Musicians gravitate to Asheville from all over to take advantage of one of the most eclectic music scenes in the country. From Blue Grass to Celtic, Blues, Reggae and classical, you’ll see it all on the streets, at the music festivals, in the clubs and in the concert halls of Asheville. With some of the best music venues, Asheville draws some big names that you might not expect for a city our size performing concerts in surprisingly intimate settings. Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Damien Rich, Flaming Lips, Blondie and Bonnie Raitt have all played here. Bob Dylan and David Byrne with St. Vincent were here just recently. Some of our guests even got to go back stage and talk to David Byrne and St. Vincent and get some very unique autographs.
The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club has a rich history of bringing headliners to the region and is nationally recognized. The US Cellular Center (previously the Civic Center) also attracts nationally known acts. But smaller venues abound as well with jams at local pubs like Jack of the Wood. Music and local ale from Asheville’s abundant craft brewers. What could be better?
The area’s traditional music springs from the Scottish, English and Irish early settlers of the western NC mountains. Our traditional Appalachian Music roots can still be seen here with a summer concert tradition, Shindig on the Green. At sundown every Saturday from July to September you’ll see free traditional blue grass music and dancing in Pack Square Park. It’s been called “the back porch on stage”. One very unique and unforgettable Asheville music tradition is The Drum Circle.
The percussion of African American slaves’ songs had a great influence on Appalachian Folk music so it shouldn’t be surprising to see little Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown Asheville pulsing with a couple hundred drummers and dancers every Friday night, but it is! And it’s just a lot of fun. On Thurday nights in the same park a very different kind of free concert takes place. Homegrown in Pritchard features local singer-songwriters from June through August and there is lots of great homegrown talent here! Another ongoing free outdoor concert series in the summer is Downtown After 5. Taking place the 3rd Friday of the month from May through September on Lexington Avenue this is it’s 25th Anniversary Season.
Music Festivals are also a great place to enjoy live music in Asheville. The largest, Bele Chere takes place at the end of July. The 86th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival will be at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place on August 1st-3rd. The famed Biltmore Estate hosts a summer concert season with big names like Cheryl Crow, Casting Crowns, and The Beach Boys. And the Brevard Summer Music Festival is not far from Asheville. Joshua Bell will be performing June 29th with Keith Lockhart conducting. There is just unending variety to the music choices here. Enjoy the season with us!