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 […]

ALL THAT GLITTERS: The Asheville Area Arts Council holds its annual color ball fundraiser, this year called the Gilded Ball, at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. Expect music, performance arts and live and silent auctions. Photo from last year's Emerald Ball by Micah Mackenzie

Asheville Area Arts Council celebrates a big year with the Gilded Ball

The past year has been an especially successful one for the Asheville Area Arts Council. In addition to receiving record funding from the city of Asheville and Buncombe County, the AAAC was assigned the county’s disseminator of arts programming funds through the state’s Grassroots Arts Program, helping to further its mission as the collective local […]

SONY DSC

Smart bets: Heritage Weekend

This September marks the 34th year for Heritage Weekend, a free festival that explores traditional Appalachian customs like beekeeping, coopering, heritage toy making, broom and furniture making, spinning and natural dyeing, all sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Both Saturday and Sunday offer a full lineup of crafts, dance and mountain-inspired music with fare […]

OK GO on the set of The Writing's On The Wall

Smart bets: OK Go

Sure, vocal tracks often have an intelligible rhythm, but frontman Damian Kulash nearly drives the drum set to obsolescence with his staccato vocals in OK Go‘s latest tune, “Turn Up the Radio.” The pop number, from the band’s 2014 EP Upside Out, drifts into a stripped-down interlude only fleetingly before the Los Angeles rockers steer […]