It’s time to resurrect your zaniest, most fabulous outfits, Asheville. Festival season returns this spring and summer in full force. To make it easy for you to join in on the fun, we rounded up 20 regional festivals that will be returning (or debuting) in the Asheville area for 2022.
Bear Shadow | Fri., April 29-Sun., May 1 | Winfield Farm, 250 Winfield Farm Rd., Highlands | $300+
Headliners for the weekend-long event include Grammy-nominated Band of Horses, Grammy-award winning Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Billboard chart-topper Trampled by Turtles.
LEAF Retreat | Thurs., May 12-Sun., May 15 | Black Mountain | $172+
Embrace the “old school magic” of this iconic local camping festival with a smaller and more intimate audience that caps at 1,500 attendees. The lineup includes musicians such as Leah Song of Rising Appalachia, Preservation Hall All-Stars, and The Secret Agency with Empire Strikes Brass — plus workshops, panel discussions + other culture-focused activities at the magical Lake Eden campground.
Spring Skunk Music Festival | Fri., May 13-Sun., 15 | Greer, SC | $50+
A camping festival nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that features bluegrass, Americana, folk, and alt country artists such as Joshua Ray Walker, Eddie 9V, Miko Marks, Darrell Scott, and Scythian.
The Gathering at Paint Rock Farm | Fri., June 3-Sun., June 5 | Hot Springs | $100+
This three-day live music and camping fest bills itself as a “conscious, family-friendly” experience. It sits on 160 acres of farmland that overlooks the French Broad River + features headliners Toubab Krewe, Roots Grown Deep, and The Natti Love Joy.
LEAF Downtown | Fri., Aug. 19-Sat., Aug. 20 | Downtown Asheville | Free | A joyful celebration of Asheville’s rich local music tradition that includes soul, old time, folk, hip hop, Americana, blues, Appalachian roots, and new music by up-and-coming artists.
Night in the Country Carolinas Music Festival | Thurs., Aug. 25-Sat., Aug. 27 | Tryon International Equestrian Center | $160+
See superstars like Darius Rucker, Jon Pardi, and Dierks Bentley at this three-day country extravaganza. Bonus: There are now on-site RV + tent camping options.
🥯 Arts + Culture
HardLox Jewish Festival | Sun., May 1 | 11-4 p.m. | Pack Square | Free
Satiate your stomach with Jewish food classics like matzah ball soup, potato knishes, and bagels galore, while enjoying dancing and live music. Pro tip: This year, the fest will offer vegan options for corned beef, hot dogs, falafel, and lox plates.
This festival is the River Arts District’s biggest block party of the year — and it’s returning with even more programming for its second year. Expect music, games, live performances, food, local vendors, and employment + partnership opportunities, all in the name of celebrating Black entrepreneurs and business.
Memorial Day Weekend Festival of the Arts | Sat., May 28-Sun., May 29 | Pack Square | Free
Stroll and shop a selection of jewelry, paintings, glasswork + sculpture art.
Hola Festival | Sat., June 11 | 11-7 p.m. | Pack Square | Free
Experience the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes, and extraordinary talent representing 20+ Latin American countries.
Asheville Ideas Fest | Tues., June 14-Sun., June 18 | Various locations | $1,500+
The inaugural Asheville Ideas Fest, which bills itself as “A World Class Intellectual Experience in one of America’s Great Cities,” will feature discussions + lectures by global thought leaders such as Fareed Zakaria of CNN Worldwide, environmentalist author W.T. “Bill” McKibben, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham.
Chow Chow | Thurs., June 23-Sun., June 26; Fri., Aug. 4-Sun., Aug. 7; Thurs., Sept. 8-Sun., Sept. 11 | Asheville | Various prices
This homegrown culinary extravaganza celebrates Southern Appalachia’s unique community of creators and will include workshops, tastings, and educational events that foster dialogue about issues such as racial justice, climate change, and food justice. We’ve got our eyes on the tamale workshop and the lesson on Cherokee fry bread.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games | Thurs., July 7-Sun., July 10 | Linville | $15+
Immerse yourself in the spirit of the Scottish Highlands with four days of bagpipes, kilts, dancing, Celtic music + traditional athletic competitions.
Asheville Comedy Festival | Thurs., Aug. 11-Sat., Aug. 13 | Asheville, WNC Ag Center | TBD
The 14th iteration of this laughathon returns after a nearly two-year pandemic-related hiatus. In addition to side-splitting shows, it also includes workshops + other professional development opportunities.
Sourwood Festival | Thurs., Aug. 11-Sat., Aug. 13 | Various times | Downtown Black Mountain | Free
Roughly 30,000 people attend this sweet Black Mountain-based fest annually — and with live entertainment, 200 vendors, and festival fare galore, it’s not hard to see why.
Asheville Herb Festival | Fri., April 29- Sun., May 1 | Various times | Asheville, WNC Ag Center | Free
Known as the largest herb festival in the Southeast, this event showcases plants, books, soaps, herbal crafts, medicinal herbs, dried flowers + baked goods.
Maker Faire Asheville 2022 | Sun., May 7 | 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | A-B Tech, 16 Fernihurst Dr. | Free
This family-friendly fest bills itself as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth,” and offers locals of all ages the chance to display their inventions through hands-on exhibits.
White Squirrel Weekend | Fri., June 3-Sat., June 4 | All day | Downtown Brevard | Free
Dedicated to WNC’s iconic white squirrels, this fest boasts 14 free concerts as well as plenty of locally made food, art, and crafts.
Mermaid Parade & Festival | Sat., June 4 | 5-10 p.m. | Downtown Marshall | Free
Ever wanted to see mermaids in the mountains? Here’s your chance. According to legend, sea creatures + mermaids can leave the ocean and travel the French Broad River to Downtown Marshall for one day each year. Enjoy festival eats, mermaid costumes, lots of water guns and balloons, and live music.
The Annual Firefly Gathering | Tues., June 7-Tues., Jun 14 | All day | Deerfields in Mills River, NC | $85+
This annual gathering invites folks to gather and exchange primitive skills and ancestral knowledge, such as fire craft, herbal medicine, storytelling, foraging, basketry, hide tanning, and bow making. Evenings are filled with live music, dancing under the moon+ stars, and dazzling firefly displays.
Love Shine Play Yoga Festival | Weds., July 27- Sun., July 31 | Various times | Asheville | $25+
This sixth annual fest invites folks to connect consciously and compassionately through yoga classes, meditation, talks, and hikes.