UNCA announces first annual Arts Fest

Press Release

University of North Carolina Asheville

Concerts by two Grammy Award winners – the Steep Canyon Rangers and David Holt – will highlight the first-ever UNC Asheville Arts Fest, April 10-13. This new four-day festival will feature music, theater, art and new media exhibitions, interactive sculpture, prose and poetry, and will include many local artists, UNC Asheville students, alumni and faculty. All UNC Asheville Arts Fest events will be open to the community and while some events will be ticketed, many will be free.

The Steep Canyon Rangers, who won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album last year for Nobody Knows You, and whose new album, Tell the Ones I Love, is now No. 8 and rising on the Billboard sales list, will perform in Kimmel Arena at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 10. The concert marks a homecoming for band member and mandolin player Mike Guggino, who earned a B.A. in history at UNC Asheville in 2001. Tickets range from $11.50 to $34.50, and are available online and at the Kimmel Arena box office.

David Holt and the Lightning Bolts will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in Lipinsky Auditorium, with ticket prices ranging from $5 for UNC Asheville students to $20 for the general public. An exhibit of Holt’s photos of the late Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones and many others will be on display in the Lipinsky Hall lobby throughout UNC Asheville Arts Fest. Holt, who plays traditional music on ten acoustic instruments and often tells traditional tall tales during his concerts, won Grammy awards for his recordings with Watson. He appeared in the movie, O Brother Where Art Thou, and hosts popular public television and radio programs including Great Scenic Railway Journeys.

“We are tremendously excited to have these great musicians here, and not just because of their talent, but because of what they embody,” said Laura Bond, director of UNC Asheville’s Arts and Ideas Program and professor of drama. “Mike Guggino studied history here before updating the bluegrass tradition. David Holt studied art and biology as an undergraduate in California before coming here to the mountains where he ended up founding Warren Wilson College’s Appalachian Music Program and becoming an important figure in our region’s musical heritage. They are perfect to headline the Arts Fest, where we’ll have a cross-pollination of many forms of art informed by many areas of study.

Other UNC Asheville Arts Fest highlights will include TheatreUNCA’s staging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and performances by UNC Asheville’s Percussion Ensemble and the String Quartet. The UNC Asheville Quad will host interactive sculpture and other outdoor events and art exhibits on Saturday, April 12. The variety of literature events will range from a “College vs. High School” poetry slam, to readings by many local prose writers, to a keynote appearance from state’s poet laureate, Joseph Bathanti.

For more information and online tickets, visit http://arts.unca.edu/ARTSfest or call Katie Cornell at 828.251.6808. The Kimmel Arena box office is open 1:30-4:30 p.m. weekdays and one hour before UNC Asheville basketball home games.

UNC Asheville Arts Fest is sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Arts and Ideas Program, with support from the Associate Provost, the Howerton Professor of the Humanities, and many other UNC Asheville departments and programs.


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