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Travel Guide
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Asheville Music Scene

From Bluegrass to Newgrass to Nograss

A progressive and collaborative arts community, Asheville's modern music scene melds old and new with surprising ease. Music permeates the city from the street musicians who serenade you downtown, to multi-generation bluegrass jam sessions, to a rock club (Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club) named one of the best in the country by Rolling Stone.

Today, Asheville's music scene is all encompassing. Traditional mountain music still rings out from national artists such as David Holt and Laura Boosinger who live in the area. Classical music from the Asheville Symphony Orchestra fills the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium throughout the year.

These Hills are Alive with the Sound of Appalachian Music

The instruments needed for distinct mountain sound have old world origins. The banjo hails from Africa and the fiddle has European roots. However, the only native instrument to the mountain region, is the Appalachian dulcimer. This instrument is considered to be one of the easiest to learn due to its small string count and simplified fret system. Want to find one for yourself? Visit the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville where the Woodrow stringed instruments are sold. If you travel to Black Mountain visit Song of the Wood to see a wide collection of mountain dulcimers for sale.

Roots & Trails: New Guidebook!

Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina

Mountain music traditions are alive and well in the Blue Ridge and a new travel guidebook, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, offers an epic tour to the public settings where folk music and dance still thrive. Mountain musicians are as laid-back and welcoming as they come, so when heading out to find some Asheville music, bring your dancing shoes and banjo and play on in…

Musical Road Tripping

A CD Guidebook for the Ears

Listen while you explore. Many of the region's historic musicians are featured on a 20-track companion CD for the newly released Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina. Imagine driving along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway with sweeping mountain views—nothing could be more fitting than a soundtrack of authentic Asheville music with that distinct Appalachian flavor.

Songs from this “guidebook for the ears” include “Swannanoa Tunnel,” “Frankie Silver's Confession,” and “Tom Dooley” and are based on actual events that took place in the region. The rich storybook of folk songs features raw, field recordings made in musicians' homes as well as professionally recorded tracks.

Top 8 Toe-Tappin' Adventures in Asheville

  1. Shindig Under the Stars - Bring your lawn chair (and an instrument, if you play one) for a free evening of traditional Southern Appalachian music, jam sessions and folk dancing at Shindig on the Green, Saturday nights under the stars from June through August in Pack Square Park. This is one of the most popular Asheville festivals of the year.
  2. Pick 'n Pie – Learn the secrets of mountain kitchens and mountain music in the same evening! Native Ground Music and Log Cabin Cooking partner to share their deep knowledge of Appalachian arts in beginners' classes in a charming farmhouse setting.
  3. Old Time Jam Session – Appalachian and Celtic music legacies are honored at the informal weekly jam sessions at Jack of the Wood. Rub elbows, and instruments, with Asheville bands and the locals while you enjoy a fresh, hand-crafted pint from Green Man and some time-traveling acoustic tunes.
  4. The Nation's Longest Running Folk Festival – Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have come to enjoy themselves "along about sundown" the first weekend in August at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival.
  5. Bluegrass Buskers – Nowhere is the music culture and bluegrass influence more accessible than on the streets of Asheville. When the weather is nice, nearly every downtown corner offers a spontaneous stage. Head to Pack Square or the iconic Flat Iron statue along the Urban Trail for bands like 13 Strings and a Two Dollar Bill, Flat Creek Trio and The Leather Britches.
  6. Asheville Music Hall Haunts – From intimate listening rooms to large music halls ideal for dancing, Asheville area music venues run the gamut: Grey Eagle, White Horse Black Mountain, Isis Music Hall and The Orange Peel offer variety in their line-ups, but bluegrass and roots can always be found if you watch the schedules. Tip: Asheville's breweries are also musically inclined. Pisgah, Highland, Wedge and French Broad Brewing all offer live music with craft beer cool.
  7. Asheville Drum Circle
  8. Contra and Square Dance – Pack a skirt that twirls! European and American folk dance is seeing a revival, and nowhere is that more clear than in the mountains of Western NC. At Grey Eagle, Warren Wilson or White Horse Black Mountain, the locals will take you in their arms, quite literally, and show you the steps.
  9. Asheville Drum Circle – You might hear a fiddle or banjo thrown in the mix, but the instrument of choice for this 10+ year Asheville music tradition is the drum. Follow the pounding rhythm downtown to a dance party under the stars. You can't help but move your feet.

A Thriving Music Scene

Miike Snow and Petter Winnberg on stage at Moogfest 2012

The sounds of the modern era also thrive in Asheville. Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and pioneer of electronic music, spent his final years in Asheville and set up a company here that continues his musical vision.

Alternative rockers The Smashing Pumpkins made Asheville their temporary home with a nine-show residency in 2007 at the Orange Peel. And well-known artists such as Gladys Knight, Warren Haynes and David Wilcox have made Asheville their newfound home and drawn inspiration from the area.


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Single-Day Events

BaconFest Asheville

  • Aug 29
  • Highland Brewing Company
  • Location: Highland Brewing Company
  • Address: 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC 28803

105.9 the Mountain is getting even BIGGER on the pig with the 3rd annual BaconFest Asheville - Saturday, August 29th at the Highland Brewing Company Outdoor Meadow - a swine soirée is sure to please bacon, beer and BBQ aficionados alike. This family friendly event is ticketed and you will be able to sample incredible dishes from some of Asheville's best restaurants and cast your vote for TOP HOG in categories like Best Bacon, Most Outrageous dish, Best BBQ and Best Sweet Swine. &nbs...

Cypher Univercity: A Stand Against Racism

Featuring Free The Optimus, Tusco, Jrsusalam, & Pragmaddix

Ooh La La Curiosity Market

  • Aug 29
  • Location: Pritchard Park
  • Address: 67 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801

Ooh La La Curiosity Market is an art market that takes place in Pritchard Park, located in the center of beautiful downtown Asheville and will showcase the work of more than a dozen local artists. Taking place over 11 Saturdays throughout Summer beginning May 23th. Ooh La La will feature works by local painters, leather smiths, jewelry makers, potters, up-cycled crafters, and other curious delights, all beneath the colored canopies of large market umbrellas. In addition to the artists, the marke...

Perpetual Groove w/ The Mantras

PERPETUAL GROOVE Based in Athens, GA, Perpetual Groove is a long time well established touring act with an enthusiastic fan base and international critical acclaim. PGroove’s music has been described by their fans as anthemic arena rock. Their large catalog of original music offers something for everyone. The addition of an intense, retina burning, intelligent light show creates an atmosphere unlike any other, assuring fans they’ll get a highly polished, yet different show each night...

PW Gopal's Big Blue Life CD Release Show - [folk / americana / rock]

  • Aug 29
  • Location: The Altamont Theatre
  • Address: 18 Church Street, Asheville, NC 28801

If there is one thing that can be said about PW Gopal, it is that his life is defined by his passions. The ancient Fathers of faith called the deepest of the deep, the souls soul – “the very”. It is from the “very” that PW brings to life his stories of faith and the human condition. Touring fulltime since 2003, PW has played over seventeen hundred dates sharing the stage with such artists as Jeremy Camp, Bebo Norman, Shawn McDonald, Sara Groves, Bethany Dillon and D...

Todd Nance (Drummer of Widespread Panic) & Friends

General Admission Standing Show :: Some Balcony Seating Todd Nance and Friends Featuring :: Bloodkin Sam Holt Cody Dickinson Bobby Miller Josh Stack with Special Guests Sanctum Sully (Electric Reunion Show) Music : Genre: Jam, Rock

Recurring Events

Concerts in the Park Series

  • Aug 29
  • Biltmore Park Town Square
  • Location: Biltmore Park Town Square
  • Address: 2 Town Square Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28803
  • Recurrence: Recurring monthly on the last Saturday

We invite you to bring your family, friends and neighbors and enjoy a musical evening in Biltmore Park Town Square. Grab a blanket and join us in Cecil Park, the green space near Hickory Tavern and Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, for Concerts in the Park. The Concerts in the Park series takes place the last Saturday of the month, May through September, from 7-9 pm. Come enjoy two full hours of live music, dancing and fun for the whole family. Join us May 30th as we kick off the 2015 Concert in the Pa...

Shindig on the Green

  • Aug 29
  • Pack Square Park
  • Location: Pack Square Park
  • Address: 1 W Pack Square, Asheville, NC 28801

Bring your instruments, families, friends, lawn chairs and blankets and join us for good times at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Stage. In 2015 Shindig on the Green, which features a stage show and informal jam sessions around the park, continues at its original location -- formerly known as City County Plaza, now transformed into the new Pack Square Park. Locals and visitors alike come together downtown "along about sundown," or at 7:00pm for those who wear a watch, until 10:00p.m. Conces...