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Fresh Air, Free Tunes: High Country Summer Outdoor Concert Rundown; Calendar from May to Late September

By Jesse Wood

The crowd at the Jones House last summer during the Doc Watson Statue Celebration. Photo by Jesse Wood

One of the great things about the High Country during the summer time is the free outdoor concerts; “Fresh Air, Free Tunes” is what we call them. No matter what part of the High Country you happen to be at this summer, free tunes in the fresh air abound. Multiple series of concerts will take place in Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, Boone and Valle Crucis from late May to the end of September. Bring some cash for a snack or donation, and don’t forget a blanket or a chair to enjoy the show.

Concerts on the Lawn at the Jones House

The Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone celebrates its 20th season of Concerts on the Lawn this summer. The concerts are free, though a donation box exists. New for this year is the extra concert (in italics) on the first Friday of the month in conjunction with Art Crawl. The extra concert takes place from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m., while the rest of the concerts happen from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. For more info, click to www.watauga-arts.org or call 828-264-1789.

June 1 Meade Richter, Swing Guitars and Major Sevens

June 8 Wayne Henderson and Elkville String Band

June 15 Doc Watson celebration with Kruger Brothers and Charles Welch

June 22 New River Boys and Roan Mountain Hilltoppers

June 29 20th Season Celebration with Becca Eggers-Gryder, Amantha Mill and Diane Hackworth

July 6 Cowboy poet Keith Ward, Worthless Son-In-Laws and Possum Jenkins

July 13 Bag piper Fox Kinsman and Forget-Me-Nots and Todd Wright and Friends

July 20 Melissa Reaves and The Lazybirds 

July 27 Bluegrass showcase with Surefire and The Dollar Brothers and Carolina Crossing

August 3 Old-time showcase with Steve Kruger, Crooked Road Ramblers and The Sheets Family Band

August 10 TBD (likely Songwriters and Storytellers Night)

August 17 Boone Mennonite Brethren Choir and Soul Benefactor

August 24 Buck Haggard Band and Strictly Clean & Decent

August 31 Dashboard Hula Boys and Kilby, Welch & Stone

September 7 TBD (likely Watauga Youth showcase)

September 14 Rhonda Gouge and King Bees Duo

September 21 TBD

Music in the Valle at Valle Crucis Community Park

Music in the Valle is celebrating its 10th annual season this summer at the Valle Crucis Community Park, which is a nonprofit. Admission is free, though a $5 donation is recommended. All the concerts take place at 7:00 p.m. Also, a 10th anniversary kickoff celebration and fundraiser takes place on May 19. For more information about the celebration and the rest of the concert series, click to www.vallecrucispark.com or call Caroline Gandy at 828-963-9239.

May 25 Ital Seeds

June 1 Brother Gravity

June 8 The Mountain Laurels

June 15 Sound Traveler

June 22 The Major Sevens

June 29 The Worthless Son in Laws

July 6 Creekside Grass

July 13 The Wild Rumpus

July 20 Kent Doobrow & Midnight Sun

July 27 High Standards

August 3 Dashboard Hula Boys

August 10 The Neighbors

August 17 8 Miles Apart

August 24 Folk and Dagger

August 31 Zephyr Lightning Bolts

Banner Elk Chamber Presents Summer Concerts in the Park

Presented by the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, the Summer Concerts in the Park series takes place every Thursday from June 21 to August 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Tate-Evans Park. Food vendors will be on site, or bring your own picnic. Raffle tickets are sold. For more info, call 828-898-8395 or click to www.bannerelkchamber.com.

June 21 ToneBlazers (Americana, Bluegrass and Country)

June 28 Billy Scott and the Party Prophets (Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Beach and Retro)

July 5 Buck Haggard (Classic Country)

July 12 Dashboard Blue (R&B, Rock and Timeless Dance Grooves)

July 19 Jeff Luckadoo & Southern Wave (Country)

July 26 Mad Dog Johnson with Don Vallarta (Pop, Rock and Dance)

August 2 Mountain Soul (Bluegrass-Inspired Americana)

August 9 Wolf Creek (Bluegrass, Classic Country, Blues and Rock)

August 16 Dallas Reese (Pop, Rock and Country)

The Best Cellar’s Concerts on the Green

Located on Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock, The Best Cellar hosts the Concerts on the Green in its big yard at the Inn at Ragged Gardens on Friday nights. All shows our free and begin at 5:30 p.m. Food is available. For more info, call The Best Cellar at 828-295-9703 or click to www.ragged-gardens.com.

May 11 ramajohns

May 18 Soul Benefactor

May 24 The Harris Brothers

June 1 The Harris Brothers

June 8 Soul Benefactor

June 15 The Harris Brothers

June 22 The Klee and Mike Show

June 29 The Harris Brothers

Bayou Smokehouse’s Concerts in the Courtyard

Located on Main Street in Banner Elk, the Bayou Smokehouse hosts Concerts in the Courtyard on Wednesday evenings. Food is available. Concerts are free and start at 6:00 p.m. For more information, call 828-898-8952.

May 9 The Get Downs

May 16 Whip Daddys

May 23 The Get Downs

May 30 Whip Daddys

June 6 The Get Downs

June 13 Whip Daddys

June 20 The Get Downs

June 27 Whip Daddys

July 4 The Get Downs

July 11 Whip Daddys

July 18 The Get Downs

July 25 Whip Daddys

August 1 The Get Downs

August 8 Whip Daddys

August 15 The Get Downs

August 22 Whip Daddys

August 29 The Get Downs

September 5 Whip Daddys

September 12 The Get Downs

September 19 Whip Daddys

September 26 The Get Downs