by Sandy McLeod
Asheville, North Carolina is a popular tourist destination year ‘round, but it is especially popular in the summer because the cool mountain air offers respite from the heat of the coast, the cities, and the Piedmont. Because of its huge popularity during the summer months, Asheville has become known for street music and art festivals, designed to showcase nationally acclaimed and locally celebrated artists.
The three major festivals in the summer are free to the public. Come out and enjoy the Shindig on the Green, Downtown After 5 and the Art Walk. All three events are appropriate for all ages. Alcohol can only be consumed by those with pre-purchased wrist bands. Listen to music, dance, view art, eat and drink during a cool summer evening in Asheville.
Shindig on the Green (6/29, 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 8/10, 8/17, 8/24, 8/31)
One of Asheville’s oldest and most beloved music festivals is Shindig on the Green. The Shindig in its present form started 47 years ago, and is designed to bring the best of mountain music to the stage in Downtown Asheville. This includes anything from blue grass to ballads – with plenty of pickin’ and grinnin’ and traditional mountain dancing. Shindig on the Green is held in Pack Square Park on the Roger McGuire Green. It is free and open to the public. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy a Saturday evening with friends and loved ones at the Shindig beginning around sundown.
Downtown After 5 (Fri June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20)
For the past 25 years, Downtown After 5 has been one of the most popular music events, and is a favorite of the locals. The music festival occurs on the third Friday of every month from May-September. Over the years, Downtown After 5 has been held in different locations. For many years it was held in the heart of City County Plaza at Pack Square. Currently, Downtown After 5 takes place at the bottom of Lexington Avenue at the intersection of Route 240. Some top bands appearing this year include Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy, from nearby Athens, Georgia. The Hermit Kings will also be on the stage in 2013. A $2 wrist band is purchased by adults who want to consume local craft brews on tap at Downtown After 5. Enjoy a wide selection of food vendors and restaurants.
Art Walk (June 7, July 5, Aug. 2, Sept. 6)
Asheville has long been known as a destination for fine art, folk art and craft. For over one hundred years, there have been notable artists living in Asheville and showing their work here. In the past few decades, many fine galleries have opened in Downtown Asheville and they have attracted some big names and phenomenal talent.
This year, celebrate summer by experiencing the exquisite galleries in Downtown Asheville firsthand. Works by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists are highlighted. The Art Walk is sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Gallery Association and occurs the First Friday of every month. Pick up a copy of the Downtown Gallery Guide with a map at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce or other locations. Visit up to 25 participating galleries, studios and museums between 5-8 p.m. every first Friday from April through December. Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments while viewing some of the finest art in the Southeast.
Whether you are visiting Asheville for the first time or come over and over again, attending a festival is always a great time. Have a meal at an Asheville restaurant and enjoy the fun, colorful atmosphere of Downtown Asheville while partaking in any of these free festivals this summer.
Stay in a luxury cabin, right in Asheville, and only 10 minutes from Downtown art galleries.