AshevilleOnStage brings music to life

"Paris of the South" grows as a LIVE music center

Asheville, North Carolina, long known for its magnificent Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn continues to add to its arts and culture allure with a growing LIVE music scene.

And that's what is all about: live music of all genres.

In and around Asheville, festivals brim with wonderful music. Street parties featuring local and regional musicians and bands are almost a weekly happening during the summer and fall. Then there are the come-one, come-all, public drum circles; they are truly a Downtown Asheville gem. And area clubs keep the beat of live music going daily.

A must-see, must-listen venue is The Orange Peel; it has put Asheville on the map as a nationally known stage that features, local, regional and national headliners. Even Bob Dylan surprised Asheville with an appearance at, as locals call it, The Peel.

Bele Chere, once the largest free street party in the South, is a magnificent memory for tens of thousands of revelers who attended every summer. The annual event lost its city funding and support due to its love-hate relationship with many residents and most of downtown's shopkeepers. But for out-of-towners, it's was an all thumbs-up musical affair.

Lake Eden Arts Festival, held twice annually at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, NC, fuels the love, peace and harmony vibe in the Blue Ridge mountains. If you love Bonnaro, you're going to love The Leaf. Since it's limited to 5,000 people, buy you tickets early and online at

Street musicians enhance Asheville's popular music scene • Photos: MediaBear

"Buskers" — those who play on street corners for tips and a little slice of fame — have the blessings of the City of Asheville, which supports the arts; i.e., no permit fees are required of musicians to play on the streets, although amplifiers are not allowed.

Clubs, coffeehouses and restaurants regularly hire talented musicians and bands to pull in tourists and residents alike. For instance, Tall Gary's in Downtown Asheville used to be one of the best open-mic opportunities in the city, but many other upstarts have taken its place where closet musicians can be found jamming shoulder-to-shoulder with talented professionals. 

The range of musical genres found in the Asheville area is impressive:

► The Orange Peel is one of the nation's top musical venues | More>

► Bluegrass jams are a weekly staple at Jack of the Wood | More>

► The Grey Eagle in the Arts River District of Asheville rocks  | More>

► The Asheville Civic Center pulls in national headliners | More>

► Shindig on the Green is summer fun for the whole family | More>

      The twice-a-year Lake Eden Arts Festival has become a sell-out in recent years * Photos: MediaBear

► Lake Eden Arts Festival is often compared to Bonnaroo | More>

► Downtown After Five is a popular street music event | More>

► The Pritchard Park drum circle is summer fun supreme | More>

► Asheville Bravo Concerts, after 80 years, closed in 2012 | More>

Photo: LisaRing                           Photo: Jazz The Ripper

► Pan Harmonia, a project of Keowee, is a chamber music delight | More>

► The Garage at Biltmore venue is gaining speed | More>

► TallGary's, just off Pritchard Park, is Downtown Asheville's open-mic, hot spot every Wednesday | More>

► Given that Asheville has been voted Beer City USA for a number of years, it's  fitting that area microbreweries also craft outstanding great live music | More>


► On July 15, 2011, from 5:15 to 9 p.m., the free street party, "Downtown After 5" on N. Lexington Ave. in Downtown Asheville will feature Aaron Wood as well as Jonathan Scales Fourchestra | More>

► WNC Magazine's annual Last Band Standing contest recently selected the 2011 finalists | More>

► The Altamonte has splashed big onto the Asheville's entertainment scene this year with live music that spans classical to rock | More>

► Shindig on the Green is back at its old haunts most weekends throughout the summer in the newly renovated city hall park (to the tune of $21 million), now known as Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park | More>

► "From Monterey Pop to Bonnaroo, the Hippie Endures," reports | More>


ExploreAsheville's live music calendar keeps up with the major music events in the area | More>


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