Around town: Shakedown Sunday bids goodnight one last time

NOTHIN' SHAKIN' ON SHAKEDOWN STREET: A crowd of regulars enjoys Shakedown Sunday for the last time. The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall has hosted the weekly event for almost five years. Photo courtesy of The One Stop

For almost five years, Asheville’s Deadhead community has congregated weekly for Shakedown Sunday at The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall. This past Sunday, fans gathered as musicians took the small stage for the final time.

Born in the fall of 2019, Shakedown Sunday began as a way for local musicians to showcase their talents with a common theme: the music of the Grateful Dead (the name hails from the song “Shakedown Street”). Musicians participated in a set of Dead and related music, followed by a singer-songwriter set, followed by a non-Dead set and ending with more Dead. Vendors were invited to sell art, jewelry, clothing and more — mirroring the parking lot scene at Grateful Dead shows, where the main vending sections were referred to as “Shakedown.”

“We wanted to give an opportunity for folks to hear their fave Dead cover bands doing other material as well as Dead songs,” says musician Kyley Byrd, who was one of the original organizers along with Arjay Sutton. “The … ‘tweener set’ [was created] by a local songwriter so we could have a captive audience in place to hear some of the great original music being developed in our community.”

Eric Swanson, a bassist with local Dead cover band Dirty Dead, one of the first bands to play the event, replaced Sutton as co-organizer during the pandemic. “This town is very fluid with music, and we’ve had a very good run,” he says. “It’s time to put it on the shelf for a little bit.”

“Shakedown Sunday has been awesome for the community,” he continues. “It’s a spot where even if you don’t know anybody, you can listen and participate in a very welcoming manner.”

Shakedown Sunday regular Scott Shaw, who celebrated his birthday at the final event, says the series allowed him to see bands he might not see otherwise. “Also, as Sundays are less touristy than the rest of the weekend, you tend to see a lot of the same local folks in the crowd week after week. It’s really like a little Sunday night music family.”

The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall is at 55 College St. For more information, visit

Celebrating Zelda

The annual 2024 Zelda Fitzgerald events will take place Thursday, March 7-Sunday, March 10, at various locations around town. This year marks the ninth anniversary of the celebration of the writer, artist and wife of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. She died in a 1948 fire at Asheville’s Highland Hospital, which was then a psychiatric institution.

This year’s free events, which highlight the societal pressures on women creatives during Fitzgerald’s time, begin Thursday, March 7, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Mark Taylor, a Fitzgerald tour guide from Minnesota, will read from and discuss Scott Fitzgerald’s nonfiction work The Cruise of the Rolling Junk, chronicling his eight-day car ride with Zelda from Connecticut to Alabama in 1919. 

On Friday, March 8, 6-7:30 p.m., at the AmeriHealth Caritas N.C. Wellness and Opportunity Center, Alaina Doten will be the keynote speaker for “Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Lifelong Love of and Visits to Asheville.” Doten is the curator and director of the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Ala., and the host of the “Zelda’s Peaches and Biscuits” podcast.

Marsha Gordon, film studies professor at N.C. State University, will discuss her book Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life and Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott, at the East Asheville Public Library on Saturday, March 9, 1-2:30 p.m. Parrott, a contemporary of Fitzgerald’s, experienced many of the same issues as Zelda. The book signing will be followed by a screening of The Divorcee, a 1930 film based on Parrott’s Jazz-Age bestseller, Ex-Wife.

The event will close on Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m., at Battery Park Book Exchange, with A Literary Tasting presented by Monika Gross of Candler’s At-A-Site Theater. Gross will read from some of Fitzgerald’s works, paired with culinary tastings for an additional cost.

For more information, visit

30 years of linoleum prints

Wilmington-based artist Janette Hopper‘s works from 30 years of linoleum printmaking will be on exhibit together for the first time at the Flood Gallery Fine Art Center in Black Mountain, Saturday, March 9-Sunday, June 2, with an opening reception 6-8 p.m.

“Agony and Ecstasy: Images of Conscience” reflects “love, sorrow, conflict, beauty, enjoyment of nature, contemplation of what is, was and could be and political commentary,” according to Hopper. She says she fell in love with making linocuts in 1991 while in Denmark on a Fulbright scholarship, after creating an example as a demonstration for her students.

The process involves first drawing the image and then filling in the drawing in black and white, after which the reverse image is transferred to a linoleum plate. The lighter parts are then carved out by hand, the plate is inked with a roller, and then the paper is placed on the carved surface and hand-rubbed with a spoon. Finally, the print is pulled from the plate and allowed to dry.

Hopper, who received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon, has studied and taught internationally. She landed in North Carolina when she was asked to chair the art department at UNC Pembroke, where she served for 10 years.

The Flood Gallery Fine Art Center is at 850 Blue Ridge Road, Black Mountain. For more information, visit

Rising regional youth musicians

Blue Ridge Jamboree: On the Rise, a showcase of Western North Carolina’s rising musical artists ages 25 and younger, will take place Saturday, March 9, 7 p.m., at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.

Hosted by musician and Madison County native Josh Goforth, the show features Dollywood performer Addie Levy and her singer-songwriter husband, Eric Pratt; Appalachian Roots, which has opened for Steep Canyon Rangers and Old Crow Medicine Show; old-time and bluegrass sibling band Newfound Gap, led by 15-year-old banjo picker Bayla Davis; and Hightop Mountain Harmony.

Proceeds will support Friends of the Blue Ridge’s Lynn Davis Scholarship program, which provides $1,000 in scholarships to high school seniors to pursue college degrees related to enhancing the Blue Ridge region.

“Our mission is to celebrate the ecological beauty and cultural vitality of this Blue Ridge region we’re all fortunate to call home,” says Julie Whalen, executive director of Friends of the Blue Ridge, in a press release. “Part of that involves inspiring our next generation to be caretakers of that heritage.”

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is at 18 Biltmore Ave. For tickets, visit

A fundraiser for professional crafting

The Haywood Community College Foundation will present its inaugural Evening of Art, an event to support the college’s professional crafts program, on Thursday, March 14, 6-9 p.m., in the Sycamore building on campus. The event will include a live performance from the 18-piece Asheville Jazz Orchestra, dancing, a buffet dinner, studio tours and a silent auction with works from local artists, including Phillip DeAngelo, Margaret Roberts and Sarah Wells Rolland.

The professional crafts program offers degrees, diplomas and certificates in four mediums: wood, fiber, clay and jewelry. The funds raised will support field trips, specialty training opportunities and needed supplies.

Haywood Community College is at 185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde. For more information, visit


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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