

Soulshine Farm Music Festival

Green Mountain, N.C. August 8-10

This intimate camping fest along the Toe River features favorites in bluegrass, jam, and funk playing in a family-friendly setting. 

Best in Brew

Burning Can

Brevard, N.C. August 9-10

Oskar Blues Brewery celebrates its claim to fame—being the first to put delicious craft brews in cans—at this annual fest, which takes place at a scenic spot on the edge of Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. Hosting the two-day party at its REEB Ranch outpost near Brevard, Oskar Blues welcomes 70 killer breweries from around the country that put their best liquid in cans. In addition to plenty of imbibing, the weekend features live tunes, onsite camping, and lots of outdoor playtime, including organized races and opportunities to spin your wheels at the ranch’s mountain bike park. 

Smith River Fest

Axton, Va. August 10

Experience the best of the Smith River with a full day of paddling, fishing, running, and biking, along with vendor booths, live music, and fun for the whole family. The fest takes place at the Smith River Sports Complex near Martinsville. 

The Big What Festival

Pittsboro, N.C. August 8-10

North Carolina’s Big Something hosts a three-day, multi-band blowout at Shakori Hills Community Arts Center.

Railbird Festival

Lexington. Ky. August 10-11

Looking strong out of the gate, this new festival at the Grounds at Keeneland will feature sets by Hozier, the Raconteurs, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers, and many more. 

Summer of Love Music Festival

Round Hill, Va. • August 17

B Chord Brewing Company is the place to be for a full day of live music, family-friendly events, local artisan vendors, and some special brews to honor the 50thanniversary of the Summer of

Kelly little green man days

kelly, ky. August 16-17

Did aliens invade this small Kentucky town in 1955? Whether you believe “The Kelly Incident” occurred or not, you can still celebrate the local legend with this fun festival featuring live music, rides, and activities for all ages. 

Lockn’ Music Festival

Arrington, VA August 22-25

The country’s premiere jam marathon returns for its seventh straight year, blowing it out with Tedeschi Trucks Band, Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros., Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and many more. 

Meet the Mountains Festival

Johnson City, Tenn. August 23-24

The motto of this emerging festival is “Adventure for Everybody,” and that includes exploring the best of northeast Tennessee by boat, bike, or boot. Activities and entertainment take place at Founders Park in downtown Johnson City, as well as in the surrounding mountains.

RTE 23 Music Festival

Wise, Va. August 24

Head to the mountains of southwest Virginia for this one-day fest at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, featuring the Fritz, C2 & the Brothers Reed, and 49 Winchester. 

Taste of the Mountains Main Street Festival

Madison, Va. • August 31

Head to central Virginia for this fun small-town festival that features local crafts and food. 

Floyd Yoga Jam

Floyd County, Va. August 29 – September 1

Approaching its eighth year, the Floyd Yoga Jam is a four-day celebration of yoga, art, and music.

Front Porch Fest

Stuart, Va. August 29 – September 1

Nestled in the Blue Ridge, this family-friendly music and camping fest takes place on the picturesque Spirit Haven Farm in Patrick County. Line-up: Dangermuffin, the Lee Boys, Yarn, and many more regional roots artists.

Appaloosa Festival

Front Royal, Va. August 30 – September 1

Celtic-minded string outfit Scythian hosts this three-day roots music festival at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal.

Abingdon Main Street BuskerFest 

Abingdon, Va. August 31

Street performers of all stripes are the main event at this festival in downtown Abingdon. 

Hopscotch Festival

Raleigh, N.C. September 5-7

An eclectic mix of indie rock and experimental acts converge in downtown Raleigh for this annual festival.

North Carolina Folk Festival

Greensboro, N.C. September 6-8

A big party in the streets of Greensboro celebrates folk music in its many forms. The line-up is still to be announced but expect a wide array of authentic sounds from bluegrass and jazz to zydeco, blues, and world music.

Mountain Song Festival

Brevard, N.C. September 6-8

Hosted by hometown favorites the Steep Canyon Rangers, this festival features a weekend of spectacular bluegrass at the Brevard Music Center’s open-air auditorium.

Moon River Music Festival

Chattanooga, Tenn. September 7-8

Tennessee tunesmith Drew Holcomb hosts his annual home-state festival at Coolidge Park in Chattanooga’s scenic North Shore District. Holcomb and his band the Neighbors will perform in a special collaboration called Goodbye Road with help from Johnnyswim and Penny & Sparrow, alongside headliners Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Brandi Carlile, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

Smoky Mountain Elk Fest

Maggie Valley, N.C. September 13-15

A new festival created to celebrate the reintroduction of elk to the Great Smoky Mountains; this event at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds will feature educational hikes and elk tours, as well local crafts, food, and live music. 

Gauley Fest

Summersville, W.Va. September 19-22

Started back in the early 80s to celebrate the derailment of a dam project that would have disrupted flows of the mighty Gauley, this event brings together class V whitewater runs, live music, and a big boater hang as the largest paddling festival in the world.

Watermelon Park Fest

Berryville, Va. September 19-22

This small Americana gathering in Berryville features an impressive line-up of acts along the scenic Shenandoah River.

Carolina Fall

Wilkesboro, N.C. September 20-21

The Kruger Brothers host this emerging Americana festival in downtown Wilkesboro. In addition to headlining sets by the fest founders, catch Balsam Range, Chatham County Line, Baucom & Jones, and many more.

Best Roots Revival

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Bristol, Tenn./Va. September 20-22

Straddling the Tennessee/Virginia border, Bristol holds distinction as the true “Birthplace of Country Music,” where the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made some of their first recordings in the 1920s. Every fall the small Southern city celebrates this lineage of roots music through a lively street fest that incorporates artists from many generations. This annual gala features a range of acts from national headliners to regional upstarts to down home Appalachian pickers playing along the bustling main drag of State Street on more than 20 stages. This year the festival will feature sets from Wynonna Judd, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Patty Griffin, Caamp, Sam Bush, Ruston Kelly, Marty Stuart, and many more.

Asheville Van Life Rally

Asheville, N.C. September 20-22

Celebrate the culture of van life at the June Bug Retro Resort, located 15 minutes outside of Asheville in Weaverville. The two-night campout will include live music, food trucks, a kids’ area, and plenty of space to enjoy the variety of adventure vehicles. 

Flow Fest

Charlotte, N.C. September 21-22

Head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center for a wellness weekend of yoga, live tunes, and wine and kombucha tasting. This festival also features a trail race, climbing comp, and SUP yoga on the Catawba River.

FloatLife Fest

Asheville and Brevard, N.C. September 26-29

Back for a third straight year, this festival hosted by Southern Raft Supply is a fun time for Onewheel riders of all levels, featuring races, comps, and music at different sites in both Asheville and Brevard. 

World Chicken Festival

London, Ky. September 26-29

Celebrating 30 years, this event in downtown London honors a Southern culinary staple, with delicious fried chicken served alongside a hearty helping of country music. 


Roseland, Va. September 27-29

Surrounded by scenic ridgelines in the central Virginia Blue Ridge, Devils Backbone Brewing Company Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows is the place to be for a long weekend of live music and camping, as well as plenty of delicious craft beers and organized runs and rides. This year’s line-up includes Caamp, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Larry Keel Explosion, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, and many more.

Wide Open Bluegrass

Raleigh, N.C. September 27-28

Catch some mighty fine picking and singing at this two-day festival, which closes the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Week in downtown Raleigh. Line-up still TBD. 

Graham Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival

Waycross, Ga. September 27-28

True country fans should not miss this tribute to one of the genre’s greatest songwriters. The spirit of the late legend will be revived with performances by the Kentucky Headhunters, Firefall, and many more.

West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off

Marlinton, W.Va. September 28

Ready to try biscuits and squirrel gravy or teriyaki-marinated bear? Then head to this nationally known festival in the Mountain State, where you can sample a plethora of asphalt-induced delicacies. 

The Festy Experience

Charlottesville, Va. October 11-13

This annual festival, always stacked with Americana and bluegrass heroes, will celebrate its 10th anniversary. More info will be announced soon. 

Best Adventure Fest

Go Outside Festival

Roanoke, Va. October 18-20

Roanoke is a mountain sports mecca in the Blue Ridge. The abundance of recreation opportunities in the Roanoke Valley are spotlighted at this annual fest, which turns River’s Edge Sports Complex into an adventure playground filled with running, biking, climbing, slacklining, paddling, and fishing. Packed with more than 100 activities and events, the festival features a dozen races and comps, including a half-marathon, beer relay, kid’s bike race, and a family friendly super hero-costumed 5K.

The Moonshiner’s Ball

Mt Vernon, Ky. October 10-13

This fest always features an interesting mix of bluegrass, indie folk, and alt-country. The backwoods bash now takes place at the Rockcastle Riverside campground and concert venue in the Daniel Boone National Forest. Line-up TBA.

Richmond Folk Festival

Richmond, Va. October 11-13

Celebrate the rich roots of American culture through music, dance, storytelling, and food at this yearly Richmond staple born out of this city’s previous reign as the host of the National Folk Festival. Lineup and events TBA.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Mills River, N.C. October 12

Find your lederhosen and get ready to party with festbier, feasting, and dancing at Sierra Nevada in Mills River. 

Highlands Food and Wine Festival

highlands, n.c. November 7-10 

Highlands Food and Wine Festival is a boutique festival located in one of the most quaint, unique mountain towns that North Carolina has to offer. 

Balsam Range Art of Music Festival

Lake Junaluska, N.C. •  December 5-7

Some bands just don’t want festival season to end. Award-winning bluegrass outfit Balsam Range hosts this annual multi-band event, which also features instrument and dance workshops, at Stuart Auditorium in Lake Junaluska.

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