September is undoubtedly the biggest month of the year for music in the Triangle, with two music festivals of national reputation in Raleigh and several smaller festivals in the area for a total of 10 between this weekend and Oct. 1.
Hopscotch, which is Sept. 8-10, and Wide Open Bluegrass, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s convention and showcase Sept. 27-Oct. 1, each bring more than 100 bands to town.
Hopscotch this year has added Red Hat Amphitheater to its 12 downtown venues, which include Memorial Auditorium, City Plaza and nine others within walking distance. Among its top performers are Erykah Badu, Gary Clark Jr., Wolf Parade, Wye Oak, Beach House, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals and Sylvan Esso.
Full, three-day admission to Hopscotch is $165 or $225 for a VIP pass, and single-day wristbands are $85 ($95 on Friday). Admission to each of four individual shows with headliners at Red Hat and City Plaza ranges from $40 to $60. Info: hopscotchmusicfest.com.
Wide Open Bluegrass is actually three festivals, with the IBMA putting on the Bluegrass Ramble series of showcase performances by 30 up-and-coming bluegrass acts in six locations downtown Sept. 27-29, and Friday and Saturday’s daylong shows at Red Hat.
In addition, the City of Raleigh puts on a free street festival with five stages in and around Fayetteville Street. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder headline a slate of eight at Red Hat that Friday and Del McCoury and Steep Canyon Rangers top Saturday’s show. Otherwise, just about anyone in bluegrass is in town sometime during the week.
Wide Open Bluegrass ticket pricing is complex, with two-day reserved seating at Red Hat costing as much as $140 for people who aren’t IBMA members, and full Bluegrass Ramble passes $75 for nonmembers. Get more info at wideopenbluegrass.com.
But before all that, the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh & Wake County brings 14 acts to City Plaza and Fayetteville Street this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 3-4) for free. Tish Songbird and the Applauze, Marcus Anderson and Tony Lelo are among the performers. The art, music, dance, food and community celebration is 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Info: aacfestival.org.
Also this weekend, the 22nd edition of ProgDay presents eight progressive rock bands in an intimate outdoor setting just outside of Chapel Hill Saturday and Sunday. Among the performers are Deus Ex Machina, Eye, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Bent Knee and Discipline. The festival is on an open lawn, and pop-up tents are encouraged. It runs from 10:30 a.m. to about 6:30 p.m. both days. Tickets are $120 for the weekend ($150 patron pass) or $70 daily, with student, youth and children discounts. Info: progday.net.
Get details on more September music festivals at carolinamusicfests.com.
Other September festivals
- Bull Durham Blues Festival is Sept. 9-10 at the Hayti Heritage Center with Barbara Carr, Roy Roberts, Luxuriant Sedans, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O Blues and six more. $35-$60. Info: hayti.org/events.
- Hoppin’ John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention at Shakori Hills in Silk Hope Sept. 15-17 presents musician showcases, competitions, workshops, square dances, a hoppin’ john cook-off and more. Performers include Alice Gerrard, Bill Hicks, Bob Herring, Steve Kruger, Bob Carlin and more. Prices vary. Info: hoppinjohn.org.
- Apex Music Festival in Apex Sept. 17 presents a pub-crawl-style festival at nine indoor venues and two outdoor stages along Salem Street. The main stage, which will present Peak City Sound, Ripe, Jimbo and the Soupbones and The Willies, includes a beer and wine garden. The outdoor stages will present four bands each beginning at 3 p.m., and each participating club or restaurant is presenting an act at varying times. Admission is $10; drinks and food are extra. Info: apexmusicfest.com.
- Creedmoor Music Festival in Creedmoor Sept. 17 presents Tim Cifers, Backyard Bluegrass Boys, The British Invaders and more local and regional bands in a free street festival from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: cityofcreedmoor.org.
- Carrboro Music Festival Sept. 24-25 showcases dozens of local musicians in free shows at several indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Carrboro. Most shows are Sunday, after a kickoff event Saturday. Details were not set by publication time. Check carrboromusicfestival.com.
- Live & Local Bluegrass Sept. 24-25 in Raleigh is a warm-up for the IBMA event. Events take place at the Raleigh Little Theatre amphitheater Saturday and in and around Compiegne Park on Sunday. Three Jack Jenny, GrassStreet, and Nixon, Blevins and Gage play Saturday. Sideline, Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road, Jenni Lyn, and six more play Sunday. There will also be vendors, a kids’ zone and food trucks. Info: hillsboroughstreet.org.