Spotlight: Groove in the garden

photo by Kristen Abigail Collective

photo by Kristen Abigail Collective

by Jessie Ammons

On August 13, the Raleigh Rose Garden is the place to get your groove on. “We’re not just trying to go with what we think will be the hottest band, but what we think fits the area and the crowd,” says Craig Reed, CEO of Younger Brother Productions and co-founder, along with Pour House owner Adam Lindstaedt, of Groove in the Garden.

The second-annual music festival in the Stephenson Amphitheater at Raleigh Little Theatre will once again feature a daylong, family-oriented celebration with artisan vendors, food trucks, and local beer. “This is in a neighborhood,” Reed says. “It’s for the 8-to-80 crowd. We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone who wants to come.”

That means suds and tunes aplenty, but also a shaded area with games for children and thoughtfully chosen vendors. “The focus is not to just put up a show and line it with booths and sell tickets, but to cultivate a community presence.”

But the music lineup is no afterthought. What made Groove in the Garden a breakout success in its inaugural year was a diverse set of North Carolina-based musicians, and this year is no different. Longtime Raleighites might remember the Fabulous Knobs, a cult favorite rock band from the ’80s – they’ll make their reunion on the Groove in the Garden stage. Then there’s Inflowential, an instrumental beat-box hip-hop group with local ties, and Holy Ghost Tent Revival, a folk troupe heavy on the horns and blues influences. In between main stage sets, a more intimate acoustic stage in the middle of the rose garden will rotate 15-minute singer-songwriter performances.

With music starting at 2 p.m. and everything wrapping up by 9 p.m., Groove in the Garden fills the languid late-summer afternoon stretch without keeping anybody up late. Lindstaedt hopes folks walk, bike, and take public transportation to get there. “It’s a very accessible location,” he says. “It’s kind of shocking that the space has never been used this way. It’s just screaming for it.” 

Tickets to Groove in the Garden are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate; learn more at