Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preview: Shakori Hills Fall 2011

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival will be held Oct 6th-9th.
Click above to visit their official site.
Having fully recovered from the breakneck pacing of Hopscotch, we now set our sights on another of the Triangle's (well, just outside the Triangle) hidden gems: The Shakori Hill Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance, Shakori for short. On October 6th, the sleepy rural community of Silk Hope will erupt to vibrant life as folks of all stripes gather together on its beautiful countryside to enjoy a four day music festival.

The last festival, held in April, boasted 50 bands, including jam-band mainstays (and upstate New York natives) Donna the Buffalo, as well as astonishing sets from Arrested Development and Holy Ghost Tent Revival. As vibrant a musical community as the Triangle is, it featured a fair number of local acts, including Birds and Arrows, Mount Moriah and perennial favorites Midtown Dickens (whom I watched in the rain).

This time around, the organizers have gone all-in, so to speak. They've attracted major national acts, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, legendary banjoist Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, up-and-comer Brett Dennen, Dirty Bourbon River Show, The Emmit-Nerishi Band and many, many more. Still, they make a fantastic effort to highlight local talent with Hammer No More The Fingers, Dub Addis and Des Ark. With a grand total of over 50 fifty bands lined up and a boatload of daily activities, there is something for everyone to listen to and enjoy.

And by everyone, I mean everyone. The gorgeous, spacious 72 acre festival grounds features family camping (kids 12 and under are free!), plenty of room for vehicle camping and an uncharted wilderness where campsites are simply wherever you can fit your tent. The atmosphere there is one of an electrified harmony. That is to say, the place is humming with a vibrant energy that unites the festival goers with each other, the beautiful landscape and, of course, the music.

The Umbrella Dome at Shakori Hills.
Each umbrella is handpainted by festival goers.
But the beautiful grounds and the overwhelming slate of talented musicians isn't the only draw: the activities will delight young and old, musician and fan alike. Dance workshops range from Country Two-Step to Zydeco to clogging. Music workshops feature African drumming, a Latin percussion workshop as well as a series of "Front Porch Workshops" that include songwriting, vocal expression and banjo lessons.

For your children, who may not be interested in the intricacies of Latin percussion workshops, there's always something happening at the Cabaret tent to keep their interest, from story-telling to children's musicians to a Jammin' Baby session, the festival has covered all of its bases.

Shakori Hills Grassroots is an up-and-comer on the music festival scene. Having been to Bonnaroo and very recently having been to Hopscotch, despite their unwavering awesomeness, my love for them is entirely eclipsed by my love for Shakori. The people, the spirit of community and, of course, their ever evolving lineup is unmatched.

This is the first in a series about Shakori! Stay tuned to Myxem for more information. For info on last year's festival, hop over to our partner blog The Bottom String. You can, of course, get updates from Shakori Hills Grassroots directly via their website or their Facebook

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