Ready for a very different sort of festival? Fanaticon returns for its second year with "comics, collectibles, pop culture and more." Unlike your typical summer fest, Fanaticon is mostly indoors. There's less ziplining and corndog eating, more trivia (movie and trivia night is on Thursday, May 19), costumes, sci-fi and heady panel discussions. The main event is Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Asheville Art Museum, with vendors, a kids' zone, music (Mad Tea Party, Falcon Lords) and more. A kick-off rave takes place Friday, May 20 at the Grove House. Free admission to the festival. fanaticon.org.
Montford Music & Arts Festival
Eight years in and still going strong, the annual Montford Music & Arts Festival is part craft fair, part live concert, part neighborhood block party. The event takes place on Montford Avenue and Soco Street (near Nine Mile restaurant). The main stage features acts like Firecracker Jazz Band, Billy Jonas, David Holt & the Lightning Bolts, Free Plant Radio and others. This year brings a new acoutsic-only stage as well, with bands like Nataraj, Leigh Glass Band, Pick Your Switch and more. Saturday, May 21 beginning at 10 a.m. Free. montford.org/festival.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals formed nearly a decade ago when Potter met drummer Matthew Burr and the two began collaborating over a mutual love of classic rock. With the addition of guitarist Scott Tournet, the band earned a reputation on the jam circuit for its high-energy performances. But it wasn't until a guest spot on the VH1 documentary Woodstock in 2009 that Potter and co. hit the national spotlight. Now, with the addition of guitarist Benny Yurco and bassist Catherine Popper, it’s taken the fusion of retro rock, soul and blues to a new level, drawing comparisons to everyone from The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin to Bonnie Raitt and Etta James. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals makes its seventh stop in Asheville, this time at Pisgah Brewing Company's outdoor stage, on Thursday, May 19. 7 p.m. $20/$25. pisgahbrewing.com.
If you happen to have Memorial Day off, then you’ll find yourself with a three-day weekend. Wondering how to make a late night of Sunday, May 29? Brooklyn’s The Defibulators (that’s right, it’s a twist on “defribulator,” and they tour in a vintage ambulance just to drive the point home) would be happy to fill up a few of those hours. The quirk/roots (bluegrass, country, honky tonk, rockabilly, Dixieland jazz, punk) six-man-one-woman band — last in Asheville for their 2010 Bele Chere spot — stops by Altamont Brewing Company (1042 Haywood Rd.). David Earl (a.k.a. “Asheville favorite ex-boyfriend”) opens. 9 p.m., $8. thedefibulators.com.