With each new Wilmington show announced on Facebook, my husband and I get excited … and simultaneously nervous.
“Did you check the calendar?” he’ll ask me, our family’s events manager.
“Yes, we’re in town and have [insert name of festival] the following weekend.” We then breathe a collective sigh of relief and go on about our lives.
Summer shows and festival trips take planning and strategy for folks trying to squeeze in as much live music as possible. So why not support local bands in the process?
Here’s a look ahead at spring and summer music festivals featuring Wilmington’s finest, as well as when and where you might find them next locally.
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival
Day/weekend passes: $27-$143
Free for kids 12 and under
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance happens twice a year and always features founding band Donna the Buffalo and myriad Americana, roots and indie artists. Spring Shakori is just around the corner (May 7-10) with live music, arts, crafts, yoga, as well as kids and family grounds of activities. Aside from Del McCoury Band, Rising Appalachia, Keller Williams and dozens of other talents, Wilmington’s Blue Footed Boobies and Broccoli Brothers Circus will be there, too.
There’s no need to wait until May to see either band. Blue Footed Boobies will play at Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard on March 20. Broccoli Brothers Circus have Broccoli BASH 2020 on March 22 at Waterline Brewing, which benefits Nourish NC.
Here are photos from Shakori Hills festival grounds, taken by Tom Dorgan:
BTW: Go ahead and mark your music calendars for Fall Shakori, taking place October 8 – 11. More info can be found at shakorihillsgrassroots.org.
Beaufort Music Festival
Gallant’s Channel in Beaufort, NC
May 15-16 • Free
It’s not a typo, y’all. Beaufort Music Festival is free, thanks to local business sponsorships, donations and partnerships. They also rely on beer and wine sales throughout the two-day festival, but a portion of any proceeds go to a selected local charity, school or individual in need.
The 32nd annual lineup includes lots of local Wilmington players, like The Midatlantic, who also announced an April 4 show at Palate Azalea Party. Encore readers’ best band 2019 L Shape Lot will make an appearance and are also in Beaufort Friday night at The Backstreet Pub. Blue Footed Boobies will be at the festival, as will Signal Fire, who has one Wilmington show listed before their Beaufort stopover—at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on April 20. Anyone unfamiliar with singer-songwriter David Dixon can catch him at one of his March or April shows throughout Wilmington (listed at daviddixonmusic.com/live). Finally, Jared Sales of Coastal Collective and other bands will lead up to headliners The Record Company and Big Something. Find more info at beaufortmusicfestival.com.
Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival
Americana folk-rockers Striking Copper has been busy working on their new album “A Trip Around the Sun”—which includes a song they recorded every month of 2019. They released a music video for “Winter” in January 2020, and will play the 12th annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival. Also playing will be phAb (a rock ’n’ roll project from Greensky Bluegrass’ Paul Hoffman and Anders Beck), The Floozies, Spafford, NO BS! Brass Band, among others listed at roosterwalk.com.
Fans of the powerhouse vocals and harmonies of coppertop twins Allie and Jacquie Lee can see Striking Copper this Saturday at Wilmington’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival, too. The parade starts at 11 a.m. at the corner of Hanover and North Front streets and ends at Market and 2nd, where the festivities and live music begin. Striking Copper Trio also will open for Honey Magpie’s album release show at Waterline on April 10.
Cape Fear Blues Festival
Wilmington, North Carolina
Price details to come
The 25th Annual Cape Fear Blues Festival details are still to come but we know shows will pop up at Wilmington’s Rusty Nail, Finkelstein’s Music and various other venues in downtown. Event times and admission charges (some free) will be announced at capefearblues.org.
The festival features headliner Chris Duarte, local blues-rock players Justin Fox (who also plays this Saturday at Waterline) and David Morse. Award-winning singer-songwriter Randy McQuay will return to the blue festival this year, too. McQuay has many local shows booked beforehand, which can be found on his Facebook page @randymcquaymusic.
Day/weekend passes: $30-$260
While L Shape Lot Duo can be found strumming and singing around town, it’s a rare sight to see their full band taking over Wilmington stages nowadays. Anyone who can’t wait ‘til December to see them play their annual toy drive at Brooklyn Arts Center can head to Beaufort Music Fest in May or FloydFest in July.
The roughly five-hour drive to scenic Floyd, Virginia, will be worth it when Umphrey’s McGee, Grace Potter, Moon Taxi and the full 2020 lineup (floydfest.com) take over the stage.
Did we miss a festival featuring your favorite local band? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.