Photo by Abigail Pittman

By Haley Gray

Raleigh has lots of amazing festivals, and as we near the start of the area’s festival season, here are some that you will NOT want to miss! Save the dates, mark your calendars, and show up for some great fun!

Artsplosure

A festival goer walks through the luminarium at 2017’s Artsplosure. Photo by Abigail Pittman

Best Suited For: Everyone

When To See It: Saturday, May 18 – Sunday, May 19, 2019

This is the tried-and-true festival in downtown Raleigh. Artsplosure has been around for nearly 40 years, and has art for sale, musical performances, and kid-friendly activities. As with any festival, alcohol is readily available. Artsplosure usually has a special exhibit running, such as a Luminarium (see above) or Art Pianos. Learn more: http://artsplosure.org/raleigh-events/

Festival for the Eno

Best Suited For: Everyone

When To See It: Thursday, July 4 – Saturday, July 6, 2019

70 bands on five stages. This is one of the largest local festivals, with attractions for the entire family. Between bands, food, crafts and artisans, there is something for nearly everyone. Learn more: https://www.enofest.org/

Hopscotch Music Festival

Photo by Abigail Pittman

Best Suited For: 21+

When To See It: September 5-7, 2019

Listen to the music! This festival has every genre you can think of, with 2018 headliners like The Flaming Lips and Miguel. Hopscotch, as it’s known by the locals, is a weekend-long event hosted at 12 venues with shows from ~130 artists. Records, posters, and other “merch” are available as well. 2019 will be their 10th year in downtown Raleigh. Learn more: http://hopscotchmusicfest.com/

IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival

Best Suited For: Everyone

When To See It: Tuesday, September 24 – Saturday, September 28, 2019

The banjo music travels to Raleigh one weekend a year, and it is worth the wait! Some musicians perform at Red Hat Amphitheater and require tickets, but many bands perform on street stages and are open to the public. This festival also hosts a large art/vendor sale. Learn more: https://worldofbluegrass.org/wide-open-bluegrass/

SPARKCon

Photo by Google Images

Best Suited For: Everyone

When To See It:October 2019- Dates To Be Announced.

With the self-proclaimed title “The Triangle’s Creativity Festival,” SPARKCon can’t be bad, right? It’s a weekend full of oddities, comedy, music, and more! Celebrate your inner nerd. It is a crowd-sourced event, so the community is encouraged to become a part of the planning, and show off who you are, and what you do.  Bring out your creative side, and be a part of SPARKCon.

Learn more: https://sparkcon.com/

First Night Raleigh

Photo by First Night Raleigh

Best Suited for: Everyone

When To See It: December 31, 2019

First Night Raleigh is the area’s largest New Year’s celebration with many restaurants, churches, and other venues open for open houses, performances, and entertainment–it’s a ton of fun. North Carolina’s Acorn is dropped at midnight. Learn more;  http://firstnightraleigh.com/