2023 Events and Festivals in Asheville, NC
By Jason Tarr
2023 Asheville Festivals, Events & Exhibits at a Glance
Which fest is the best? Here are top choices for Asheville festivals, events and exhibits happening in Asheville in 2023.
Truly one of the great things about Asheville is that no matter what time of year you visit, there’s a good chance you’ll find a festival or event taking place either in the streets of downtown, by the banks of the French Broad River or tucked away in a remote mountain meadow. Ashevillians love a good party and with so many celebrations planned throughout the year, it’s no wonder why this place was dubbed "the happiest city in America."
The following list is a mere sampling of some of the best mountain music jamborees, foodie-fueled fiestas and artsy adventures you’ll find throughout the year in the Asheville area. Choosing which one to attend may seem a challenge at first, but with such a diverse mix of festivals, events and special exhibits you’re sure to find one to suit your style.
April 1 - May 25, 2023
Welcome spring in high style with more than 130,000 flowers blooming in gardens fit for a Vanderbilt. At Biltmore Blooms, the estate's annual festival of flowers, the color and fragrance of orchids and thousands of spring bulbs steal the show.
Asheville Bread Festival
April 22 - 23, 2023
After a three-year hiatus, the Asheville Bread Festival returns in 2023. This two-day event is an opportunity for bread enthusiasts and professional bakers to break bread together, improve their baking skills, share ideas, and network within the artisan bread community.
Asheville Amadeus Festival (Asheville Symphony Orchestra)
May 11 - 20, 2023
From music to dance, from theater to beer, Asheville takes center stage during the Asheville Amadeus Festival. The Asheville Symphony hosts the 10-day festival, which runs May 11 - 20, 2023, and will celebrate the many shades of Americana music, from bluegrass, jazz, and classical to pop, rock and folk. While the festival is inspired by the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the music you’ll hear represents many genres, so the festival is fit for all musical tastes and ages.
May 26 - 28, 2023
GRINDFest is a free, three-day festival that celebrates Black freedom, as well as the success of Black entrepreneurs + business owners in Asheville. Held in the River Arts District, the celebration includes a weekend full of music, live performances, food, local vendors + learning opportunities.
Other Asheville spring festivals: Connect Beyond Festival, Peace Gardens & Market Annual Spring Fling, Asheville Herb Festival, Get in Gear Festival and LEAF Retreat
June 10, 2023
Downtown Asheville comes alive with the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes and extraordinary talent of Latin America. Don't miss the delicious food vendors and shopping.
Asheville Ideas Fest
June 13 - 17, 2023
Innovative thinkers and inspiring speakers will descend on UNC-Asheville in June for the second annual Asheville Ideas Fest.
July 20-23, 2023
Formerly known as the Asheville Yoga Festival, LoveShinePlay is a four-day event held in downtown that includes an expansive schedule of more than 70 styles of offerings, including Bhakti and anatomy, Kundalini and Yin, and everything in between. Attendees can experience lectures on practical astrology, Ayurvedic yoga classes, yin yoga and story time, plus classes and concerts from DJ Drez and MC Yogi. Classes will be located around Asheville in hotels, community centers, and outdoor stages alongside a downtown marketplace that features 60-plus hand-selected vendors offering high-quality wellness products. You’ll also find food trucks, free community events and outdoor spaces to rest.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
July 20 - 23, 2023
Showcasing the finest artwork of nearly 200 craftspeople from around the region, this four-day festival offers a unique opportunity to watch artists practice their craft in live demonstrations. Live music also helps set the stage for this event, which features work across every medium, including clay, glass, fiber, paper, wood, jewelry, leather, and metal. If you can't attend the summer event, make plans to attend the fall festival, October 19 - 22, 2023.
Mountain Dance and Folk Festival
August 3 - 5, 2023
Hailed as the nation’s longest running folk festival, this is the preeminent event for old-time and bluegrass music. Here, ballad singers, banjo players and cloggers converge to tell stories of a by-gone era through their music and dance, and by doing so they continue to preserve our classic Southern Appalachian culture. If you can’t make it for this annual August event, you may be able to catch a summer showing of Shindig on the Green, a smaller, yet just as lively, concert series held for free on select Saturdays in downtown Asheville.
August 3 - 6, 2023
Asheville welcomes a new music-filled festival this year, AVL Fest! This multi-day music and arts festival kicks off in August and will be a celebration of Asheville's thriving arts and culture scene. Asheville's many local concert halls, clubs and outdoor venues will be featuring amazing lineups of local, regional and national talent.
Other Asheville summer festivals: Downtown After 5, Skyview Golf Tournament, Asheville Comedy Festival and Sourwood Festival.
September 1 - 3, 2023
For more than 40 years, this annual celebration of African-Caribbean food and music has filled downtown Asheville with memorable flavors and the sounds of gospel, reggae, funk and soul.
Blue Ride Pride Festival
September 30, 2023
Y'all means all in Asheville! The Blue Ridge Pride Festival comes together to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through inclusion, entertainment, education, art and more. Held in downtown Asheville, the annual event features a Welcome Parade, musical acts, food and dozens of vendors.
Asheville Art in the Park
October 7, 14 & 21, 2023
Explore and purchase artwork by some of the finest artists in the region. Asheville Art in the Park takes place on three consecutive Saturdays in downtown Asheville in October. Some of the local artists who exhibit at these events are nationally-known. Not only can you take home a one-of-a-kind piece, when you make a purchase you'll also be helping to support a local art non-profit organization.
October 14, 2023
The ninth annual CiderFest NC fundraiser features ample tastings of hard cider, mead and apple wine, along with artisanal food, live music, workshops, a kids zone, and more located along the scenic French Broad River.
October 19-22, 2023
Travel the word -- through music and the arts! Enjoy the 50th anniversary of LEAF through a spirited celebration of our local and global community. Stages are more elaborate with headline performers and global artists. This is the fun filled weekend with activities bursting at the seams that our community has come to know and love.
Other Asheville fall festivals: ASAP Farm Tour, Greek Festival, Asheville VeganFest, Krafthaus and Fall by the Tracks Festival
Christmas at Biltmore
November 3, 2023 - January 7, 2024
See stunning decorations at America's largest home. Nearly 100 hand-decorated Christmas trees, include a 35-foot fraser fir in the Banquet Hall, transform the home for the holidays. In the evenings, Biltmore glows with candlelight and firelight for Candlelight Christmas Evenings (separate admission). Step back in time and experience Biltmore much like the Vanderbilt's did during their first Christmas Eve in 1895! See our Christmas at Biltmore guide for more information.
Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
November 17, 2023 - January 7, 2024
Nearly one million lights illuminate the nationally-known gardens creating a whimsical winter wonderland. Along the self-guided walking tour, see magical glowing natural landscapes including the popular Quilt Garden and 50-foot animated tree! Tickets must be purchased in advance. Check out our guide to Winter Lights for tips on visiting.
Dickens in the Village
December 1 - 2, 2023
The beautiful, historic district of Biltmore Village transports you back in time to the days of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol! The Old World Dickens in the Village Festival is an immersive holiday experience featuring performances by strolling carolers, actors and musicians dressed in costume.
Other Asheville winter festivals: Lake Julian Festival of Lights, Asheville Restaurant Week and Asheville Celtic Fest.