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Travel Guide
September 03, 2015

Weather Trends Align for an Eye-Popping FallAn exceptional display of fall ... more

September 03, 2015

Brewgrass Festival Set for September 19For 19 years, the Brewgrass Festival ... more

September 02, 2015

Celebrate a Taste of Biltmore's BountyOut of the more than 250 rooms in the ... more

September 02, 2015

Top tips for your best leaf peeping getawayBeginning in mid-July, the phone ... more

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

Allen Thompson Band

  • Sep 4
  • Highland Brewing Company
  • Location: The Meadow at Highland Brewing Company
  • Address: 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC 28803

They're a rock & roll band with roots in southern soul, California country, and psychedelic music. Along the way, they've grown a bit louder, too, adding a keyboardist to the lineup and replacing Thompson's acoustic guitar — a familiar sound on earlier albums like Salvation in the Ground — with its electric cousin. The songs still takes their cues from the music that came out of San Francisco and Laurel Canyon during the '70s, but the sound has broadened over the years, now owing...

Asheville Area Piano Forum Lecture

  • Sep 4
  • Location: First Baptist Church of Asheville, Crocker Auditorium
  • Address: 6 Oak Street, Asheville, NC 28801

Ruby Morgan Furman Music Professor presents: "From Perusal to Performance." She will discuss how we can strive for the ideal world in which a student learns everything correctly from the beginning and builds progressively toward the rewarding performance. Dr. Morgan has been described as "one of the outstanding pianists of the South," performing solo recitals and chamber music throughout the eastern United States and Europe. She made her orchestral debut at 15 with the Brev...

Featuring Bluegrass with John O and Friends

Come relax and spend the evening on the Isis Patio with the John O and Friends for some great local bluegrass. Music starts at 7pm. These are some of the best musicians that Asheville has to offer.

Friday Night :: Three for All Party with A Social Function, Feel More East, and Magenta Sunshine

Three Great Local Bands preforming party music :: classic rock songs, top 40, reggae, folk, indie, rock, R&B, jazz and soul driven music. It's a dance party A Social Function, Feel More East, and Magenta Sunshine Dinner reservations are available in the dining room, seating in the music hall and balcony will be first come first serve. Bring your dancing shoes - 21+ Show - Music : Genre: Blues,Classic Rock,Folk Rock,Indie,Jam,Jazz,Oldies,R&B / Urban,Rock

Pugwash w/special guests - [pop/rock from Ireland]

Since releasing their debut power-pop album in 1999, ‘Almond Tea’, Pugwash (songwriter Thomas Walsh and friends) has become an instant favourite of Irish and British music critics alike, many of whom nominated ‘Almond Tea’ as their album of the year. Only 4 weeks after its release, the Hotpress rated it as one of the Top 30 albums of the Millennium. Thomas Walsh has been singled out by many critics as one of the most talented new songwriters to emerge on the Irish scene i...

Ooh La La Curiosity Market

  • Sep 5
  • 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...

The James King Band :: An Evening of Tradition Bluegrass

James King’s earned the moniker “Bluegrass Storyteller” through his talent of telling stories through Bluegrass songs. James was born in Martinsville, Virginia and grew up in Cana (Carrrol County), Virginia. Bluegrass music was a part of the heritage of his childhood. His father, Jim, and his uncle, Joe Edd, were both musicians who influenced James. He recalls his early interest in Bluegrass music came through gospel songs performed by The Stanley Brothers (Carter and Ralph). J...

Wee Bit Louder Fest 2015

Join us for Highland's very own rock and blues festival - featuring stellar regional bands and the best beer in town. Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats kick off the party 6pm, followed by Franklin's Kite at 7:15, and Delta Moon closing out the night. Music is free! Food Trucks will be available.

Recurring Events

First Fridays with Zansa w/ Drew Heller(of Toubab Krewe) - [afropop/world]

  • Sep 4
  • The Altamont Theatre
  • Address: 18 Church Street, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Recurrence: Recurring monthly on the 1st Friday

The music of Zansa, a Nouchi slang word from Ivory Coast meaning "combination" or "blend," is a synthesis of traditional and modern styles of West Africa. The Asheville, NC-based ensemble melds African folk music with modern afropop, African drumming, and the dance-oriented Ivorian street music called Zouglou. Zansa is led by 33rd generation West African musician Adama Dembele, a native of Ivory Coast, who began his music career in the late '90s by founding the drum & dan...

G. Love & Special Sauce

G. Love & Special Sauce are a Philadelphia-based trio whose laid-back, sloppy blues sound is quite unique, as it encompasses the sound/production of classic R&B and recent rap artists (the Beastie Boys, in particular). The group — G. Love (born Garrett Dutton) on guitar/vocals/harmonica, Jeff Clemens on drums, and Jim Prescott on upright bass — released their self-titled debut in 1994 on OKeh/Epic. It received enthusiastic reviews and nearly went gold on the strength of the M...

Shindig on the Green

  • Sep 5
  • 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...