Itchin' for an adventure, dear music lover? We've sussed out the dopest festivals happening semi-close to home, so you can get the heck out of dodge and enter a magical world full of aural delights for a spell. Here's where you should head as the weather warms for the best in indie, folk, electronic, hip-hop, rock 'n' roll, and more.
Savannah Music Festival
Savannah. Until Sat. April 14
Savannah's annual Music Festival just keeps getting better with each passing year, and this year's lineup really goes for gold with the Sat. April 14 finale alone. The day's continuous music on three stages features Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Gillian Welch, Marc Broussard, Brent Cobb, and more. The fest has been underway since March but there's plenty more in store between now and the finale, like the North Mississippi Allstars, The Goodbye Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, and Septeto Santiaguero. For tickets and more info, go to savannahmusicfestival.org.
Beaufort Music Festival
Beaufort. May 18-May 19
Don't discount our little neighbor to the south, Beaufort — the seaside city has great things up its sleeve for the Beaufort Music Festival this May. Enjoy beautiful surroundings as well as the sounds of Shreveport, Louisiana garage rock foursome Seratones, Asheville street musician Lyric, Philly gospel-blues-soulster Devon Gilfillian, Piedmont murder ballad-cum-jazz troupe from Chapel Hill, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, and N.C. Piedmont group Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, who bring to life, in rock form, the musical culture of Cissokho's Senegal-born ancestors. Get all the deets at beaufortmusicfestival.com.
Durham, N.C. May 17-20
Moog Music of synthesizer fame founded this now-North Carolina-based fest back in 2004 in New York City as a one-day celebration of electronic music. Founder Robert Moog himself spoke at the first ever Moogfest before passing away in Asheville in 2005. The move to Asheville happened through a partnership with AC Entertainment in 2010, and the three-day fest has lived in North Caorlina ever since, moving to Durham two years ago. The lineups always kill, and this year's no exception. Get a load of this: Kelela, Mouse on Mars, KRS-One, Chelsea Man, Jon Hopkins, and dozens more. Get tickets and plan your agenda at moogfest.com.
NC Hip-Hop Festival
Durham, N.C. June 22-24
A month later back in Durham, the NC Hip-Hop Festival, billed as a "luxury hip-hop experience," is goin' down, with this being the inaugural weekend. The fest promises a combo of shows at small clubs and outdoor stages, plus plenty of panels and seminars for guests to attend. The full lineup is yet to be announced, but stay tuned to nchiphopfestival.com for updates coming soon.
Shaky Knees Festival
Atlanta. May 4-6
Shaky Knees has been where it's at every year since its 2015 debut in downtown Atlanta. With a focus on indie and rock 'n' roll acts, this year's oh-word? lineup includes Jack White, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, Courtney Barnett, Franz Ferdinand, Queens of the Stone Age, The War on Drugs, Cake, Manchester Orchestra, The National, Tenacious D, Vance Joy, and tons more. The three-day fest also features Charleston's own Stop Light Observations on the bill Sat. May. 5 so if you're going, be sure to catch these hometown heroes at 1:30 p.m. on the Ponce De Leon stage. Secure your space and map out your itinerary at shakykneesfestival.com.
Indie Grits + Love, Peace
Columbia. April 12-15
The 12th-annual Indie Grits Festival has grown into the pride of South Carolina, evolving from a small indie film fest into a full-fledged four-day weekend of music, art, education, parties, and, of course, films. This year the fest also encompasses the super popular, annual Hip-Hop Family Day on Sat. April 14, a free block party in downtown Columbia, part of Love, Peace & Hip-Hop, founded by the city's own hip-hop godfather FatRat Da Czar. The day always features a top-shelf headliner, with 2018's headliner being MC Lyte. Other Indie Grits must-sees include Love, Grits, & Hip-Hop on April 12, featuring Blanko, Niecy Blues with ET Anderson, Zack Mexico, Spider Bags, John Wesley Coleman II, NIKOS, FatRat Da Czar, Denino Farrar, and Charleston's 2 Slices. Friday Night Music on April 13 includes Boulevards, Black Tusk, Dear Blanca, and more. Catch Charleston's Benjamin Starr at Saturday Night Music on April 14 alongside Boo Hag, Daddy Issues, Dylan Gilbert, Charlie Smarts, and more. Events take place across various venues, like Main Street Public House and Tapps Space Hall, so go to indiegrits.org to see what's up.
Festivals Here At Home
The cool thing is you don't even need to venture past North Charleston to hit up a world-class fest. Here's what's happening soon in our own backyard:
High Water Festival
High Water debuted last year and now it's officially an annual fest at North Charleston's Riverfront Park. All hail Shovels & Rope for bringing a top-o'-the-line festival to the Lowcountry, complete with such headliners as Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Band of Horses, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Brandi Carlile, and Jeff Tweedy — not to mention local stars on the rise, SUSTO. The fest is sold out but the pre-parties are not: The multifaceted fest will launch once again with a Lowcountry boil plus local music from Garage Cuban Band and a Tom Petty tribute from the Shrimp Records Family Band — all happening at the Low Tide Social (separate ticket) on Fri. April 20. If you're looking for a later pre-party, head to the Royal American on 4-20 to see HW artists Nicole Atkins and the Wild Reeds in addition to Owen Beverly's Indianola. If you have tickets, you can figure out your schedule over at highwaterfest.com.
Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto
May 25-June 10
Every year, the Spoleto Festival ushers in world-class shows, including music from the festival proper, in addition to Piccolo Spoleto and fringe events. The Lone Bellow is the headliner for the finale, taking place for first time at the Joe (not a plantation, finally, phew), which will also welcome back local acts (still to be announced), while you can catch Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder June 1 and Charleston's own Ranky Tanky on June 2. Piccolo shows revealed so far include Charleston Music Hall's Let's Groove: The Music of Earth, Wind and Fire on June 1 and the annual bluegrass feature Grass in the Hall (with Gravel Road, River Boy, and Chatham Country Line) on June 7. And on Sat. June 9, the Piccolo finale returns to Hampton Park with hip-hop artist Matt Monday, bluegrass band the Lowhills, and a special, super surprise from the powerful Zandrina Dunning. Stay tuned to piccolospoleto.com for further announcements and see what tickets are left for the big one at spoletousa.org.
Trondossa Music & Arts Festival
Can't make Shaky Knees that weekend? Never fear: Some pretty big names will take over North Charleston's Riverfront Park simultaneously, including Widespread Panic, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Big Something, Moon Taxi, and Hiss Golden Messenger. Yowsa indeed. This is the first ever Trondossa shindig, named after a Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit song. Get your tickets to the two-day fest at trondossa.com.