Music News & Reviews

For June music festivals, head to Clayton, Benson and the beach

Sol Driven Train will perform at the Mondo Roots Festival in Clayton.
Sol Driven Train will perform at the Mondo Roots Festival in Clayton. Courtesy of Sol Driven Train

The town of Clayton debuts a new cultural arts festival Saturday featuring a musical lineup of funk, gospel, blues, pop and reggae bands alongside a variety of street festival activities with a Mardi Gras flavor.

Mondo Roots replaces the Millstock festival and, like it, is a free event on and around Horne Square in downtown Clayton. Bands include the Lee Boys, Sol Driven Train, Black Masala, Tornado Blues Band, Jamrock Reggae Band and The Amateurs.

Festival activities will also include art vendors offering their wares; on-site painting, sculpting and carving; a sidewalk chalk-art contest; a drum circle; a New Orleans-style parade led by Black Masala; and crafts for kids, including Mardi Gras mask-making. There will also be food trucks and other food and drink vendors, including Clayton’s own Deep River Brewing Co.

Mondo Roots happens 1-8 p.m. Info:

At the beach

Elsewhere Saturday, two North Carolina beach towns present music festivals on their boardwalks and beaches.

▪ The Carolina Beach Music Festival, in its 31st year, presents Jim Quick and Coastline, Band of Oz and North Tower from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the beach near the boardwalk. There will also be a shag dancing contest with cash prizes. Gates open at 10 a.m. and tickets are $25 ($20 in advance). Info:

▪ The inaugural Crystal Coast Music Festival will take over the boardwalk at Atlantic Beach Saturday for shows by alt-rock band Third Eye Blind, one-man pop band Robert DeLong, the multi-genre Judah and The Lion, and rockers Amasa Hines. As the music plays, the festival will present surf- and kite-boarding demos in connection with a World Paddle Association-sanctioned race. There are also beach games like cornhole, bocce and volleyball. Food trucks and other vendors will offer craft beer and street food.

Gates open at 3 p.m., an hour before the music starts. Admission is $23 ($18 in advance), or $75 for a VIP entrance and viewing area, as well as access to a cash bar and restrooms. Info:

A sing in Benson

The 96th State Annual Singing Convention takes place in downtown Benson’s Singing Grove, June 24-26. The Benson Sing is a free gospel singing competition that attracts about 50 amateur groups to perform for awards in several categories. Six groups from last year’s Benson Sing perform June 24, while The Inspirations, an influential Southern gospel group from Bryson City, performs June 25. Competition singing begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Info:

For information about more than 15 other music festivals are to be held across the state this month, see

Beyond the Triangle

▪ Brevard Blues Festival in Brevard June 3-4 with Nikki Hill, John Nemeth, Dangerous Gentlemens with Anson Funderburgh, Bettye Lavette, The Blind Boys of Alabama and more. Info:

▪ Charlie Poole Music Festival in Eden June 10-11 honors the legacy of North Carolina string bands and roots music with musicians’ competitions Saturday and shows by Bob Carlin and Cheick Hamala Diabate, Seth Swingle and The Zinc Kings on Friday. Info:

▪ Cape Fear Blues Festival in Wilmington June 17-19 with John McDonald, Southern Avenue, The Rusted Rails and more. Info:

▪ Neon Weekend in Forest City June 24-26 with old school and modern electronic music from AirplaneMode, ALEKTO, Astaroth, Bad Catholics, Betty Toker and 50-plus more. Info: