Outdoor music festivals of interest to the Triangle for May include a classic farm-based event in northeast Chatham County, a sprawling urban festival of modern pop music in Durham, and a street fair arts festival in downtown Raleigh.
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival
The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, May 4-7, takes place on a 100-acre farm outside Pittsboro. The four-day festival includes camping, environmental sustainability forums, healing arts and plenty of games and kids’ activities, along with more than 40 bands and performers playing music on four stages (two in tents). Donna the Buffalo is the host band, and they’ll be joined by Rainbow Kitten Surprise, an up-and-coming rock band from Boone, plus Todd Snider with Great American Taxi, Amy Helm (Levon’s daughter) and more.
Four-day passes to Shakori Hills are $114 in advance and $124 at the gate with discounts for Chatham County residents and for everyone younger than 16. Daily admission is $27-$37. Camping is extra. Info: shakorihillsgrassroots.org.
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Two weeks later, May 18-21, Moogfest takes over downtown Durham with 100 musical performers, art installations, films, workshops, panel discussions and more in some 20 venues. The art and technology festival honors Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer, and divides its programming between Future Sound and Future Thought.
Musical headliners include Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, Suzanne Ciani, Mykki Blanco, Gotye, and Derrick May. Performance venues include the American Tobacco Campus, Carolina Theatre, Motorco, Pinhook and Bull McCabe’s.
An installation by Michael Stipe of R.E.M. will present a compilation of video footage he shot of artist Jeremy Ayers, which explores desire and movement. Using Moog gear, Stipe has scored the piece, marking his first solo composition ever, a news release says.
Moogfest ticket packages, which include additional fees, are $249 for general admission and $499 for VIP admission. Workshops require registration. The $1,500 engineering package includes a two-day workshop with Moog engineers to build your own synthesizer, plus VIP access to the rest of the festival. Info: moogfest.com.
The same weekend in downtown Raleigh, May 19-21, Artsplosure brings music, art installations, more than 170 juried fine art and craft vendors, food trucks, kids’ activities and more to Fayetteville Street. Main stage performers announced include renowned soul singer William Bell, the High and Mighty Brass Band, Phil Cook and the Guitarheels, Seratones and 10 more. Artsplosure is free. Info: raleighartsfestival.com.
Durham Blues and Brews
Also May 20, the Durham Blues and Brews Festival presents Willie Painter Band, Roy Roberts and Nikki Hill, and about 20 local craft beers at Durham Central Park. It’s $45, or $20 for nondrinkers. Info: durhambluesandbrewsfestival.com.
Get details about these shows and 16 more May music festivals at carolinamusicfests.com.
Other music festivals in May
- Carolina Rebellion at Charlotte Motor Speedway, May 5-7, with Def Leppard, Korn, Soundgarden, Avenge Sevenfold and 56 more. Info: carolinarebellion.com.
- The LEAF at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, May 11-14, with Macy Gray, Antibalas, A Tribe Called Red, Lee Fields and the Expressions and about 35 more, with lots of activities for kids. Info: theleaf.org/the-festival.
- Beaufort Music Festival on the Beaufort waterfront, May 19-20, is a free festival with Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Dark Water Rising, Sarah Shook and The Disarmers, Muddy Magnolias and 13 more. Info: beaufortmusicfestival.com.
- Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival in Snow Camp, May 25-27, with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Sideline, Seldom Scene, Flatt Lonesome and 10 more. Info: littlejohnsmountainmusic.com.