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We Be Jammin’ Man! Music Festival Season Heats Up

By Ethan Woodhouse

May 22, 2012. High Country residents and visitors are in for a full slate of music during this summer’s festival scene. Whether you frequent national festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapolooza or simply enjoy live music, you’re bound to find an event that caters to your tastes.

Kicking off the festival season in Tryon, is the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival on June 8 and 9. The North Carolina Barbecue State Champion will be crowned while acts like Acoustic Syndicate and Project X provide the festival atmosphere. A craft fair, cookers store and variety of rides and games will keep attendees busy throughout the event’s duration. Admission between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday is free. Otherwise, adult tickets are $8 and children under 12 are free. Come with an appetite!

Photo Courtesy of Music on the Mountaintop

 This year’s 14th Annual MusicFest‘n Sugar Grove will take place on July 13 and 14, eight miles west of Boone at the Historic Cover Creek School in Sugar Grove. Attendees will be treated to the musical stylings of High Country favorites such as Doc Watson, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Kruger Brothers. The stages are close, musicians are friendly and food is delicious. Hot dogs, bar-b-q, Thai chicken and alligator are just a few of the delicious foods that will be provided. Crafts, jewelry and other memorabilia will also be available. Benefits from the event will go to the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum. Single day tickets are $15 Friday and $20 Saturday. Two-day passes are $55. Tickets will be available at the gate, $20 Friday and $25 Saturday. Two-day passes are also $55 at the gate. Children under 12 are admitted free.

The Beech Mountain Resort will play host to this years Festival of Gnarnia August 9 -11. With an elevation of 5,500 ft., festival-goers will not only enjoy national acts like Afroman, Emancipator and Beats Antique, but also breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge. Bicycle jousting, guided yoga and mud wrestling are just a few of the other attractions offered at Gnarnia. Single day passes are $75, while 3-day passes are $115. 

For 38 years, Tony and Anderson and Norman Adams have hosted the North Carolina State Bluegrass Festival in Marion. Some of North Carolina’s best banjoists, fiddlers and guitarists will be on tap for the event. This year’s event takes place August 16-18 at the Tom Johnson’s Camping Center. Advance adult tickets are $30 per day or $75 for a full pass. Advance children’s tickets are $15 per day and $40 for the full pass.

 This year’s Music on the Mountaintop festival promises to be the most memorable edition of the festival yet. Once again set on Grandfather Mountain Campground in Banner Elk, the event will run from August 24-26. Be sure to bring our tent, as campgrounds will be available for lodging. Early bird tickets start at $85 and tickets available at the entrance will be $99. New Jersey sextet Railroad Earth will play host, closing the festival with sets on August 24 and 25, while other popular acts like Dr. Dog, Futurebirds and Sam Bush will play throughout the days. A percentage of proceeds will be given to the Bone based non-profit organization, Appalachian Voices. 

As the summer comes to a close, concert-goers may want to wrap up their summer season with the 7th annual Mountain Song Festival in Brevard, September 7-8. The David Grisman Sextet, Del McCoury Band and Kruger Brothers will be strumming away all weekend at the Brevard Music Center. Camping is available and rain won’t be an issue, the performance pavilion is covered. Children under 10 are admitted free, while two day passes cost $77. Single day passes are $37 on Friday and $45 on Saturday.

Whether you make it to all these festivals or just one, the memories will last a lifetime. With all the entertainment, delicious foods and smiling faces, making it out to a festival could be the highlight of your summer.