Music festivals: April festivals in North Carolina including MerleFest, Cuegrass Festival and more

Bela Fleck and his wife Abigail Washburn.Scott Sharpe

Festival season is kicking into high gear this month.

There’s something practically each weekend here and across the state, including one of the state’s largest, MerleFest, the last weekend of April.

Here’s a look at what’s going on:

Beach Fest

Beach Fest in Selma, in its fifth year, will present Jim Quick and Coastline, The Embers, Band of Oz and Chairmen of the Board April 14. The show at The Farm, a special events venue just off Interstate 95, begins at noon. Food trucks will also be onsite. $20. Info:


The North Carolina ’Cuegrass Festival is a week later, celebrating music and barbecue in downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District. The April 21 event has grown for its 10th year to present bands on two stages. ’Cuegrass is put on by The Pit restaurant and is a benefit for the SAFEchild child abuse prevention agency and the Junior League of Raleigh’s BackPack Buddies program, which sends weekend meals home with needy schoolchildren.

Scheduled performers from noon to 6 p.m. include Summer Brooke and The Mountain Faith Band, Old Habits, Barefoot Manner Bluegrass and five more acts, plus the “Beer & Banjos Jam.” $5; barbecue and drinks, including beer, extra. Info:


MerleFest gathers about 125 mostly Americana and bluegrass acts in Wilkesboro April 26-29 for a festival that is a fundraiser for the host Wilkes Community College.

The 31st annual tribute to Merle Watson and the Doc Watson family presents its strongest lineup in years, with Kris Kristofferson, Steep Canyon Rangers & Friends with special guest Steve Martin, Jamey Johnson, Rhiannon Giddens, The Mavericks, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, and Robert Earl Keen just scratching the surface. Daily admission is $50-$70; four-day passes are $180-$260 with prices to rise. Info:

Other festivals

Big Lick Bluegrass Festival: April 12-14 in Oakboro with The Malpass Brothers, Sideline, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, and six more. Daily $10-$35, youth discounts; three-day pass $75. Camping with limited hookups. Info:

Loaded Up and Truckin’ in Hendersonville: April 14-15 with Donna the Buffalo, River Whyless, Front Country, and four more. The festival is also a competitive food truck rodeo. $30 in advance, $40 day of show; $65 to taste and judge food; camping $20 and $100. Info:

Songsmith Gathering: April 21 at the Brevard Music Center, Brevard, with The Wood Brothers, Darrell Scott, Nicki Bluhm, and eight more. $35 lawn, $50 covered amphitheater.

Find additional information about these and more April music festivals in North Carolina at



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