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Your Ultimate Guide to Carrboro Music Fest

Grab your raincoats and lace up your dancing shoes, Chapel Hill — the Carrboro Music Festival  is coming to town!

This year’s festival marks the 21st anniversary of the event that features approximately 200 bands across 29 stages around the Carrboro area. In the beginning, the festival was originally part of Fête de la Musique , an annually celebrated event in France every summer solstice. The festival now extends to over 100 countries. 

From 1997 to 2001, Carrboro was officially part of Fête de la Musique. In 2002, the Fête de la Musique Carrboro Committee changed the date of the festival to the cooler months of September. With over 200 bands preforming at the festival, there will be a lot to see and even more to hear. Here is a look into some of the unique acts gracing the 29 stages. 

The 8:59's 

Sept. 30 – 6 p.m.

Logan A. Carter Real Estate Stage at ArtsCenter - West End Theatre

Rain Contingency - rain or shine 

The 8:59's are a five-piece band based out of Pittsboro, NC that spans the rock 'n' roll spectrum. 

“We all now have families and jobs, but the musician that kind of hid away in the early parent years was kind of yearning to get out,” guitarist Neville Handel  said. “We reached out to a couple of other buddies and put the band together.”

The group focuses more on the Americana part of rock, but also touches on new wave and post punk. Neville said it has sounds similar to early Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and R.E.M.“We’re rock 'n' roll but it’s not like you hear one song and you know what we sound like,” said Handel. “We cover a lot of territory.

The 8:59's are in the process of recording a new album and will be playing new songs at their gig. 

“The new stuff is capturing where we are as a band,” Handel said.

Durham Ukulele Orchestra  

Sept. 30 – 5 p.m.

Balloons & Tunes/Framer’s Corner 

Rain Contingency – cancel

The Durham Ukulele Orchestra displays what they call “eclectic pop.” 

“We play all different types of music,” Brian Lewis , an orchestra member, said. “From pretty much every decade from the 1930s to present day.”

The four-piece ensemble combines its talents and musical interests to create a unique blend of songs to create its sets.

“Among the four of us we play about a dozen different instruments,” Lewis said. “So pretty much everybody plays ukulele and something else so we have a variety of musical instruments that we play which allows us to play a lot of different kinds of music.”

 Lewis said that the Durham Ukulele Orchestra will try anything when it comes to song choices.


Ladies of the Lake 

Sept. 30 — 1 p.m.

Looking Glass Café 

Rain Contengency – moves indoors

 Ladies of the Lake, a five-piece, all-female group specializes in Celtic music. Celtic is a term that encompasses music with Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian roots. Alison Arnold  described the band as “low-key,” but also rich in history.Arnold plays the wooden flute .

“It has much more mellow sound that the metal. It blends nicely with the fiddle and other Celtic instruments," she said.

 Other instruments in the band include the whistle, bodhran, guitar and bouzouki.

The Magnolia Klezmer Band  

Sept. 30 - 1 p.m. 

Carrboro Century Center 

Rain Contingency - rain or shine

The Magnolia Klezmer Band is comprised of 10 musician and two singers. Klezmer is the dance music of the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe that dates back to the 18th century. The two singers sing in both English and Yiddish.

The band plays music from Romania, Moldava, Russia and the Ukraine. Band leader and drummer Elliot Mills  said the music is up-tempo, rhythmic, happy music and generally anti-depressive.

The Loose Lucies  

Sept. 30 – 1 p.m.

Johnny’s Gone Fishing

Rain Contingency – moves indoors

 Long-time friends and Grateful Dead Fans, The Loose Lucies got their name from the Grateful Dead song, “Loose Lucy.” The name “The Grateful Dads” was a close second.

The Loose Lucies member Jon Abramowitz  said the band brings a folk rock jam band vibe to every performance.

“No two renditions of the same song ever sound the same way,” he said.

Local Flora

Sept. 30 — 2 p.m.

Auto Logic

Rain Contingency – cancel

This four-piece band takes its roots in psychedelic rock, but identifies with an ever-evolving sound. The band takes inspiration from stream-of-consciousness jam music such a Phish  and The Grateful Dead.  The group will be playing some new material along with older tunes. 

Local Flora said they try to respond to the audience when playing and try new things in different spaces.

“Ideally each show has it’s own little special part of it,” Charlie Garnett , vocalist and bass player, said.

Ancestor Piratas 

Sept. 30 — 3 p.m. 

Auto Logic

Rain Contingency – cancel 

This solo electronic-cumbia-punk project is straight from the mind of Puruvian musician Renzo Ortega.  Electronic Cumbia  is a mixture of popular and folk music, and combines electronic sounds such as electronic drums, electric guitar and synthesizers.This will be Ortega’s second time preforming at the Carrboro music festival and he wants the festival to be a unique experience for all.

“Try to see all the acts. I want people to see as many acts as possible,” said Ortega. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Carrboro Music Fest
Your Ultimate Guide to Carrboro Music Fest