15 Outdoor Concerts Coming this Summer

Welcome the warm weather and soak up some extra rays of sunshine with your favorite bands and concert series across the Triangle. 
by Kara Adams

Live music is back in full swing for spring and summer 2022, with rescheduled tours and festivals finally bringing beloved artists like Jimmy Buffett, Japanese Breakfast, Rex Orange County, and more back to Raleigh. Hear your favorite bands perform their latest albums live under the stars at one of these outdoor venues, or take a weekend trip to a nearby festival like Shakori Hills or Wampus Cat to find your new favorite tracks. 

Jazz Series at Koka Booth

Pack a picnic and sprawl out at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre for a spring-time jazz series including bands including Jim Ketch Quintet, which is led by a Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina, the North Carolinian Stanley Baird Group, and the Al Strong Quintet, which has performed alongside legends like Aretha Franklin. The Josh Cellars Jazz Series occurs every Wednesday and is leashed-dog friendly, with Second Chance Pet Adoptions on-site May 4 to take donations and discuss their rescue organization. Feel free to bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. 

Wednesdays through May 4 | 5:45 p.m.; $10; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com 

Live @ Lake Raleigh

NC State LIVE and Visit Centennial are bringing back their series of free, bimonthly sunset concerts along Lake Raleigh. Bring the whole family — along with a picnic blanket and lawn chairs — and plan to grab dinner from a selection of on-site food trucks before the opening band. The Barefoot Movement performs on April 21, Tumbao on May 5, and Shirlette Ammons on May 19. 

April 21 – May 19; free admission; 2300 Main Campus Drive; live.arts.ncsu.edu

Midtown Beach Music Series 

A local favorite music series kicks off at Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park with the band North Tower on April 21. Over the course of its 10-week run, the series will feature bands like Legacy Motown Review, The Catalinas, Chairman of the Board, and The Embers featuring Craig Woolard playing feel-good tunes in genres ranging from Motown to R&B and Beach Music. Grab an ice cream cone or a sweet treat from Kilwin’s or a healthy snack from Happy + Hale nearby to keep you going all through the concert.  

April 21st – June 23 | 5 – 9 p.m.; from $5; 4011 Cardinal at North Hills Street; details here

My Morning Jacket

Get ready to rock with My Morning Jacket led by vocalist and guitarist Jim James at Red Hat Amphitheater. The psychedelic-influenced Americana sound of the group has been perfected over the course of two decades and many studio albums, including their newest self-titled collection featuring singles like Love Love Love. Hear favorite tunes old and new under the Raleigh skyline from the expansive lawn or one of the seated sections of this open-air venue.  

April 22 | 7 p.m.; from $29.50; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band

Head to Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek to hear Jimmy Buffett and his band play his beachy tunes on the Slack Tide Tour. Even in a large outdoor amphitheater surrounded by North Carolina pine trees, you’ll feel transported to Margaritaville and the seaside as Buffett plays his happy-hour inspired classics from albums like “Volcano” and “Son of a Sailor” alongside some “Songs You Don’t Know By Heart.” 

April 23 | 8 p.m.; from $102; 3801 Rock Quarry Road; tickets 

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival

Unplug, groove out, and let your child roam free in their favorite fairy-princess-unicorn getup for a few days at the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, a secluded, environmentally conscious campsite in Pittsboro. At its 18th annual music festival in collaboration with GrassRoots Festival Organization, you can hear artists including Donna the Buffalo, Cabinet, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and Fireside Collective while surrounded by the beauty of nature. This family-friendly festival runs for four days and features local food and craft vendors, interactive workshops, and designated youth areas with activities like giant bubble making, face painting, yoga, and clogging. 

May 5 – 8; from $32; 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road, Pittsboro; shakorihillsgrassroots.org  

Wampus Cat Music Festival

Less than an hour outside Raleigh sits Gross Farms, a popular corn maze and pumpkin patch destination transformed into a music festival set with two stages for rock and country concerts. Rock headliners are Everclear and Lit, while country headliners are The Swon Brothers and Thompson Square. The festival is named for the Cherokee mythology folktale of the cat-like creature dubbed the Wampus Cat and features many more acts including Sister Hazel, Maggie Rose, Cliff Wheeler Band, The Highway Women, Nitro Nitra, and a whole host of others to round out the lineup. 

May 13 – 15; from $52.43; 1606 Pickett Road, Sanford; wampuscatmusicfestival.com 

Rex Orange County

Indie favorite Rex Orange County is hitting the road for the Who Cares? Tour following the release of his similarly titled 2022 album, WHO CARES?. The album capitalizes on the success Rex Orange County found collaborating with Tyler, the Creator on the album Flower Boy and previous hits of his own like “Loving Is Easy.” A May evening downtown coupled with Rex Orange County’s lo-fi vibe will surely lead to an amazing evening. 

May 16 | 7 p.m.; from $69; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com 

Sylvan Esso @ DAP 2022

Head to Durham’s historic ballpark for a weekend of music besides the usual “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” tune you hear at the stadium. Durham-based electronic duo Sylvan Esso is joined by singer-songwriters Moses Sumney, Vagabon, and Indigo De Souza, indie rock band Yo La Tengo, Durham hip hop duo Little Brother, and eclectic indie band Mr. Twin Sister for a weekend of shows on the dirt.

May 19-21; $50; 500 W Corporation Street; sylvanesso.com 

Power and Sound Revival 

Take a mini road-trip to Camp Springs Bluegrass Park in Elon for a festival featuring car and bike shows, art, campsites, and a wide array of music acts. Vendors on-site include Flower Child Jewelry, Valkyrie Leather Designs, many vintage shops, and a variety of unique handmade goods. Bands performing include country and Southern rock group The Steel Woods, rock outfits Jive Mother Mary and Chuck Mountain, Appalachian mountain music performers 49 Winchester, and more. Don’t forget a picnic blanket and lawn chair if you’re headed up for a day trip, or a tent and supplies to stay for the entire weekend. 

May 20 – 21; from $25; 540 Boone Road, Elon; powerandsoundrevival.com

Old Crow Medicine Show 

Head to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Joseph M. Bryan, Jr. Theater in Museum Park to hear Old Crow Medicine Show sing something other than “Wagon Wheel” on the first leg of the Paint This Town Tour in celebration of their brand new album Paint This Town. By comining Americana, folk, old-timey bluegrass and rock and roll on songs like “Bombs Away” and “Honey Chile,” Old Crow Medicine Show continue their unique string band sound that makes them anything but “Hard to Love.”  

May 20 | 8 p.m.; from $33; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Girls’ Night Out 

Grab the girls for the inaugural Girls’ Night Out concert at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre featuring headliner KT Tunstall accompanied by special guests Jeanne Jolly, Judith Hill, Rodes, and Haley Johnsen. Hear Tunstall’s iconic hit song “Suddenly I See” as well as exciting tracks from her newer rock albums, Wax and Kin. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a local non-profit organization supporting women who have been diagnosed with cancer in honor of North Carolina State women’s basketball’s beloved head coach Kay Yow. 

May 21 | 5 p.m.; from $17; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com 

The Lumineers

Relax on Moe’s Lawn at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek for a folksy sing-along with The Lumineers, an alternative Americana outfit famous for hits like “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia.” Bring blankets, lawn chairs, seat cushions, or even a picnic spread to enjoy before hearing the band play songs from their BRIGHTSIDE World Tour setlist, packed with songs you know and love alongside tracks from their new album by the same name. 

May 24 | 7:30 p.m.; from $35; 3801 Rock Quarry Road; tickets 

Belle & Sebastian and Japanese Breakfast

Seasoned Scottish indie pop band Belle & Sebastian team up with Japanese Breakfast, indie rockstar and New York Times bestselling author of Crying in H Mart, for a joint stop on their respective summer tours. Expect to hear alternative songs from Belle & Sebastian’s new album, “A Bit of Previous” alongside tried-and-true classics like “Piazza,” “New York Catcher,” and a great deal of Japanese Breakfast’s Grammy-nominated album “Jubilee”. The artists will be joined by special guest Los Bitchos playing tracks from their newest record, Let The Festivities Begin.

June 14 | 6:30 p.m.; from $27.50; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com

That Music Fest

Join twenty artists and bands on the field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a stacked two-day festival celebrating North Carolina’s unique music scene. Hear from bands with local roots including The Mountain Goats, Delta Rae, American Aquarium, Steep Canyon Rangers, Mipso, Rissi Palmer, and more great acts on three separate stages. Make sure to pack a folding beach chair for field seating, or opt in for reserved seating behind the foul ball net.June 24 – 25; from $45; 409 Blackwell Street; thatstation.net