While the nationally recognized Hopscotch and Wide Open Bluegrass music festivals dominate a busy September schedule, more than a half-dozen other events ensure multiple festival options for music fans each weekend this month.
This weekend, the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh & Wake County brings 12 bands to downtown Raleigh Saturday and Sunday. Bands set to perform include E.U. with Sugar Bear, the SOS Band, Sumthing 4 Da People and Battle of the Decades. A juried art gallery, educational and hands-on activities in the Family Village, and craft and food vendors are also part of the free street fair from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday on City Plaza and Fayetteville Street. Info: aacfestival.org.
Just outside of Chapel Hill this Saturday and Sunday, ProgDay presents nine progressive rock bands, including acts from France, Switzerland and Sweden, plus the multi-national Hedersleben. American bands Bubblemath, the Dave Kerner Band and Ephemeral Sun are also on the bill. Music starts 10:15 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday and goes to early evening each day on the wide grassy lawn of Storybook Farm. Tickets are $70, or $120 for both days, with discounts for youths and free admission for kids. The festival encourages fans to bring pop-up canopies. Info: progday.net.
Hopscotch Music Festival is Sept. 7-10 and presents more than 140 bands at multiple venues across downtown Raleigh. Run the Jewels (Sept. 9) and Solange (Sept. 10) headline multi-act shows at Red Hat Amphitheater, while Future Islands (Friday) and Big Boi (Saturday) top the bill for shows at City Plaza. Festival wristbands are $199; VIP access is $349. Another 30-plus bands will play Hopscotch day parties, many of which are free and open to the public. Info: hopscotchmusicfest.com.
The same weekend (Sept. 8-10), the National Folk Festival concludes it three-year run in Greensboro. This free event will present Sun Ra Arkestra, the Treme Brass Band and Dale Ann Bradley among 30 diverse musical acts on seven stages downtown. Also on tap are dance performances, a North Carolina folk life area, folk art vendors, regional and ethnic foods, and children’s activities. The 77-year-old national festival moves every three years with hopes of spawning a local festival, which Greensboro leaders have announced they are planning for 2018. Info: nationalfolkfestival.com.
More this month
Later this month, in addition to more than 150 acts playing the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival and Raleigh’s accompanying Streetfest (Sept. 29-30), plus the Bluegrass Ramble (Sept 26-28), look for:
▪ Hoppin’ John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention: Sept. 14-16 at the Shakori Hills farm in Silk Hope. The Earl White String Band, Kari Sickenberger, Marie Vanderbeck and eight others perform, and about a dozen band and musician competitions, musician and dance workshops, a square dance and a Hoppin’ John cookoff are also scheduled. Admission is $22-$25 for the weekend, $12-$14 daily, with camping options extra. Info: hoppinjohn.org.
▪ Apex Music Festival: Sept. 16 in Apex with Tea Cup Gin, Molly Stevens, Andy Frasco and the U.N., and about 10 more acts on two outdoor stages and at seven indoor venues on Salem Street. There’s also a beer and wine garden at the main stage, and six food vendors will be on hand. The festival runs from 3 p.m. to midnight. Admissionis $10. Info: apexmusicfest.com.
▪ Live & Local: Roots Fest: Sept. 23, a free festival on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh with 10 local acts on main and youth stages. Among those scheduled are Ike Stubblefield and Friends, the Greg Humphreys Electric Trio and the Johnny Folsom 4. There will also be booths manned by Hillsborough Street merchants and arts and craft vendors, plus a kids’ zone and community art projects. Noon to 9 p.m. Info: hillsboroughstreet.org/liveandlocal/live-and-local-roots-fest-2017.
▪ Carrboro Music Festival: Sept. 23-24 with more than 200 local and regional acts playing 29 stages throughout Carrboro for free. Bands include the Boom Unit Brass Band, Too Much Fun, Triangle Jazz Orchestra, Magnolia Klezmer Band, Mighty Gospel Inspirations, and dozens of singer-songwriters. A show with Urban Soil and Christiane and the Strays at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro Saturday evening opens the festival. Noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. Info: carrboromusicfestival.com.
Find more information about these and 24 more September music festivals in North Carolina at carolinamusicfests.com.