Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend has marked the beginning of bluegrass festival season in North Carolina and beyond. From 1978 to 2008, the Bass Mountain Bluegrass Festival, held at the Bass Mountain Music Park near Snow Camp, was one of our state’s finest festivals. With the passing of festival promoter and property owner, John Maness, Maness’ son decided to carry on with the Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival, held at the same location with a new name. The festival continues Friday and Saturday with a full lineup of top bluegrass talent and other features that carry over from earlier years. Today features the red-hot fiddling of Michael Cleveland and Flame Keeper, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition and others. On Saturday, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Marty Rabon and Full Circle, and Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion will perform. For directions and schedule, see www.liljohnsmountainmusic.com
• Also Friday, the Boys from Carolina with guest banjoist Tommy Edwards will play bluegrass at the Bynum Front Porch Series. The Honeycutters with Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers hold forth Wednesday at Berkeley Café. And Grammy-winning country singer LeAnn Rimes performs with the N.C. Symphony Thursday at Meymandi Concert Hall.