Where: Venues throughout Downtown Raleigh
When: Thursday, Sep 5 – Saturday, Sep 7
Hopscotch is Raleigh’s premier music festival. Celebrating its 10th year, the festival has been growing in prestige but still has around 25% of acts hailing from in-state. With more than 130 bands, the festival covers a wide range of genres, venues and downtown Raleigh itself. There will also be plenty of art exhibitions and day parties.
Where: Carolina Square, Chapel Hill
When: Friday, Sep 6, 6 – 9 pm
Tar Heel Downtown is a community pep rally of sorts. Franklin Street will be filled with all sorts of activities for the whole family all while hyping people up for the Tar Heel’s first home football game the next day. There will be a live concert, Tar Heels cheerleaders, performances by the marching band, face painting, arcade games and a chance to meet Rameses the ram.
Where: Warehouse District, Raleigh
When: Friday, Sep 13 – Saturday, Sep 15
“For the community by the community.” SPARKcon is a free 3-day event embracing everything creative. There will be more than 2,000 artists and more than 200 events. The event encompasses music, art, theater, literature, digital design, dance and much, much more. Come out to spectate or even participate!
Where: Historic Downtown, Hillsborough
When: Friday, Sep 20, 6 – 10 pm, Saturday, Sep 21, 10 am – 6 pm
Hog day, as you might imagine, involves a lot of NC BBQ. The event centers around a BBQ cook-off put on by the Orange County Optimist Club and raises funds for youth programs. Billed as the counties oldest and largest event, there will also be a car show, crafts for sale, local food vendors and more.
Where: NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh
When: Saturday, Sept 21, 9 am – 7 pm
According to the Museum’s site : “Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. We provide the opportunity for you to interact with entomologists and other scientists so you can continue learning about the fascinating world of bugs. We also feature Café Insecta, where the brave can sample buggy dishes prepared by local chefs. The best part is, it’s all free!”
Where: Downtown Durham
When: Saturday, Sep 21, 10 am – 6 pm (with ‘Extended Entertainment’ from 6 – 11 pm), Sunday, Sep 22, 11 am – 5 pm
“As Durham’s signature arts festival, CenterFest showcases juried visual artists from near and far, and fills multiple stages with music, dance, and more from local performers.” CenterFest has been going since 1974 and brings a little something for everyone. Beyond all sorts of art and artists there will be food vendors, a kids’ zone and booths set up by nonprofits and the government service sector.
Where: Downtown Raleigh
When: Tuesday, Sep 24 – Saturday, Sep 28
With over 200,000 attending, World of Bluegrass is the Triangle’s biggest free festival (with some paid events). Billed as the “largest urban bluegrass festival in the world,” the official festival of the International Bluegrass Music Association returns to Raleigh bringing with it food, crafts, dancing, bluegrass and plenty more.
Where: Downtown Durham
When: Friday, Sep 27, Saturday, Sep 28
In its 6th year, Art of Cool continues to bring big names and up-and-coming musicians performing Jazz, Soul and Hip-Hop. The main venue will be Durham Bulls Athletic Park and headliners include Jill Scott and Run DMC. Other performances will take place at other venues throughout Durham. The festival will also feature an educational portion, covering topics like music, culture, community and more.
Where: Throughout Carrboro
When: Saturday, Sep 28, Sunday, Sep 29
The event kicks off at 2 pm on Saturday following the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. 3 bands will play at Carrboro Town Commons and a free (but ticketed) show will take place later at Cat’s Cradle at 8:30 pm. Sunday is the main event featuring over 200 bands across dozens of venues.
Where: Duke University
When: Saturday, Sept 28, 11 am – 4 pm
According to the site: “Pride: Durham, NC brings love and activism back to the forefront of Pride as a way to drive stronger connections and further growth and success in a tumultuous political climate. All people with love in their hearts and progress fueling them are welcome at Pride: Durham, NC.” The event will feature a parade in the early afternoon and there will be live performances at 2 pm at the main stage. There will also be an after at Arcana from 9 pm to 2 am.