SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER
Festival for the Eno
by Katherine Poole
photo by Harry Lynch/News and Observer
Every summer since 1980, thousands of folks have come together on the banks of the Eno River in Durham to enjoy music, crafts, food, and camaraderie – and to raise awareness and funds for the conservation of the river basin.
Born out of the N.C. Folklife Festival, the two-day Eno event is “like a giant backyard barbecue for the creative class: it’s homey and raucous, full of music, dancing, crafts, and sweaty kids slurping giant glasses of lemonade,” as The New York Times once described it.
With a mission of “saving the river one song at a time,” the festival is also a music-lover’s dream: 70 bands are scheduled to perform 60-plus hours of music from four stages. Appalachian funk-rock, soul-stirring gospel, pulsating afrobeat – it’s all there. You can break from the musical frenzy to refuel at an alfresco food court with more than 20 vendors selling heaping plates of soul food, flavorful vegetarian street fare, and homemade ice cream, to name a few. The beer garden with local brews is a popular spot.
The festival is also a mecca for regional artisans to showcase their wares in a juried fair. And your inner artist may even be inspired to weave a blanket, throw a pot, or jam on a ukelele at one of the festival’s hands-on events.
July 1 and 4; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; tickets sold at the gate, $23 for single-day pass, $35 for two-day pass, teen tickets (age 13-17) $11, children under 12 free;
West Point on the Eno City Park, 5101 N. Roxboro Road, Durham; enofest.org