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April 11, 2024 20 minute READ

It's Go Time: Spring and Summer Events 2024

tags Local Flavor | Mast Family Favorites | Travel
locations All
Boonerang Music and Art Festival in Downtown Boone, NC

If it’s true, as they say, that seeing is believing, then we at Mast Store would like to propose another entry to your quip collection: Doing is moving. “Doing” not only requires movement - “doing” moves you both physically and emotionally.

We value experiences at the Mast Store, and, of course, we’re a bit old-fashioned, too. Quaintly but intentionally old-fashioned. That’s because we see the value of real-world, first-hand, person-to-person experience, which all too often conflicts with typical modern, Digital Age “experiences” that are merely simulations on a smartphone or computer screen.

Real experiences are important to our personal well-being and the health and vibrancy of our communities, and they’re gained only by taking action – by doing.

Is this a call to action, then? You bet! And what better time of year than the pleasant days of spring and summer to take action, get outdoors, and enjoy yourself along with the experiences you choose to embrace? These long, sunny days ahead are meant for doing and moving!

Start by checking out our Festival Starter Kit, which features a selection of products you’ll find at the Mast Store nearest you or Mast Store Online. It includes some trusty go-to’s and absolute essentials (How many times have you asked too late, “Did we remember to pack sunscreen?”) that will enhance any day- or weekend-long festival experience.

Then, review our 2024 spring and summer festival picks, which cover music representing many genres, food and beverages, arts, sports, and entertainment. These are events you can stroll through or stage hop at your own pace as you leisurely listen, peruse, play, munch, sip, and shop.

Best of all, they’re experiences that will connect you with people from different backgrounds who share similar interests, inviting you to create a community wherever you go.

Festival Starter Kit

Festival EssentialsCamp Chairs
The Chair, Hex 2.0 Chair, and Aircliner Inflatable Chair by Crazy Creek all offer added cushioning and a supportive backrest for any stadium bench or spot on a festival lawn. These lightweight, foldable chairs are ideal for packing while handles make direct transport even easier.

As we asked earlier, just how many times have you arrived at your destination only to then realize you forgot to pack sunscreen? We’re asking again because we’re betting it’s more than once! Sunscreen is certainly an essential item not only for your outdoor comfort, but also for your health and safety. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for adults. The Mast Store carries many options of sunscreen lotions and sprays in this range, but don’t forget SPF lip balm, long-sleeved shirts with SPF, and a wide-brimmed hat for additional coverage and protection.

Speaking of wide-brimmed hats, the Airflo Broad Brim Hat and LTM3 Airflo Hat by Tilley are top choices for men and women in their category. Both offer smart design features like crown ventilation, moisture-wicking sweatbands, and inherent UPF 50+ sun protection.

Fanny Packs
It’s true… They’re back in style! The fanny pack and its nearly-identical twin, the hip pack, were once taboo – castaways from the fashion world, but these ideal carry-all bags proved too functional to be forgotten. That point and their playful patches of color (We see you, Cotopaxi!) make us wonder why these fun accessories ever went away. In all seriousness, a fanny pack is a safe, secure, and convenient place to store personal items, all-day essentials, valuables, and even a snack or two while you’re out in a crowd.

Rain Jackets
You never know which way the weather might turn, especially any given moment during spring and late summer in the mountains, so it’s best to be prepared. Rain jackets are easy to keep with you because they will pack down to a small size that will fit in many fanny packs or in a backpack.

Water Bottles
They’re trendy, environmentally responsible, and smart. An insulated water bottle keeps your water ice-cold for hours on end – perfect for a festival day-out – and, best of all, allows you to stay hydrated and safe in the sun. The Mast Store has a wide selection of sizes, colors, and styles by brands like Nalgene, Hydro Flask, YETI, Stanley, Kleen Kanteen, and Camelbak to best fit your needs and gear.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes while you’re outdoors. Not only that, but you’ll have a squint-free view of the stage if you’re wearing sunglasses… as long as you’re not too far back on the lawn, that is. The Mast Store has terrific polarized options from Zeal Optics and Costa Del Mar for the clearest, sharpest view. Remember to pick out a retainer by Cablz or Chums LTD so you can rest your glasses around your neck and keep your hands free for applauding your favorite tunes and bands.

What’s an outdoor summer festival without a pair of sandals? No fun! Choose a funky pair with patterned straps from Teva or Chaco or a durable, wear-anywhere model like the Birkenstock EVA.

Mats & Blankets
The Everywhere Mat by Rumpl repels odors, stains, spills, and most every mess you might encounter at a festival. This packable, laminated mat also features a waterproof underside to prevent wet grass from getting things that aren’t supposed to be wet, wet. Its zippered corner pocket pouch is a hidden bonus where you can discretely store your valuables. This handy item seems as if it was designed by festival-goers for festival-goers. L.L.Bean also offers a stylishly-patterned Waterproof Blanket with a rugged nylon backing to keep backsides dry on the dewy grass. Its 4,176 square inches of spreadable area gives it massive appeal.

Spring and Summer 2024 Festivals and Events

Freedom First Down by Downtown Music Festival – April 18 – 21, Roanoke, VA
Roanoke Outside Foundation organizes the Down by Downtown Music Festival, which coincides with Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. This diverse music showcase features a number of performers at venues across the downtown district and headlines Margo Price, Caitlin Krisko & The Broadcast, and Corey Hunley live from the Elmwood Park Stage.

“Run” out to Downtown Roanoke, Thursday, April 18 – Sunday, April 21, and savor the time in the outdoors and in the city! Start getting down with a visit HERE.  

Piedmont Environmental Alliance Earth Day Fair - Photo by Christine RuckerPiedmont Earth Day Fair – April 20, Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem hosts North Carolina’s largest Earth Day party and one-day environmental education event at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. In true Earth Day fashion, this is a rain or shine celebration, which features fun environmental education stations for kids, as well as food trucks, music, local vendors, and more activities the entire family will enjoy.

The Piedmont Earth Day Fair will take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, April 20. Admission is FREE. For more information, head on over to this SITE.

Piedmont Environmental Alliance Earth Day Fair (left) - Photo by Christine Rucker

Columbia Food and Wine Festival – April 24 – 28, Columbia, SC
South Carolina may be a small state by area, but its terrain ranges from rolling, low-lying mountains to the flat marshlands of the coast. In the geographic middle is the Midlands, the region where you’ll find farms, crops, and the state capital, Columbia, which has developed its own distinct culinary tradition.

The Columbia Food and Wine Festival is a five-day event held Wednesday, April 24 – Sunday, April 28 that showcases daily dining and drinking collaborations between local restaurants and breweries, a food truck rodeo, an upscale Grand Soiree, and a Grand Tasting that offers a fitting, all-encompassing finale. These activities and more provide a sampling of Columbia’s unique flavors and hospitable community. Here’s a source to LEARN MORE about the upcoming event.

MerleFest 2024MerleFest – April 25 – 28, Wilkesboro, NC
MerleFest is one of the largest and most popular music festivals in the Southeast. The event, entering its 36th year, was founded by local bluegrass and folk music icon Doc Watson as a memorial to his son Eddy “Merle” Watson and to this day, remains the primary fundraiser for its home site, Wilkes Community College.

This festival celebrates a breadth of Americana-style music from traditional, Appalachian-roots sounds to modern country and classic rock. Over the course of four days, dozens of artists perform across the festival’s 12 stages. This year’s big draws include Old Crow Medicine Show, Turnpike Troubadours, Nickel Creek, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Larkin Poe, and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

The 2024 MerleFest is set to take place from Thursday, April 25 - Sunday, April 28. If you attend be sure to visit the onsite MerleFest Museum and, especially for a calm moment to break from the action, the Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Garden for the Senses. The garden invites guests to experience it with more than sight and includes a wheelchair-accessible path, Braille description plaques, and fragrantly scented flowers. A remarkable brick mural of Doc and Merle playing music together is opposite the garden. For more information, including the impressive line-up, follow this LINK.

Dogwood Arts Festival – April 26 – 28, Knoxville, TN
Artisphere – May 10 – 12, Greenville, SC

Both of these art festivals certainly deserve individual attention and accolades. We’re grouping them together here, however, because both ranked among the top three in the Best Art Festival 2024 category of a recent USA Today 10 Best poll chosen by editors and readers. We’ll remain neutral since each town has a Mast Store, but if you’re curious, you can read the full article HERE. It’s suffice to say that either is well worth your visit, or, better yet, why not head to both?

The Dogwood Arts Festival, Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, is held on the Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park in Knoxville. It celebrates the work of more than 100 artists in attendance as well as the park’s gorgeous dogwoods in full bloom. The event also features live music, kids’ activities, and local food vendors to give a sampling of East Tennessee’s best cooking. Learn more about this longstanding Knoxville gathering HERE.

Artisphere, Friday, May 10 – Sunday, May 12, has been a highly acclaimed event since it began 20 years ago. Drawing top international artists to Downtown Greenville, it offers a chance to meet with creators and craftspeople, shop for outstanding, original pieces, taste local culinary arts, and entertain the entire family over the three-day period. Find out more about Artisphere at this WEBSITE.

American Legion Annual Ramp Festival – May 5, Waynesville, NC
Sniff, sniff… What’s that smell? “Ah, spring!” you say?! If the breeze is a little onion-y, for lack of a better word, then it’s indeed filled with the aroma of the springtime ramp harvest. Ramps are simply a variety of wild onion native to the mountains of Appalachia. Their pungent scent and bold flavors have been found in regional dishes for hundreds of years and are now embraced by expert chefs.

Waynesville’s 85th Annual Ramp Festival, hosted by American Legion Field Post #47, celebrates the versatility, seasonality, and history of this local culinary delight with a day of live music, raffles, and, of course, a ramp dinner on Sunday, May 5. You certainly won’t turn up your nose at this event’s fun, although we caution you that the ramp-eating contest is only for the boldest palettes among us. Learn more HERE.

Southern Skies Music & Whiskey Festival – May 11, Knoxville, TN
Hometown heroes, The Dirty Guv’nahs, recruited some of their fellow musician friends and added a splash of something extra special to give Knoxville’s Southern Skies Music & Whiskey Festival a kick. On Saturday, May 11, artists Old Crow Medicine Show, Maggie Rose, Amythyst Kiah, Grace Bowers & the Hodge Podge, and Wyatt Ellis will join the Guv’nahs themselves on stage in World’s Fair Park for a day that celebrates music, local potent potables, and community in a “spirit” that could only come from East Tennessee.

Southern Skies is produced by Dogwood Arts. For more information, go HERE.

Gears & Guitars in Winston-SalemGears and Guitars – May 24 – 25, Winston-Salem, NC
Get yourself in “gear” and check out this unique festival that has rocked Downtown Winston-Salem for 11 years! Gears & Guitars combines world-class cycling and live music leading into Memorial Day Weekend. Cyclists race through the city’s central business district during the day and concerts cap the evenings from the hip, newly-restored Innovation Quarter.

This year’s event, which runs Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26, features music headliners Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Lucero, and Camel City Yacht Club. HEre's where you can LEARN MORE

Garden Jubilee – May 25 – 26, Hendersonville, NC
The marvel of spring’s bounteous flowers is certainly deserving of a festival! After all, each singular bloom transforms our landscapes and lives with color, beauty, and joy.

Likewise, Hendersonville transforms into a flower-lover’s paradise for Garden Jubilee, perennially one of Western North Carolina’s largest gardening shows. This year’s event, Saturday, May 25 – Sunday, May 26, will be no different as it features local and regional nurseries selling thousands of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and rare plants across seven blocks of this charming town’s downtown district. For more info, STOP HERE.

Count Basie Orchestra at the 2023 High Country Jazz FestivalHigh Country Jazz Festival – June 7 – 9, Boone, NC
The High Country Jazz Festival brings elevated musical stylings to the Appalachian Theatre and venues throughout the region Friday, June 7 – Sunday, June 9.

Local restaurants, bars, and breweries join in hosting a series of jazz brunches, cocktail hours, outdoor performances, and lectures over the course of the three-day festival that celebrates this original, American art form. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Jazzmeia Horn, and Ziad headline the festival and will perform on the stage of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. Hang out with the hep cats - learn more and find ticket information HERE

Boonerang – June 14 – 16, Boone, NC
It’s said that those who’ve lived in and moved away from the High Country oasis of Boone have an inclination to come back eventually… like a boomerang. We certainly see the appeal since we have roots in this quirky destination that’s equal parts “charming mountain retreat” and “thrilling college town.” That dynamic is just a small part of Boone’s magic.

The town is also a mecca of artists and musicians, whose creativity is put on display at Boonerang. Started only a few years ago, this burgeoning street festival now includes multiple stages, a vendor market, a kids’ zone, silent discos, and a surplus of food and drink options – all with local ties.

The 2024 Boonerang, set to take place Friday, June 14 – Sunday, June 16, showcases well-known, Boone-bound favorites The Nude Party, Melissa Reaves, and Gringo Star. Wanting another reason to go? Admission is FREE! Check out this WEBSITE for more information.

Asheville Ideas Fest – June 17 – 20, Asheville, NC
What’s the big idea? Find out for yourself at the third Asheville Ideas Fest! This new, four-day event brings together distinguished leaders in their respective fields, including science, history, government, environmentalism, music, film, literature, and the culinary arts, for thoughtful conversations, lectures, and public panel discussions.

Bring your thinking cap and, most importantly, your desire to make the world a better place to Asheville, June 17 – 20. Start your “mind-full” vacation by doing your homework to prepare at HERE.

Skyview Golf Tournament – July 9 – 11, Asheville, NC
Tee up a visit to Asheville whether you plan to play in or spectate one of the nation’s most historically significant sports events. The Skyview Golf Tournament, hosted at the Asheville Municipal Golf Course, is the longest-running Black golf tournament in the United States.

Managed by local Civil Rights icon Matthew Bacoate, the tournament has helped launch the careers of 29 Black PGA athletes in its 64-year history. It has also awarded over $180,000 in scholarships to students from low-income and underserved neighborhoods since 1991.

Join the excitement and watch a new generation of Black golfers vie for a spot on the pro tour, July 9 – 11. To tee-up more info, go HERE.

FloydFest – July 24 – 28, Floyd, VA
Get in touch with nature, music from cultures the world over, and yourself at FloydFest. This massive five-day art and music festival is set in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains – about an hour away from Roanoke, Virginia – to a backdrop of stunning views and incredible talent.

Multiple stages host performances in genres including Americana, bluegrass, country, rock, reggae, folk, Cajun, Zydeco, African, Appalachian, and Yiddish among many more. Charley Crockett, Sierra Ferrell, Victor Wooten & The Wooten Brothers, Sierra Hull, The Nude Party, Vincent Neil Emerson, and Town Mountain are among the performers highlighting this year’s event. For more, sashay on over to this SITE.

Mountain Dance and Folk FestivalMountain Dance and Folk Festival – August 1 – 3, Swannanoa, NC
Just outside the “big city” of Asheville in the heart of the mountains, you’ll come upon one of the oldest celebrations of regional culture in the United States. The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, held on the campus of Warren Wilson College, is primed for its 97th year in 2024. Hailed as the nation’s longest-running folk festival, it highlights old-time and bluegrass musicians, ballad singers, cloggers, big circle dancers, and more performers, all of whom represent the cultural traditions of the Southern Appalachians through their art.

Performances are held from 7 – 9 p.m. each evening, Thursday, August 1 – Saturday, August 3. For a detailed history of the event and ticket information, click HERE.

AVLFest – August 1 – 4, Asheville, NC
Asheville is known for being a diverse, well-respected hub on the national music scene, and the newly organized AVLFest gives musicians a platform to perform and advocate for their role in the city’s creative culture and economy.

Presented by Asheville-based Wicked Weed Brewing and Worthwhile Sounds, AVLFest will fill more than 20 area venues from Thursday, August 1 – Sunday, August 4. Audiences can choose from a slate of 200-plus scheduled performances representing a variety of genres over the course of this music-indulgent, long weekend. Notable acts include Blitzen Trapper and Papadosio, as well as hometown headliners Town Mountain and River Whyless.

The festival partners with local non-profit Asheville Music Professionals, which raises awareness for its mission of providing education, advocacy, and collaboration for working musicians in Western North Carolina. This group will also receive a portion of the proceeds from AVLFest’s ticket sales. To plan your visit in support of local musicians and their work, start HERE.

Knoxville International Food Festival – August 10, Knoxville, TN
The city that hosted the 1982 World’s Fair has kept its appreciation for international cultures in its heart… and stomach! This year marks the 20th Annual International Food Festival appropriately held on the World’s Fair Performance Lawn on Saturday, August 10.

The event brings together food vendors representing more than 25 countries, musical performances, crafts, kids’ entertainment, and an expected crowd of 35,000 people to celebrate culture, food, and community. Book your presale tickets today.

Doc Watson Day in Boone, NCDoc Watson Day – August 16 – 17, Boone, NC
Bluegrass and folk music legend Doc Watson was proud to call Watauga County home. He busked on Boone’s streets as a young man before going on to travel the world, sharing the traditional sound of the North Carolina mountains while brandishing his unique style of Flatpicking to accompany his mellow baritone voice.

Celebrate the High Country’s homegrown hero with two days of music honoring the late local legend. This year’s Doc Watson Day begins Friday, August 16 with a FREE concert on the Jones House lawn that includes some of Doc’s personal friends, fellow pickers, and devotees. On Saturday, August 17, the Appalachian Theatre, located just across King Street, will host a ticketed show on the historic Doc Watson Stage. Discover more HERE.

Winston-Salem Open – August 17 – 24, Winston-Salem, NC
As an award-winning, international tennis event that builds up the hype leading into the U.S. Open, the Winston-Salem Open features some of the world's top-ranked men’s tennis stars as well as up-and-coming contenders, and Olympic medalists.

The tournament, hosted on the courts of Wake Forest University, begins Saturday, August 17 and concludes with Singles and Doubles Finals on Saturday, August 24. For more information, check out their WEBSITE.

High Country Beer Fest – August 24, Boone, NC
The High Country has it all… stunning mountains, rushing rivers, serene forests, and, don’t forget, awesome beer! The 17th Annual High Country Beer Fest is a gathering of more than 50 local breweries and cideries.

The event, which incorporates an educational emphasis in its delicious fun, also raises funds for the Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences program at Appalachian State University. In addition to 2-ounce samples of savory suds, guests can indulge in fermentation seminars, food, and live music. The event starts at 3 p.m., Saturday, August 24, with ticket check-in beginning at 1:30 p.m. VIPs get early access beginning at 2 p.m. Get your tickets early because this festival always sells out. 

Roanoke Wing FestivalRoanoke Wing Festival – August 24, Roanoke, VA
Folks in Southwest Virginia love their wings, but, then again, who doesn’t? The Star City loves them so much, however, that the Roanoke Wing Festival is the biggest one-day festival the city hosts all year! The 15th annual event brings to the table the smorgasbord of flavors, styles, vendors, and deliciousness locals have come to expect. The day also holds in store live music and fun contests for the entire family.

Wing it over to Roanoke’s Dr. Pepper Park at the Bridges on Saturday, August 24. Before you go, check out their WEBSITE, and be sure to show up hungry.

Soda City Comic Con – August 24 – 25, Columbia, SC
If you’re hooked on pop culture, love learning about the art of entertainment, want to meet TV and movie stars face to face, and, even perhaps, don’t mind dressing up to become your favorite superhero or sci-fi character for a day, head to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on the weekend of Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 25, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.!

Soda City Comic Con features more than 150 artists, vendors, entertainers, and cosplayers with meet-and-greets, panel discussions, and games for the whole family. Book tickets and plan your visit now.

Now, go, do, and experience all that spring and summer have to offer! Sometimes, your own backdoor opens to a world of new people, interests, and events hosted in your hometown. If you need a jumpstart, or simply some good tunes to jam as you plan your next vacation to the events listed above, check out the Mast Store’s Spring/Summer Festival Spotify playlist that includes many of our favorite songs and artists mentioned in this blog. It’s music meant to get you and your family moving to good vibes in anticipation of carefree days ahead!


Mast Store's Spring/Summer Festival Spotify Playlist

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