8 Off the Beaten Path Festivals in the Southeast

Perhaps Coachella sold out before you could say Beyoncé, you just can’t imagine fighting the crowds at Bonnaroo for one more year, or maybe you’d rather hang out riverside than beachside. No matter what the reason, we understand your desire for an intimate (but still larger than life) music experience this summer, so we picked eight of our favorite festivals in the Southeast that make for the perfect weekend getaway. Many involve camping, some are by the water, a few encourage family attendance, and all are worth checking out.

Throw on your most comfortable pair of Chacos, pack your backpack with breathable clothes and sunscreen, stock up on water, and head to a music festival (or all eight, we won’t judge) for an unbeatable time in the great outdoors. These no-frills festivals might be a bit off the beaten path, but that’s all part of the fun. And don’t worry—we included a few traveling and packing tips to help you out along the way.

1. MerleFest

When: April 27-30, 2017** Where: Wilkesboro, NC**

Designed with a focus on music, moments, and memories, this North Carolina festival is one not to be missed. First-time visitors and seasoned festival goers groove alongside each other while some of the best acts in Southern music belt one out. Sounds of the Appalachian region and Americana, country, blues, and rock flood the four-day festival. Last year, outstanding performances were giving by Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and John Prine—and this year’s lineup rivals that of years past. Make your way to the front of the crowds for The Avett Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Chatham County Line.

MerleFest does not offer an on-site camping experience, but you will still spend plenty of time strolling between the thirteen different spots to hear music. Keep your feet comfortable from all that walking in a pair of Chaco Fallons, and pack a blanket to set up shop at the different shows.

2. FloydFest

When: July 26-30, 2017** Where: Floyd, VA**

Floyd, a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia, comes to life in the spring. The mountain town becomes a listening room dedicate to an eclectic collection of music from groups like Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Steel Pulse, and Leftover Salmon. Cure what ails you by breathing the fresh mountain air and enjoying five days of music.

Take advantage of FloydFest’s surroundings by taking a dip in Little River, hopping on a mountain bike, playing a round of disc golf, or exploring the hiking trails. If you make the most of the weekend, you will be covering different terrain, so slide into a pair of Chaco’s Z/2 Classic sandals but be sure to bring a pair of warm socks to keep your toes toasty at night.

3. Front Porch Fest

When: August 31 – September 3** Where: Patrick County, VA**

If you weren’t able to make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains for FloydFest in July, or you need an excuse to return, The Front Porch Fest will welcome you to the mountain region with open arms. Front Porch is put on each year by a group of friends and family, which means the kiddos are welcome at this one. For the four days before Labor Day, the 130-acre Spirithaven Farm will become home to stand-out acts and music lovers. Check out groups like Big Daddy Love (a non-traditional string quartet) or Danger Muffin (known for breezy melodies). Let your life be enriched by art in this intimate setting, just as the founders of the festival intended.

The festival’s organizers encourage you to bring all of your friends, toilet paper, an open mind, and extra shoes. Consider easy-going friends, soft toilet paper, and a pair of Chaco’s ZX/3 Classics.

4. Aiken Bluegrass Festival

When: May 12-13, 2017** Where: Aiken, SC**

With nothing but a love of partying and a love of bluegrass, this festival was born. The two-day Aiken Bluegrass Festival may seem short compared to others of its kind, but the selection of bands is one not to miss, as differing styles and traditions of bluegrass music will take the stage each day. Whether you’re a first-timer or a longtime ticket holder, everyone around you will feel like a close friend as you bond over the 10-band lineup. If you are a lover of bluegrass, Aiken Bluegrass Festival is the one for you.

Pups are welcomed, camping is preferred, and Chaco’s Maya sandals are recommended.

5. Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival

When: September 23-24, 2017** Where: Franklin, TN**

New to the music fest scene, the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival has quickly grown into a must-attend event. We’re not sure if it’s past performances from Willie Nelson and Grace Potter or hopeful sightings of Justin Timberlake, but this festival has piqued our interest. The Park at Harlinsdale is a century-old horse farm in Middle Tennessee and it makes for a stunning setting for music listening. The lineup is always packed with big names but the festival offers a small-town feel.

The festival-goers guest list includes everyone from fashionistas to kiddos to Franklin-natives. So don your best festival attire (including a pair of Chaco’s Aubrey shoes) and plan to walk into the small town of Franklin to dine with the locals after the show.

6. River and Roots

When: June 23-25, 2017** Where: Berryville, VA**

Genres are not separated, but rather celebrated for their similarities and differences at River and Roots, where the lines between Americana, bluegrass, folk, and blues blur. The masses will not only flock to the main stage but also to the fiddle camp, band and pickin’ contests, and the nearby Shenandoah River during the weekend. The good people at River and Roots promise you great music and plenty of opportunities to join in on the fun of playing.

Pack your banjo for this one, show off your skills, and stroll from the campsite to the stage in a pair of Chaco’s Fallon sandals.

7. Shaky Knees Music Festival

When: May 12-14, 2017** Where: Atlanta, GA**

Who's ready to hang with Zeus again?! ⚡️🙋🏼 #shakykneesfest #shakyknees #atlanta #musicfestival

A post shared by Shaky Knees Festival (@shakykneesfest) on

Each year, Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is transformed into music madness with more than 60 bands for Shaky Knees Music Festival. There is nary a quiet moment during the festival’s three-day run and the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Cage the Elephant, Pixies, The XX, Moon Taxi, Ryan Adams, and The Shins are sure to keep things interesting.

During the festival, you will be strolling the streets of Atlanta, so wear something comfortable. Most people are not in your typical festival wear so ladies can kick things up a notch by pairing Chaco’s leather sandals with a stylish-but-breathable dress.

8. Tallulah Fest

When: March 31 – April 1, 2017** Where: Chattooga River Resort**

Although Tallulah Fest promises some of the best whiskey drinkin’ and one of the best boot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ lineups of handmade music anywhere in the Southeast, the festival offers more than just music. Thrill seekers can spend some time in their kayaks and outdoor enthusiasts can set up camp for a few days. Partake in the fun by enjoying the thrill of the class V paddling (if you’re up for that level rapid), or play it safe by setting up camp to catch stellar views of the action. You can also take advantage of the hiking and biking trails and fishing on the Wild and Scenic Chattanooga River.

Plan to get wet—and have a ball in the process. Don’t forget to pack a quick-drying towel, bathing suit, dry bag, and waterproof sandals.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Originally written by RootsRated for Outdoor Sports Marketing.

Featured image provided by Photo courtesy of Chaco

, ,

Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville November 14-20

Choose and Cut Your Own Christmas Tree near Asheville
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for you home and have a great holiday outing at one of the “choose and cut” Christmas Tree Farms near Asheville. You select the tree…they cut it, bale it and tie it on your vehicle or you can use their bowsaws and cut it yourself! Check out the great list of local tree farms provided by RomanticAsheville!

Step Out + Shop for Diana Wortham Theatre at Diamond Brand Outdoors
November 17 at 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Road
In its sixth year, Step Out & Shop is a way to support Asheville’s finest theatre in a very easy way. Get started on your holiday shopping (or grab some things for yourself) with a storewide 20% discount! At the end of the night, we’ll donate 10% of all store sales to the Diana Wortham Theatre to support live performances of music, theatre, and dance throughout the year. There will also be lots of fun giveaways and prizes, as well as live music and light bites.
Fee: Free

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum
November 18 – January 1, Nightly at 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
The North Carolina Arboretum’s elaborate Winter Lights show returns, transforming the gardens into a nighttime wonderland with 500,000 lights! Stroll through spectacular lighted displays and see the gardens in a completely new way. Designed with an artistic aesthetic, The Winter Lights show enhances the natural beauty of the gardens as you celebrate the holidays.
Fee: Prices Vary

Asheville Holiday Parade
November 19 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm in Downtown Asheville
This year’s theme is Light Up the Holidays: Celebrating 70 Years. The parade features nearly 100 entries including marching bands, dance and cheer squads, nonprofits and businesses. Parade entries include a little something for everyone with decorated floats, adoptable pets from area rescue organizations, the Honored Veterans float, live music, performances, and Santa Claus.
Fee: Free

Native Watercraft + Liquidlogic Factory Warehouse Sale at Diamond Brand (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Locally made, international boat companies, Native and Liquid Logic are also hosting their first ever factory warehouse sale that day at Diamond Brand Outdoors. Current and previous season boats are going to be priced below wholesale including some models which have never been available in our area. DBO’s also offering special packages and discounts on boating accessories for the day to make sure you’re ready to hit the water. Now is the time to get the deal of a lifetime on a kayak made right here in your backyard!

Birds of Prey Demonstration at Dimond Brand Outdoors (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Steve Longenecker of Falconers of Falling Creek Camp will host his popular Birds of Prey presentation with live raptors including a Peregrine, male and female American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Haw, Great-Horned Owl, and an Eastern Screech Owl. This is always a popular event so plan to arrive early for the best seats.
Fee: Free

Birds of Prey Asheville Raptor Presentation

Marmot + RootsRated Fall in Love with the Outside Road Tour at Diamond Brand Outdoors (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at Diamond Brand Outdoors on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Marmot and RootsRated have traveled to 30 different cities around the country on their tour, but together with Diamond Brand Outdoors, are planning something very special for Asheville. Diamond Brand Outdoors is teaming up with these popular brands to celebrate everything great about the outdoors with a day of live music, tent pitching contests, Marmot gear raffles, s’mores, apple cider, outdoor trivia, a photo booth, and good ole’ conversations about where to go outdoors, with 100% of donations benefiting the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. 
Fee: A suggested $5 donation will get you hot cider, a Ball® mason jar, and entry into the awesome raffles

 

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Win Tickets to the Kruger Brothers

Orange Peel Events welcomes the Kruger Brothers to the Sanctuary at Central Methodist Church (27 Church St in Downtown Asheville) on Friday, June 24, at 8pm. Frugal Backpacker is giving away a pair of tickets to see the bluegrass/folk/classical ensemble, with a portion of the proceeds benefitingWild South, a wonderful regional non-profit that works to promote and protect wild lands.

(( ENTER HERE ))

Seated concerts at the Sanctuary are intimate experiences, open to less than 700 guests and featuring a fully seated, climate-controlled concert setting with knock-your-socks-off acoustics. Food and drink is not allowed inside this historic space, but stay tuned for more information about a fun Asheville-style reception open to ticket holders outside on tree-lined Church Street before doors open at 7pm on June 24. This show begins at 8pm and tickets are open to all ages. Don’t forget to stop by Diamond Brand Outdoors in Downtown Asheville before heading to the show to make sure you’re outfitted in summer style.

In 2013, the Kruger Brothers appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing their instrumental piece “Jack of the Wood” — named after Asheville’s very own Jack of the Wood! — accompanied by Steve Martin, who played clawhammer banjo. Jens Kruger, the band’s banjo player, has been described as, “one of the world’s most musically sophisticated and technically accomplished five-string banjo players.” In 2013 he won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. Here’s a clip of that performance.

(( ENTER HERE ))