Live Music is BACK! Here’s Who to See this Spring

From jazz in the pines to country at the dragway, we’re thrilled to present this list of in-person, pandemic-style shows in and around Raleigh this spring and early summer.
by: Brian Rosenweig and Addie Ladner

We aren’t back to normal just yet, but how can we not get excited with the news of some of our favorite music venues will be hosting live shows starting in April? This spring, you can expect smaller, distanced crowds and some creative social distancing (see: viewing a show from your car) — but you know what? We’ll take it, to hear our favorite lyrics sung, live. Here are 10 venues in and around Raleigh that’ll be presenting live music starting this month and running into summer.

Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, John Prine Tributes and More at the Lincoln Theatre

Downtown’s long-time venue with its iconic mural has kicked off a stellar lineup after a pandemic hiatus. Allman Brothers tribute band Idlewild South plays two back-to-back shows on April 16, check out 420 Reggae Fest on April 18, A Bruised Orange John Prine tribute on May 7 and so much more. (Concerts from home-turf bands Chatham County Line in May and American Aquarium in April are already sold out, but keep your eye on the secondary market for last-minute tix!) Masks must be worn at all times, tickets are sold per pod/table and guests are encouraged to stay seated with their group. See website for tickets and times. 126 E Cabarrus Street, Raleigh; Details here

Josh Cellars Jazz Series at Koka Booth

For a relaxed, mid-week detox, head over to Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre for their Jazz Cellars Series, happening every Wednesday for the next month. A staple in Cary for the past several years, the Josh Cellars Jazz Series offers a chance to unwind with friends and family (pods as we call them now). Featuring local and regional jazz acts like Will McBridge Group  (April 14) local favorite Peter Lamb and the Wolves (April 21) Tea Cup Gin (April 28), and Freeport Jazz (May 5), alongside great beer, wine, and snacks from the amphitheaters Crescent Café, this jazz series is an ideal way to spend a warm spring evening.  Apr. 7 – May 5; Prices start at $20 for a pod spot on the lawn; 8003 Regency Parkway Cary; Details here

GrassRoots Live! at Shakori Hills 

While the Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots festival, one the state’s favorite down-to-earth weekends of music was postponed until the fall, you can still get your Shakori fix through GrassRoots Live!, a series of small, individual concerts throughout the spring and early summer. Boasting acts like Sam Bush (May 1) Del McCoury Band (May 8), Rising Appalachia (June 5), The Wood Brothers (June 4), and more. GrassRoots Live! will bring a small, socially distanced experience to Pittsboro through hosting pods of up to six people. The live series will kick off next Saturday with Virginia-based folk-staple Keller Williams and closes out on June 11 with New York-based bluegrass group Donna and the Buffalo. Apr. 17 – Jun. 11; Prices start at $120 per pod; Shakori Hills Community Center Meadow Stage; 1439 Henderson Tanyard Rd, Pittsboro; Details here 

The Lot Drive-In Concert Series at N.C. State LIVE

A twist on N.C. State’s classic LIVE @ Raleigh Lake Series, this live concert series brings all the fun of food trucks, good music, and scenic sunsets to the Spring Hill Park & Ride Lot downtown. Featuring a wide range of acts starting this month, with Violet Bell (April 8) Charly Lowry (April 22), Jack the Radio (May 6), and Caique Vidal & Batuque (May 20), this series allows you the opportunity to experience live local music from the comfort of your own car.  Apr. 22, May 6, and May 20; Gates and food trucks open at 5:30, music starts at 6:30; Passes cost $10 for the public, $5 for N.C. State students; 698 Barbour Drive, Raleigh; Details here 

Jimmy Buffet at Coastal Credit Union Park/Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Parrot Heads will be delighted to hear that beachside country music icon Jimmy Buffet, known for his hits like Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise will bring a taste of sweet summer melodies to the Triangle on April 23, with a concert at Coastal Credit Union Park. This outdoor amphitheater is the perfect place to take in these classic island songs while enjoying a gorgeous Raleigh sunset. April 23; Prices start at $37; Details here

Mt. Joy and Moon Taxi at the Orange County Speedway 

Gather some buds and head to Rougemont for some of the first (of hopefully many more!) in-person concerts just in time for the start of summer. At the Orange County Speedway, Indie-rock band Mt. Joy will bring an exciting new concert experience to the Triangle with a drive-in style showing (picnic blankets and chairs welcome too) on the 13th, and Nashville-based Moon Taxi will bring the tunes on the 21st. Doors open at 6 p.m and check the website for ticking logistics. May 13 & 21; 7:00p.m; Prices start at $150 per car of 4 ; 9740 NC Highway 57, Rougemont; Details here

Balsam Range at Duke Energy Center

North Carolina group Balsam Range is one of the most awarded groups in bluegrass, and their concert of string arrangements and plucky banjo pairs perfectly for a spring night in the south. Hosted by Pinecone at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium with limited, distanced capacity, this performance is just about as North Carolina as it gets. May 14; Prices start at $42, $37 for members; Details here

PineCone’s Bluegrass Experience’s 50th Anniversary at Duke Energy Center

Tommy Edwards’ The Bluegrass Experience, a longtime fixture of North Carolina’s bluegrass scene, will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this May. Join this classic band, first formed in 1971, for a night of classic bluegrass music that speaks to the soul of the Piedmont. May 20; Prices start at $40, $34 for members; Details here 

Power and Sound Revival at the Historic Piedmont Dragway

Just about an hour out from Raleigh, this one-day festival at the Historic Piedmont Dragway is the perfect event to kick off summer and take you back in time. Featuring car and bike shows, food trucks, and a wide array of country, roots, and Americana music acts. Here from bands like Winston-Salem natives Whiskey Foxtrot, Appalachian soul group 49 Winchester from Virginia, and Asheville Rock and Roll group Downtown Abbey & The Echoes. Make a weekend of it and camp while you’re at it for the ultimate summer music fest experience. Don’t forget a picnic blanket and lawn chair. Social distancing and mask-wearing will still be required, as mandated by state and local regulations. May 22; Prices start at $25 free for kids 10 and under; 6750 Holts Store Road, Julian; Details here.

PineCone’s Fireside Collective with Graham Sharp at Duke Energy Center

This high-energy group based in Asheville brings a unique blend of folk, blues, funk, and bluegrass to every stage, and indoors and socially distanced is no exception. Join Fireside Collective for a small concert hosted by PineCone at Duke Energy Center for upbeat summertime folk tunes. June 10; Prices start at $42, $36 for members; Raleigh Memorial Auditorium 2 E South St Raleigh; Details here

Zéphyros Winds Chamber Music at NCMA

For a relaxing Sunday afternoon, head over to the SECU Auditorium at the North Carolina Museum of Art for a socially distanced performance by Zephyros Winds, a renowned group of five wind soloists flawlessly performing the likes of Beethoven, Strauss, and more. Two hour-long performances at 1 and 3 p.m. will provide a small, intimate setting, while allowing plenty of space across the auditorium to social distance, ensuring nothing gets in between you and the music. May 30; East Building 2110 Blue Ridge Road Raleigh; Prices start at $31; Details here 

Thomas Rhett at Coastal Credit Union/Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Award-winning artist Thomas Rhett will bring a dose of his beloved upbeat country tunes to the Triangle midsummer with an outdoor concert at Coastal Credit Union Park. Whether kicking back on the lawn or sitting front and center, you and your group will enjoy a night of his high-energy country-rock, stripped-back acoustic ballads, and more. July 10; 3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh; Prices start at $43; Details here