The May music festivals taking place in Raleigh are concentrated on a single weekend, with Artsplosure May 15-17 and a Deep South Entertainment street festival on May 16.
▪ Artsplosure, which is in its 36th year, moves its musical acts and art market to Fayetteville Street from Moore Square and adds a third day. Musical acts appearing on two stages are heavy on the blues this year, with Canadian blues guitarist Matt Andersen and Nashville rock/alt-country band Those Darlins playing Friday, and guitarist Elvin Bishop (a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member known for his work with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and as a solo artist) and 29-year-old blues guitarist Jarekus Singleton on Saturday. Sunday’s acts include local rock/Americana band American Aquarium and Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra, whose work is described as “trance-based blues music, harkening back to John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf, with a drunken minor swing comparable to some of Tom Waits’ darker works.”
Artsplosure will present nine other bands, plus dozens of juried visual art vendors, food and drink vendors, and Kidsplosure, with participatory art activities and games for kids. Kidsplosure will remain in Moore Square. Artsplosure (May 15-17) is 11 a.m.-10p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Info: raleighartsfestival.com.
▪ A couple of blocks away, Deep South Entertainment will celebrate two decades of artist management and concert production with 20 of its acts on indoor and outdoor stages at Deep South the Bar. The Deep South 20th Anniversary Street Festival, on Saturday (May 16), will present Parmalee, Marcy Playground, Allison Moorer, Blake Christiana of Yarn, Kasey Tyndall and 15 other acts.
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The show is noon-11 p.m. on two stages at 430 S. Dawson St. (behind Red Hat Amphitheater) and then moves indoors for an after-party with ’90s cover band 120 Minutes until 2 a.m. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, with a $10 surcharge for anyone younger than 21. Info: deepsouththebar.com.
▪ Also in the Triangle this month, the Exchange Club of Greater Durham presents the inaugural Durham Blues and Brews Festival on May 30 at Durham Central Park. The festival features Armand and Bluesology with special guest Will McFarlane; The Josh Preslar Band; and Harvey Dalton Arnold with Darrell Young. The Exchange Family Center works with families to prevent child abuse and neglect. The adults-only show is 4-9 p.m. and costs $40 to include access to 20 local craft beers in 12-ounce pours, or $20 for nondrinkers. Info: durhambluesandbrewsfestival.com.
Other music festivals
▪ Carolina Rebellion May 2-3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway presents Korn, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and 31 other metal acts.
▪ The LEAF May 7-10 in Black Mountain presents Donna the Buffalo, The Duhks, Sierra Hull, Xavier Rudd and the United Nations, and about 30 more rock, Americana and world music acts.
▪ Lil John's Mountain Music Festival May 21-23 in Snow Camp presents Crowe Brothers, Dailey & Vincent, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, and 11 more bluegrass bands.
Get details about these and 19 more May music festivals at Carolina Music Festivals, carolinamusicfests.com.