Music News & Reviews

June music festivals across the state: Mondo Roots, The Benson Sing, Cape Fear Blues and more

The group Nappy Roots is set to perform Saturday at the Mondo Roots cultural arts and music festival in Clayton.
The group Nappy Roots is set to perform Saturday at the Mondo Roots cultural arts and music festival in Clayton.

The heat of summer is no friend to outdoor music in central North Carolina. Only two music festivals dot the calendar for the Triangle in June, while some 20 others offer entertaining reasons for weekends at the mountains or beach.

Mondo Roots

In Clayton Saturday, June 3 the second edition of the Mondo Roots cultural arts and music festival presents hip-hop, reggae, funk, folk-rock, world music and jazz in a free show. The musical lineup includes Nappy Roots, Roots of a Rebellion, Cha Wa, The Ragbirds and Echelon Youth Jazz Ensemble; DJ Jedi will play between acts. There will also be juried art vendors and a sidewalk art contest, as well as beer, wine and food vendors on hand in the downtown historic district at Main Street. The festival is noon to 9 p.m., with music starting at 1:30 p.m. Info:

The Benson Sing

Toward the end of the month, the State Annual Singing Convention, aka The Benson Sing, convenes June 23-25 in downtown Benson’s Singing Grove. This free event dates to 1921 and each year presents a gospel group competition plus concerts by featured acts and past competition winners. Five North Carolina gospel groups that won in various competition categories last year perform Friday beginning at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, and The Walters Family perform beginning at 6:30 p.m. Competition among about 50 groups in 10 categories (adult church choir, duet, trio, mixed trio, etc.) starts 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info:

Willow Oak Park Bluegrass Festival

Also nearby is the Willow Oak Park Bluegrass Festival, June 15-17, in Roxboro (north of Durham), which is being hosted by Garner’s Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road. Among 15 others set to play are Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Bass Mountain Boys, Charlie Oakley and Blazin Grass, and Danny Paisley & Southern Grass. The festival also includes musician workshops, vendors, and food and drink concessions. Camping options include sites with or without electrical hookups and hot showers. There’s also a catch-and-release fishing pond on-site. Admission: $25-$30 daily, $80 for three days, with discounts for children and youths. Camping is extra. Info:

Find more information about these and other June music festivals in North Carolina at

Other June music festivals in North Carolina

Ocrafolk Festival in Ocracoke Island, June 2-4, with Molasses Creek, Bio Ritmo and 18 others. Info:

Bluegrass in Cherokee at Cherokee, June 8-10, with Dailey and Vincent, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and 13 more. Info:

Cape Fear Blues Festival in Wilmington, June 23-25, with the James Armstrong Band, Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations, and nine more. Info: