Posted on: April 28, 2022 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0

Last Updated on May 15, 2023

Don’t miss these 24 popular summer festivals:
Shindig on the Green

There’s always something to do in Western North Carolina, and that’s never more true than during summer festival season. Our region hosts special events throughout the summer months that draw crowds of locals and visitors alike for family fun.

Enjoy fun in the sun for the whole family! Don’t miss these popular summer festivals around WNC.

Downtown After 5

April 15–September 16, 2022 @ 5:00–9:30PM | Downtown Asheville

The 34th season of Downtown After 5 returns to downtown Asheville the third Friday of the month from April to September. DTA5 is held on North Lexington Avenue, and events are free and open to the public. Headliners include Sanctum Sully, Free Radio, Sister Ivy, and Who’s Bad. New this year: The festival starts earlier than ever with an April date. Did you catch it? Enjoy plenty of local yumminess from food vendors. Wristbands and alcohol sales benefit local nonprofits.

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LEAF Festival ReTreat

May 12–15, 2022 | Lake Eden, Black Mountain

Retreats are for renewal, reconnectioning, learning, and being happy. LEAF’s ReTreat focuses on being in a beautiful secluded place with less than 1/5 the attendee size of Festival while maintaining the same 300-acre footprint. This gives you the feeling of having the place to yourself, creating more small groups, and connecting with nature and the outdoors. Stages are open air, smaller, and more intimate. Tickets are limited to 1,500 people; you must be a LEAF Member to buy tickets.

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Rhythm & Brews Concert Series

May 19–September 15, 2022 @ 5:30–9:30PM | Hendersonville

Main Street Hendersonville’s Rhythm & Brews Concert Series brings together live music, local craft beverages, and the community. These free shows take place on the third Thursday of every month from May–September, closing part of South Main Street to make room for all the fun. Local food trucks line the street to offer delicious eats, from kettle corn to pizza to barbecue. Each show begins with an opener at 5:30PM, followed by the headlining performance from 7:30–9:30PM. Doors open at 5:15PM. 

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Saluda Arts Festival

May 21, 2022 @ 10:00AM–4:00PM | Downtown Saluda

For 16 years, the Saluda Arts Festival has drawn thousands of area residents and visitors to shop and enjoy a spring day in the mountains. After a two-year hiatus, the Saluda Arts Festival returns this spring to Saluda’s historic downtown. This small-town festival offers big-time fun, with an outdoor market of arts and crafts vendors, demonstrations, and live music. Come out to see approximately 85 artists from the Carolinas and Tennessee. You will also be able to enjoy children’s activities and live music.

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Asheville Beer Week

May 27–June 5, 2022 | Downtown Asheville and beyond

AVL Beer Week 2022 is doing double duty this year. In addition to their formative focus on those visiting Asheville, the event is celebrating with an eye to locals and WNC’s post-COVID road to resilience. Expect old favorites like tastings, dinners, and discussions, along with a new and creative outlook in a conscientious and still rebounding pandemic era. Lean into the WNC lifestyle of the outdoors, good beer, good food, and good people as we journey forward to AVL Beer Week’s triumphant return.

13th Annual Concerts on the Creek Series

May 27–September 2, 2022 @ 7:00–9:00PM | Sylva

These mountains are known as much for the music that comes out of them as they are for their picturesque vistas, cascading waterfalls, and alluring trails. The Town of Sylva, Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce team up to produce the Concerts on the Creek series at the Bridge Park gazebo in Sylva every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. That’s 15 Fridays of Concerts on the Creek, with the Fireworks Festivities and concert on Monday, July 4 sprinkled in for good measure. These events are free with donations encouraged. Bring a chair or blanket. 

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Carl Sandburg Music Festival

Goat barn at Carl Sandburg Memorial Home

May 30, 2022 | Flat Rock

This music festival celebrates American music as Carl Sandburg recorded it in his book, The American Songbag. Compiling and publishing The American Songbag was one of the most difficult projects Sandburg took on during his life. It is a collection of 280 songs—songs of the country, the prairie, war, jail, cities, love, death, and a little nonsense. Today, the Carl Sandburg Music Festival celebrates his work and the work of modern singers and songwriters by sharing diverse and original American music.

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White Squirrel Weekend

June 3–4, 2022 | Main Street, Brevard

White Squirrel 2022 is back with the festivities all weekend, including the NC Guitar Celebration at the Brevard Music Center. WNC native, renowned guitarist, and festival host Bryan Sutton has curated an A-list lineup of musicians for a concert celebration of the acoustic guitar. On Sunday, visitors are invited downtown to enjoy businesses offering curated promotions, brunch specials, music, and artists demonstrations. Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to register for the 18th annual WNC Flyer Road race hosted at Oskar Blues Brewery.

Cold Mountain Music Festival

June 4, 2022 @ 1:00PM | Lake Logan

Cold Mountain Music Festival features top-notch musical talent, amazing local food and drink vendors, family-friendly activities, and more, all in one of the most pristine settings imaginable. The centerpiece of the almost-300-acre property is a mile-long lake surrounded by the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest. This year’s lineup includes Hiss Golden Messenger, Futurebirds, The Mother Hips, Chatham Rabbits, and I Draw Slow. Funds raised from Cold Mountain Music Festival support the ministries of Lake Logan. 

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Asheville Art in the Park

June 4, 11, & 15, 2022 | Downtown Asheville

You are invited to come out to Asheville Art in the Park, take a stroll around downtown Asheville, and experience the textures and forms of a truly unique art garden. Now in its second decade, this community showcase takes place on three Saturdays each June and October. Nationally known artists exhibit at this event, and the best part is … they are local! Positioned in the center of downtown Asheville, the market has created over $1M in needed income for area artists. Come start your next artistic adventure in the center of Asheville in Pack Square Park and take home some of the wondrous bounty that is Asheville Art.

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56th Annual Shindig on the Green

Select Saturdays, June–August 2022 @ “Along about sundown” | Roger McGuire Green, Asheville

Since 1967, this mountain tradition has featured free music concerts and dancing held outdoors in Downtown Asheville. Bring your instruments, families, friends, lawn chairs, and blankets, and join in on the stage show and informal jam sessions around the park. The Folk Heritage Committee produces Shindig on the Green and its sister event, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (see below), to support the preservation and continuation of the traditional music, dance, and storytelling heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. 

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Asheville Ideas Fest

June 14–18, 2022 | UNC Asheville, Asheville

The first-ever Asheville Ideas Fest (AIF) will take place June 14-18, 2022 on the campus of UNC Asheville and at key sites in our region. AIF will convene global thought leaders to focus on the most consequential issues of our time. Speakers include television host and bestselling author Fareed Zakaria, environmentalist author Bill McKibben, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham, Harvard immunology and infectious diseases assistant professor Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D., and bestselling author and National Book Award Winner Jason Mott. In addition, UNC Asheville faculty will participate with other notable and influential leaders as panel respondents across a variety of themes and topics. See a schedule of events and register for tickets.

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The Big Crafty

July 10, 2022 | Pack Square Park, Asheville

Support our creative communities in this hand-to-heart celebration of creative exuberance held twice annually. The Big Crafty revives the tradition of the community bazaar in the heart of Asheville. The event highlights the work of carefully-selected artists, makers, and craft innovators who embody the heart and the dynamism of the independent creative community. Past events have also included live music and food vendors.

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Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

July 21–24, 2022 | Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands showcases 200+ artisan crafters from the region. Head downtown, where artisans will fill both the concourse and arena levels of the venue, exhibiting a variety of craft ranging from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry. Don’t miss this unique shopping experience, and enjoy live music and craft demonstrations during your visit.

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Folkmoot USA

July 28–31, 2022 | Downtown Waynesville and beyond

Folkmoot is a two-week international dance and music festival with performance groups from diverse international countries along with local Cherokee and Appalachian performers each year. The festival is headquartered in Haywood County, but events are also held at venues throughout Western North Carolina. More than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have participated through the decades.

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95th Annual Mountain Dance & Folk Festival

August 4–6, 2022 @ 7:00PM | Lipinsky Hall, UNC Asheville, Asheville

Founded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928, the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival gathers mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers, and others the first weekend in August. Each evening will showcase a different live performance, allowing you to appreciate the talent and dedication of the hundreds of musicians, dancers, and storytellers who are preserving the traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Tickets $5–$25.

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Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair

August 5–6, 2022 @ 9:00AM–5:00PM | Burnsville Town Square

Slow down and enjoy your day in a picturesque small mountain town. The Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair brings together mountain heritage, traditional crafting, and contemporary art, creating an event not to be missed. Established in 1956, the fair features more than 200 vendors and performers. Don’t miss the craft demonstrations, bluegrass and acoustic music, food vendors, and a unique selection of handmade arts and crafts from artisans across the country. 

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14th Annual Laugh Your Asheville Off

August 11–13, 2022 | Asheville

Have you been looking for a weekend festival featuring local, regional, and national stand-up comedians? This is exactly what you want! As a general rule, all shows are 18+, except at Highland Brewing, which is 21+. Tickets go on sale in late June/early July.

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Sourwood Festival

August 13–14, 2022 | Downtown Black Mountain

You’ll find music, dancing, arts and crafts, superfoods, kids rides and games, face painting, and more in an alcohol-free environment at the Sourwood Festival. There are even pony rides and a petting zoo. Oh! And gourmet sourwood honey, too. Masks are required for Saturday’s shuttle service.

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7th Annual LEAF Downtown

August 19–20, 2022 | Downtown Asheville

LEAF Downtown connects our local communities and cultures while celebrating creativity and diversity in the heart of Downtown Asheville. Stages showcase a variety of engagement experiences from Main Stage, ULEAF Community Stage, Voices of Asheville, Cafe Stage, Busker Corner, and Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab. The park is artfully curated with local artists, vendors, family adventure, and opportunities for kids and elders to share their stories and arts. New this year: Participate in a brand new fast, flat, and family-friendly 5K course in the River Arts District.

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North Carolina Apple Festival

September 2–5, 2022 @ 10:00AM each day | Main Street, Hendersonville

Enjoy four days of free fun! The North Carolina Apple Festival has been Western North Carolina’s premier family-friendly festival for more than 70 years, from the Opening Ceremony with the Apple Ambassador to the King Apple Parade on Labor Day afternoon. The festival also includes one of the best known street fairs in the Carolinas. There will be freshly picked apples, arts and crafts, festival food, and free entertainment at the Historic Courthouse on Hendersonville’s beautiful Main Street.

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Canton Labor Day Parade

September 5, 2022 @ 10:00AM | Downtown Canton

The Canton parade is the envy of all other WNC communities! Snaking through the downtown district with over 100 homemade floats, the parade showcases the workers, farmers, elected officials, and nonprofits that keep the WNC region vibrant and sustainable for all people. Be sure to arrive an hour early with a lawn chair or blanket to stake claim to a couple of square feet of sidewalk.

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Mountain Song Festival

September 9–10, 2022 | Brevard

The annual Mountain Song Festival was created to bring the best in acoustic mountain music to the community and to further encourage music in our everyday lives. The two-day lineup features a great group of local artists, children’s activities, nature exhibits, food, and more in the heart of Brevard. Ticket proceeds benefit the Cindy Platt Boys and Girls Club of Transylvania County.

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NC Mountain State Fair

September 9–18, 2022 | Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, Fletcher

Celebrate mountain traditions with rides, exhibits, art, food, concerts, and more at the annual NC Mountain State Fair. The NC Mountain State Fair celebrates the people and traditions that make our region great. Their mission is to create unique experiences at an exceptional value in a safe, clean environment that is accessible to all. Cash only. Admission $6–$10.

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Greek Festival

September 23–24, 2022 @ 11:00AM–8:00PM | Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Asheville

Sample traditional foods while enjoying Greek music, dance, and culture. Activities include traditional Greek folk dancing, cooking classes, and jewelry and crafts. Relax, and enjoy some imported Greek wine. Or rest at the Kafenion with a cup of expertly brewed Greek coffee. Join the fun and become “Greek for a day!” Admission is free.

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48th Annual Mountain Heritage Day

September 24, 2022 | Western Carolina University, Cullowhee

Named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast, Mountain Heritage Day is a festival not to be missed! The annual celebration features live Appalachian music and dance, 130+ food and craft vendors, tons of family-friendly activities, and interactive kids area. Additional performances and demonstrations celebrate Southern Appalachian mountain culture. 

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Let’s meet up! Which WNC summer festivals do you plan to attend?

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