BET Rural Academy Theater

Smart bets: Rural Academy Theater

The Rural Academy Theater will “clop its way into your backyard and heart,” claims a press release by the horse-pulled production’s organizers. This year, the annual mobile mini-circus includes a slapstick interpretation of North Carolina’s pro-fracking legislation, a depiction of human presence on a geological timeline and an evening showing of Georges Méliès’ 1902 silent […]

THE MUSIC MAN: Bascom Lamar Lunsford, third from left, appears in this photo from the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Scrapbook, Southern Appalachian Archives, Mars Hill University. The caption reads, “The Lovingood sisters and the Greer sisters with Bascom about 1933, ‘still feeding my soul!’”

Mars Hill’s Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival celebrates a folk hero

While many people wear multiple proverbial hats and dabble in more than one career, Madison County-born Bascom Lamar Lunsford epitomized that concept. A lawyer and a folklorist, the Mars Hill native campaigned against hillbilly stereotypes while preserving Appalachian mountain music traditions. A performer himself — his recordings are included in the Archive of American Folk […]

Noam & Stuart

Smart bets: Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan

We’ve all heard of “Dueling Banjos,” but Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan are two string virtuosos who work together. Collectively, the musicians have collaborated with a brimming Rolodex of A-list artists, including Fiona Apple, Wilco, Béla Fleck, Dolly Parton and even the Jonas Brothers. Pikelny, Grammy nominee and banjoist for Punch Brothers, says he’s long […]

Cornelia4

Smart bets: Die Fledermaus

“Die Fledermaus,” a libretto often rewritten and performed with local flair, will soon transform into its Asheville incarnation with the help of Asheville Lyric Opera. Set in Western North Carolina’s famous Giltmore home and based around the Southern mountain charm of the Vanerburgh family, ALO’s adaptation is intended to “create a deeper sense of appreciation […]

BIG TIME: Washington, D.C.-based M.H. & His Orchestra perform at the Blue Ridge Pride Festival on Saturday. This year's event also focuses on organizations oriented to the Pride community. Photo by Heaton Johnson

Blue Ridge Pride Festival focuses on marriage, family and fun

Blue Ridge Pride’s Yvonne Cook-Riley estimates that 35-40 percent of attendees at Pack Square Park for the organization’s festival on Saturday, Oct. 4, will be straight allies. That is, people who identify as heterosexual but back their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning friends and family. What accounts for such strong support of […]

KNOW HOW TO WORK IT: Big Freedia, one of the only bounce artists with prominent national exposure, teaches fans to lose themselves in the music with sage advice such as “release your wiggle." Photo courtesy of the musician

Big Freedia, Queen of bounce, plays New Mountain on Sept. 30

It’s just after noon on the final day of 2013’s South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The fatigue that the marathon music festival inflicts is readily evident in a grand ballroom in Austin’s labyrinthine convention center. A small crowd has gathered to watch New Orleans rapper Big Freedia (pronounced FREE-duh) perform a daytime set, but their […]

Bailey Mountain Cloggers

Smart bets: Mountain Heritage Day

Break out the candles! Western Carolina University celebrates its 125th year during the 40th annual Mountain Heritage Day festival, a free event to recollect WCU’s rich history. Two stages and a dedicated dance floor will host clogging team performances and concerts (including Grammy Award-winner David Holt), and more than 100 vendor booths will sprawl into […]

Shimshai4

Smart bets: Shimshai

“I gotta get my Asheville fix!” writes Shimshai on his own concert’s Facebook page, where several giddy fans have already responded with victorious tales of acquiring admission tickets. The California-based mantra musician, a self-described “seeker of truth,” sends lyrics into the crowd on gentle waves of finger-picked guitar, leaving plenty of inspired devotees in the […]