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2016 Spring Music Festival Guide 

A look at 28 events happening around the region

Warmer weather means outdoor concerts and festivals all over the country, and world, for that matter. While Charlotte has a handful of fests to call its own -- Carolina Rebellion, Reverb Fest and Tuck Fest among them -- there are plenty of others within driving distance that are worth a daytrip or weekend getaway. From indie rock and rockabilly events only a short drive away in Winston-Salem to country and good-vibes rock on the Carolina coast to multi-day getaways in Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee. Some festivals allow for camping, some require hotel stays (unless you have cool friends who allow couch-crashing) and some are close enough to return to the comfort of your own bed. Events such as these are a great way to catch a wide variety of performers for one ticket price -- sure, it often makes for a long day (or days) but it's not often that you get to see so many quality acts on one bill. 'Tis the season to be fest-ive.

RHYTHM N BLOOMS

WHEN: April 8-10

WHERE: Knoxville, Tennessee

HEADLINERS: Mutemath, The Mavericks, Robert Randolph & The Family Band

DON'T MISS: The Lone Bellow, Paleface, American Aquarium

COST: $35 day passes; $75 weekend pass; $150 VIP

MORE INFO: www.rhythmnbloomsfest.com/


CALIFORNIA ROOTS

WHEN: April 9

WHERE: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

HEADLINERS: 311, Soja

COST: $70-$145

MORE INFO: californiarootscarolina.com


click to enlarge A look at the Bailey Park stage at Phuzz Phest 2015. - JONATHAN PFUNDSTEIN
  • Jonathan Pfundstein
  • A look at the Bailey Park stage at Phuzz Phest 2015.

PHUZZ PHEST

WHEN: April 15-16

WHERE: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: Neon Indian, Chairlift, Thee Oh Sees, White Denim

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The sixth annual edition of the festival offers more than 50 bands within walking distance of each other. Each night, the show starts at 7 and the last bands kick off around midnight.

DON'T MISS: Lera Lynn, Spirit System, Yuck, Charlotte's own Miami Dice.

COST: $35-$60

MORE INFO: phuzzphest.com


SOUTHERN GROUND MUSIC & FOOD FESTIVAL

WHEN: April 16-17

WHERE: Charleston, South Carolina

HEADLINERS: Zac Brown Band, Thomas Rhett, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hunter Hayes

DON'T MISS: Kacey Musgraves, Michael Franti & Spearhead

COST: $115-$189

MORE INFO: southerngroundfestival.com


CRAFT BEER AND BURGER FEST

WHEN: April 16

WHERE: AvidXchange Music Factory

HEADLINERS: Truckstop Preachers, Ancient Cities, Bubonik Funk, Sinners & Saints

COST: $45

MORE INFO: mooandbrewfest.com


SWEETWATER 420 FEST

WHEN: April 22-24

WHERE: Atlanta, Georgia

HEADLINERS: Kid Rock, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Bastille

DON'T MISS: The Roots, Cypress Hill, Maceo Parker

COST: $42 single day; $123 weekend passes; $135/$338 VIP

MORE INFO: www.sweetwater420fest.com


TUCK FEST

WHEN: April 22-24

WHERE: U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte

HEADLINERS: St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Langhorne Slim, Dawes

COST: Free

MORE INFO: www.tuckfest.org


click to enlarge Fans gather around a side stage for the mandolin jam at MerleFest. - JEFF HAHNE
  • Jeff Hahne
  • Fans gather around a side stage for the mandolin jam at MerleFest.

MERLEFEST

WHEN: April 28-May 1

WHERE: Wilkesboro, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, John Oates

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Located on the rolling campus of Wilkes Community College, MerleFest is an alcohol- and tobacco-free family-friendly setting featuring plenty of folk, bluegrass and Americana to go around.

DON'T MISS: Brandi Carlile, Dave Rawlings Machine, Penny & Sparrow

COST: $45-$65 day passes;$145 weekend pass; $165+ four-day pass

MORE INFO: merlefest.org


FRENCH BROAD RIVER FESTIVAL

WHEN: April 29-May 1

WHERE: Hot Springs, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

DON'T MISS: Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project, Screaming Js

COST: $100 weekend pass includes camping

MORE INFO: frenchbroadriverfestival.com


SHAKORI HILLS GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 5-8

WHERE: Pittsboro, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: Punch Brothers, Locos Por Juana, Donna the Buffalo

COST: $27-$37 day passes; $114 weekend passes; extra for camping

MORE INFO: shakorihillsgrassroots.org


6th ANNUAL NORTH CAROLINA BREWERS & MUSIC FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 6-7

WHERE: Rural Hill, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: The Travelin' McCourys, Della Mae

COST: $16-$42; extra for camping

MORE INFO: www.ncbrewsmusic.com


click to enlarge Crowds swarm in front of one of the main stages at Carolina Rebellion. - JEFF HAHNE
  • Jeff Hahne
  • Crowds swarm in front of one of the main stages at Carolina Rebellion.

CAROLINA REBELLION

WHEN: May 6-8

WHERE: Charlotte Motor Speedway

HEADLINERS: Scorpions, Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: If you like hard rock and heavy metal, this is the fest for you. From the elder statesmen like Scorpions and Alice Cooper to newer acts and Warped Tour leftovers like Bring Me the Horizon and Enter Shikari, Carolina Rebellion is a long weekend with a broad range within the genre. This year, it's expanded to three days.

DON'T MISS: Clutch, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper

COST: $119.50 single-day tickets; $145+ for two-day passes; $189+ weekend passes

MORE INFO: carolinarebellion.com


ART OF COOL FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 6-8

WHERE: Downtown Durham

HEADLINERS: Terence Blanchard, The Internet

DON'T MISS: Kamasi Washington, 9th Wonder

COST: $50 day passes; $145+ VIP passes

MORE INFO: www.aocfestival.org


LAID BACK FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 7

WHERE: Lakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta

HEADLINERS: Gregg Allman, ZZ Top

COST: $32-$112

MORE INFO: www.laidbackfest.com


42nd ANNUAL LEAF FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 12-15

WHERE: Black Mountain, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: Juan de Marcos & the Afro-Cuban Allstars, Shovels & Rope, Sarah Jarosz

COST: Day passes start at $37; weekend passes $146+

MORE INFO: www.theleaf.org/the-festival


SHAKY KNEES FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 13-15

WHERE: Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta

HEADLINERS: Florence & The Machine, My Morning Jacket, Jane's Addiction

DON'T MISS: At the Drive-In, The Kills, Shakey Graves, Baroness, Kaleo

COST: $97 day passes; $215 weekend passes

MORE INFO: www.shakykneesfestival.com


AIKEN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

WHEN: May 13-14

WHERE: Aiken Fairgrounds, South Carolina

HEADLINERS: Larry Keel Experience, Keller Williams

COST: $20-$30 day passes; $50 weekend passes; camping is extra

MORE INFO: aikenbluegrassfestival.org


click to enlarge The inaugural Reverb Fest was held in 2014 at the Neighborhood Theatre. - JEFF HAHNE
  • Jeff Hahne
  • The inaugural Reverb Fest was held in 2014 at the Neighborhood Theatre.

REVERB FEST

WHEN: May 14

WHERE: Snug Harbor

HEADLINER: Alex G.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Because Charlotte needs a good fest to call its own and this one's been solid from the start. Founder Phil Pucci brings in the lesser-known acts that you should already be aware of and pairs them with talented locals for a stacked bill.

DON'T MISS: Everyone else who's performing — from Landless and Black Market to Patabamba and Miami Dice.

COST: $12/$15

MORE INFO: www.facebook.com/ReverbFestClt


MOOGFEST

WHEN: May 19-22

WHERE: Durham

HEADLINERS: Odesza, Miike Snow, Grimes, GZA, Gary Numan

DON'T MISS: Sun O))), Daniel Lanois, Made of Oak, Reggie Watts, Well$

COST: $249 weekend pass

MORE INFO: www.moogfest.com


SHAKY BEATS

WHEN: May 20-22

WHERE: Centennial Olympic Park

HEADLINERS: Odesza, Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Nas, Porter Robinson

COST: $77-$93 day; $162-$185 weekend

MORE INFO: www.shakybeatsfestival.com


DRUMSTRONG

WHEN: May 21

WHERE:Misty Meadows Farm, Weddington, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: The Kruger Brothers

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Aside from being a fantastic festival for a great cause, it's also DrumStrong's 10th anniversary. It's not about a bunch of people hammering away on drums with no purpose. For many of the participants, the drum beat symbolizes their beating heart, or the beating heart of a loved one who is locked in a battle with cancer, or a survivor. The message here is just as important as the music.

DON'T MISS: Jeff Sipe Trio, Kevin 'Kalimbaman' Spears, Tracy Thornton and the Steel Drum Orchestra

COST: $25 individual; $50 family; $75 VIP

MORE INFO: drumstrong.org


ROOSTER WALK

WHEN: May 26-29

WHERE: Martinsville, Virginia

HEADLINERS: Lettuce, Sam Bush, Perpetual Groove

COST: $25+ for day passes; $110+ for weekend passes; camping is extra

MORE INFO: www.roosterwalk.com


22ND ANNUAL CIRCLE K AND KANGAROO SPEED STREET PRESENTED BY COCA-COLA

WHEN: May 26-28

WHERE: Uptown Charlotte

HEADLINERS: The Band Perry, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler

COST: $15-$20

MORE INFO: 600festival.com


click to enlarge Fans soak in the sun and sounds from one of the side stages at Bonnaroo in 2013. - JEFF HAHNE
  • Jeff Hahne
  • Fans soak in the sun and sounds from one of the side stages at Bonnaroo in 2013.

BONNAROO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL

WHEN: June 9-12

WHERE: Manchester, Tennessee

HEADLINERS: Pearl Jam, Dead & Co., LCD Soundsystem

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: "The Farm," as they call it, becomes its own city for the duration of the weekend as tens of thousands of Roo'ers flood the grounds and make it home for four days. Aside from all of the incredible music at just about all hours of the day — plan on very little sleep and lots of sunscreen — there's plenty of other activities to check out. Among the attractions are a beer garden, a fountain and waterslide, a ferris wheel, artisans and plenty of food. I recommend the Amish donuts and pesto mozzadilla. (You can thank me later.)

DON'T MISS: Tame Impala, Ween, Superjam, Big Grams, Leon Bridges, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Kurt Vile, Lucius, Sara Watkins, Kamasi Washington, Clutch. Find time to cool off in the Comedy Tent, too. The best part of Bonnaroo is having the opportunity to check out plenty of bands you've never heard of before throughout the day.

COST: $349.50 for a weekend pass; $1598.50 for VIP

MORE INFO: bonnaroo.com


click to enlarge One of the main stages at Carolina Country Music Fest sits with its back to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • One of the main stages at Carolina Country Music Fest sits with its back to the Atlantic Ocean.

CAROLINA COUNTRY MUSIC FEST

WHEN: June 10-12

WHERE: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

HEADLINERS: Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Located just off the beach, CCMF features plenty of today's biggest pop-country starts and a handful of up-and-coming artists that are worth seeking out. Oh, and did we mention it's just off the beach?

DON'T MISS: A Thousand Horses, Kelsea Ballerini (more than 30 still to be announced)

COST: $179 weekend pass; $349 VIP

MORE INFO: carolinacountrymusicfest.com


HEAVY REBEL WEEKENDER

WHEN: July 1-3

WHERE: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

COST: $40; $90 weekend pass

MORE INFO: www.heavyrebel.net


RED WING ROOTS FESTIVAL

WHEN: July 8-10

WHERE: Mt. Solon, Virginia

HEADLINERS: Dawes, Shovels & Rope

COST: $129 weekend pass; camping is extra

MORE INFO: www.redwingroots.com


THE BIG WHAT?

WHEN: July 21-23

WHERE: Mebane, North Carolina

HEADLINERS: Big Something, The Werks

COST: $90 weekend pass; $220 VIP

MORE INFO: www.thebigwhat.com


FLOYDFEST

WHEN: July 27-31

WHERE: Floyd, Virginia

HEADLINERS: Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby, Leftover Salmon

DON'T MISS: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Anders Osborne, Otis Taylor Band, Bombino,

COST: $215 five-day pass; $195 four-day pass; $175 three-day pass; $85 single-day pass

MORE INFO: www.floydfest.com

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