Check out the Bele Chere lineup (so far)

The following bands—including Brother Joscephus & The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra (pictured)— have announced that they will be playing Asheville’s Bele Chere festival this year.

Friday, July 24
• Alt-rockers Cracker returns to Bele Chere (after opening for Train in 2006). Stage and time TBA.
Freekbass brings funk and jam. 8 p.m., stage TBA.
• Local singer/songwriter Nikki Talley plays the Coxe Ave. stage at 5 p.m.
The Hip Abduction, from Florida, plays a reggae-funk-jam hybrid. Stage and time TBA.
• Asheville’s Americana-rockers Tennessee Hollow perform at 5 p.m. on the Biltmore stage.

Saturday, July 25
• Southern rocker Colt Ford at the Biltmore Stage, 8:15 p.m. From Ford’s Myspace page: “Come out and party with Colt Ford and his band of Rednecks. You never know else might show up!!”
• Local funk collective Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band is like a festival unto itself. This is the band’s 5th consecutive appearance. Show time is 5 p.m. at the Biltmore Ave. stage.
• Knoxville-based retro-swing outfit Christabel & the Jons will be at the Battery Park stage at noon.
• Black Mountain’s cajun and zydeco Bayou Diesel take the Coxe Ave. stage at 12:30 p.m.
• Local bluegrass band Sons of Ralph have a 2 p.m. show time (stage TBA).
David Holt & the Lightning Bolts are a local traditional band. They’ll perform at 8 p.m. (stage TBA). 
WSNB, WNC-based blues rockers, plays at 4 p.m. (stage TBA).
Black Betty the “rockin’ blues pinup” from Washington, D.C., will play a 4 p.m. slot (stage TBA).
• Bluesman Charlie Sayles was playing the National Folk Festival back in the 1970s. He’ll take part in Bele Chere at 4 p.m. (stage TBA).
Ras Alan, creator of “Appalachian reggae,” starts his set on the Biltmore Ave. stage at 4:15 p.m. The performer writes, “Ras Alan and Brother Bob fill the summertime streets with sweet Appalachian Reggae!”

Sunday, July 26
• Does it seem like it’s shaping up to be a roots/Americana-themed festival? Webb Wilder won’t change your mind about that. The Nashville artist performs at 4 p.m. (stage TBA).
• Local teen blues rockers Skinny Legs & All take the Biltmore Ave. stage at 12:15 p.m.
The Freddie Long Band will make the drive from Frederick, Md. to perform acoustic pop-rock at the Coxe Ave. stage, 2:15 p.m.
• New York-based Brother Joscephus brings his psychedelic neo-soul “Love Revival Revolution Orchestra” to the Battery Park Stage at 4:15 p.m. He promises the set to be “the jewel of our upcoming mid-Atlantic tour.”
• 70s-era pop-rock hit makers Orleans (“Still the One,” “Dance with Me”) got their start in Woodstock (the town, not the iconic festival). The group—touring off and on for four decades—performs at 4:15 p.m. (stage TBA).
• Asheville’s MarsupiaL brings psychedelic rock and giant beards to the Haywood Street Stage at 12:15 p.m.
• Locally-based Jon Scales Fourchestra is a steel drum-led experimental jazz project. Catch the band at 1 p.m. (stage TBA).
• Cajun-creole group Carolina Gator Gumbo (from Charlotte, N.C.) plays the Coxe Ave. stage at 12:15 p.m.
• Haywood County’s Balsam Range will perform bluegrass 1:45 p.m. (stage TBA).

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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38 thoughts on “Check out the Bele Chere lineup (so far)

  1. Mysterylogger

    Wow more burned out artists and never was acts.

    Our tax dollars hard at work.

  2. hauntedheadnc

    Typical. Asheville has refined complaining to high art. If Bele Chere is packed with big name headliners, people complain the it’s too big and commercialized. If it’s not packed with headliners, they complain that it’s boring.

    Oh, Sour-faced Anne, with your chin in your hand, can’t you ever be pleased?

  3. Piffy!

    you seem to be reading into the above posts quite a bit, hhnc.

    And i dont think anyone would complain if there were interesting, relevant “big names” at belle cher. But not too many people care about the new line-up for Canned Heat.

  4. Bjorn

    It would definitely be nice to occasionally see some better known acts locally. For instance I’m heading out to see the 40th anniversary of Woodstock show up in Bethel NY. & we’ll spend a few days in NYC at the Blue Note Jazz Club. Earlier this year we saw Van Morrison at MSG in NYC. It’d be nice not to have to travel so far to catch some headliners. I’d rather spend the dough locally.

  5. There can be a compromise between big-name headliners and local representation. I don’t really think this year does either. As Alli said, the Roots/Americana genre is covered, but of the other (few) local cross-genre bands, it’s either bands who have played Bele Chere many times (YMBFBB who I love, but still) or bad time slots (12:15pm and 1pm on SUNDAY for Marsupial and Jon Scales, respectively), SERIOUSLY?
    Lets hope the remaining schedule has some high-energy, not-played-here-100-times headliners, and some more eclectic local bands.

  6. coursepate

    how about spiritual rez, lions of jah, laura reed, we need a little more reggae/jam dance music … my girl and other girls love to get happy and dance … of course ymbfbb works but we need more I also dont see enough high energy big sound crossover bluegrass

  7. Yeah – I could think of a couple dozen Local acts that would fit great into the headliner roll –

    Where is Christine Kane?
    Mad Tea Party?
    Jen & the Juice?
    Woody Wood?
    and so many others – Asheville is certainly not short of a great music scene.

    We’re missing both significant local talent & any major headliner. I don’t mind cutting back on big names as they cost the festival more money than it is worth, but come on, who ever planned this totally shafted some of our best singers & songwriters.

    At least Nikki Tally is up there. :-P

  8. Rebecca Sulock

    keep in mind this is only a partial list. The city hasn’t released the entire lineup yet, and says that won’t happen until all the contracts are signed. We do hope to get it soon, but in the meantime we wanted to let people know the information that’s out there!

  9. Mysterylogger

    Bele Chere makes it hard for local artists to play at the Festival. There is a time period they can play before and after the over rated event, which is lame.

    I understand the need for a bigger name but come on lets get a decent music headlining artist.

  10. Thanks for clearing that up Rebecca –

    I guess these comments are mostly the result that come with the challenge of only having part of the story.
    Here’s to looking forward to the full & complete lineup.

  11. nikki t

    hey thanks jenn bow!!! :) yeah i am always grateful to play bele chere…i will say that bele chere used to have a sorta-policy of not letting folks play too much back-to-back-to-back? (three years in a row or something?) so that might be a possiblity of why more local folks weren’t on the list…plus i play for the same amount of money that i did when i started back 5+ years ago…so maybe that has something to do w/ it? i’m CHEAP!!! ha ha ha. :D

  12. What a sweet deal you have in Asheville, most cities NSW+E are cutting back especially the “Arts”. Therefore no Festivals free or otherwise . No doubt all the imports remember how it was in their other hangouts ,So again Asheville ,what a sweet town you live in. Andrew

  13. Piffy!

    Belle Cher’s history of booking by-gone rock stars is quite in-line with most of the attendees cultural awareness, though.

    Most of those funnel-cake-fiends are still living 10 years behind, cultural, anyway, making Cracker quite relevant indeed.

    Maybe next year they can get Better than Ezra, or KC and the Sunshine band.

    Oh, right. they did that last year.

  14. homer

    id be ashamed if i was on the planning committee for this. horrible………

  15. thedj

    Look y’all. Bele Chere is not Pitchfork or Austin City Limits or even Atlanta’s City Stages. If y’all want to make a festival in your image, volunteer for Parks and Rec or boost the LAAF, or round up Harvest Records and such and create a new festival. Have it in the River District or West Asheville to save money. Meanwhile, grab a funnel cake, enjoy the people watching, and help out the dozens of local non-profits that rely on Bele Chere as a fund raiser.

  16. September Girl

    Bele Chere’s real legacy is OVER-paying for the national acts they book, the result of their amateur/volunteer approach to promoting the event. They have shunned local talent buyers and promoters and made ridiculously laughable deals, the stuff of legend among agents. Their approach to booking local and regional acts is equally misguided. They’ve managed to build a great brand with our tax dollars, I wish they’d use it to promote local business and culture instead of feeding egos.

  17. Piffy!

    “But you can drink outside. Outside! In public!

    With no shirt and cut-off jeans! ”

    And blubber rolling out of said cut-offs!

  18. Cracker has a new album out and it’s pretty damn good. First band to play Bele Chere in like three years that I even slightly wanted to see, so that’s something anyway. Slightly less dismal lineup than usual!

  19. Ephraim –
    You’ll not hear me deny that those who live in Asheville should consider themselves fortunate.

    But Asheville is always on the balance of equilibrium between being tourism & community infrastructure, and that can be very tricky for the locals.

    Check this article from an Asheville like town just outside of Portland – we share more than a few trends in common:

  20. PAG

    Did you check out The Hip Abduction? I saw them with Spiritual Rez in Tampa. They kick ass!

  21. ANNIEK


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