May promises some 15 music festivals across the state, including a glut of choices mid-month here in the Triangle:
▪ The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance in Silk Hope May 3-6 presents more than 40 acts, including Steve Earle and the Dukes, host band Donna the Buffalo, Ibibio Sound Machine, Rising Appalachia and Chicano Batman. The family-friendly festival is on a farm outside of Pittsboro in Chatham County and includes a variety of games and activities for younger and older kids. Two of four stages are under tents. Four-day tickets: $133, $70 for ages 13 to 15 and free for younger. Daily admission is $30-$45. Camping is extra. Info: shakorihillsgrassroots.org.
Speakers include Chelsea E. Manning, a technologist, network security expert and advocate for government transparency and queer and transgender rights; and Jennifer Sukis, who leads IBM's AI experience design practices for the Watson and Cloud platforms. Among the art exhibits is the premiere of a traveling exhibit from Ralph Steadman featuring never-before-seen works from his days of documenting the exploits of the late Hunter S. Thompson. Some performances and exhibits are free. Festival pass $229; VIP passes $499 and $1,500. Info: moogfest.com.
▪ Also in downtown Durham on May 19, the Durham Blues and Brews Festival presents the Bulltown Strutters, Mel Melton and The Wicked Mojos, The Selwyn Birchwood Band and about 20 craft brewers and food trucks in Durham Central Park. Proceeds go to the Exchange Family Center and other local nonprofits. $40, $20 nondrinkers. 4 to 9 p.m. Info: durhambluesandbrewsfestival.com.
▪ In Raleigh on May 19-20, the 38th edition of Artsplosure will feature music from the legendary Wailers, the John Papa Gros Band from New Orleans, the Tex-Mex/pop rock group The Last Bandoleros and six more groups. In addition, the festival will include 170 juried visual artists’ and crafters’ booths, food trucks and a variety of kids' arts activities. Artsplosure is on Fayetteville Street and the adjacent Exchange and Market plazas. Free. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; music starts noon Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Info: raleighartsfestival.com.
▪ Heading into Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, it’s not far to Lil John's Mountain Music Festival at the Cane Creek Campground & RV Park in Snow Camp in Alamance County. The festival is in its 40th year and will host Sideline, Flatt Lonesome, Russell Moore and III Tyme Out, a Bass Mountain Boys Reunion Show and 10 more bluegrass bands. $90 for three days, $30-$35 daily; camping extra. Info: littlejohnsmountainmusic.com.
Around the state
▪ Carolina Rebellion, May 4-6, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Alice in Chains, Muse and 55 more. Three days $249-$299; two days $150-$200; daily $109.50-$149.50. Camping extra. Info: carolinarebellion.com.
▪ The LEAF, May 10-13, in Black Mountain, with Snarky Puppy, Ani DiFranco, Rising Appalachia, Samantha Fish and about 40 more. The festival at Lake Eden offers many activities, especially for kids. Onsite lodging includes cabins and cabin bunks, as well as tent and RV camping. Weekend passes sold out. Daily: $46-$67; camping, cabins extra. Info: theleaf.org.
▪ Beaufort Music Festival, May 18-19, on the waterfront in Beaufort presents Town Mountain, Laura Blackley and the Wildflowers, Seratones, Devon Gilfillian and 12 more. The Atlantic Beach Music Festival, May 19, is right next door with Jim Quick and Coastline, Band of Oz and two more. Both are free. Info: beaufortmusicfestival.com and atlanticbeach-nc.com.
▪ The White Squirrel Festival in Brevard, May 25-27, has Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Clint Roberts, Devon Gilfillian, Jeff Sipe and the Page Brothers, and 11 more. There’s also a soap box derby, parade, kids’ activities and fun runs. Free. Info: whitesquirrelfestival.com.