The Bele Chere lineup so far

It may be only May, but the bands on the Bele Chere 2011 are starting to crop up. Xpress has a handful of early-release musical acts. Check back for more over the coming weeks.

Bele Chere takes place Friday, July 29-Sunday, July 31.

• Railroad Earth: The New Jersey-based roots/Americana band is no stranger to Asheville, having played the Orange Peel stage as recently as January. They take their name from the Jack Kerouac short story “October in the Railroad Earth;” their most recent album (the band’s fifth) is self-titled and was released last fall.

Cedric Burnside Project (above): “After many successful years of touring the world with Lightnin’ Malcolm as ‘the Juke Joint Duo’, Cedric has started a new band: The Cedric Burnside Project,” says Burnside’s website. The grandson of Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside, Cedric was first known as a drummer but he also plays guitar and sings. His new project includes rapper Cody Burnside and guitarist/drummer Jesse Hiatt.

Jessica Lea Mayfield (below): Kent, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield doesn’t perform the upbeat, party-mood kind of music usually associated with festivals. But this Black Keys-discovered ingenue has made Asheville a regular stop on her tours Her most recent album is this year’s Tell Me.

• Common Foundation (below):  This newly-minted local band plays “a blend of reggae, rocksteady and uptempo ska, all outfitted with a big band style horn section. They’ll move from soulful instrumentals with jazz influenced solos, to sing along melodies in three part harmony.”

Holy Ghost Tent Revival: While this six-piece band is actually based out of Greensboro, they seem local. They often perform with their friends Now You See Them and are regularly featured on Asheville stages. “The air of their creation breathes a sense of celebration and salvation, of a raucous party where everyone is welcome and the most stoic find their toes tapping and a smile breaking free,” says the band’s website.

• The StereoFidelics (below): Local indie band The Stereofidelics plays a handful of instruments and has toured to the tune of more than 600 shows. And there are just two members: Chris Padgett (guitars, foot-operated synth-bass) and Melissa McGinley (electric violin, drums). They share vocals. Want to see them sooner? They play The Grey Eagle tonight (Thursday, May 12). 8:30 p.m. with Hellblinki and Montana Skies.

• Do It To Julia: A few years ago, then-Boone-based four-pieced indie-pop band Do It To Julia (they take their name from a quote in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four) moved to Asheville. Ever since, they’ve been a big part of the local scene, appearing with regularity on festival rosters and in clubs. Want to see them sooner? They play the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival on Saturday, May 14 and at The Grey Eagle on Thursday, May 19.

The London Souls (below): You might guess, based on the band’s name, that the London Souls are from the U.K. You would be wrong. These rockers are from N.Y. and their sound recalls the ‘70s when rock was raw and direct. They kind of look like that era, too — though their debut album is slated to come out this July.

• Secret B-sides: Local soul/funk/hip-hop band the Secret B-Sides spent the last two-plus years recording Flowers & Chocolate with the release of that album, the band has been playing local stages and festivals, bolsters by a stellar cast of local guest artists. Want to see them sooner? They play Pisgah Brewery on Saturday, July 9. 9 p.m.

ReBirth Brass Band (below): Formed in New Orleans nearly 30 years ago, the Rebirth Brass Band has released more than a dozen albums. The group’s beginings were humble enough: Brothers Philip (tuba/sousaphone) and Keith (bass drum) Frazier with Kermit Ruffins (trumpet) and other marching band members from Joseph S. Clark Senior High School combined their talents — along with funk, jazz, soul, hip hop and traditional New Orleans second-line sounds.

• Doc Aquatic: Another band that got its start in Boone, Doc Aquatic brings its own brand of psychedelic-tinged indie-rock to local stages. Want to see them sooner? They’ll be at BoBo Gallery on Wednesday, May 25 with Alligator Indian, Hear Hums and Aswara.

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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22 thoughts on “The Bele Chere lineup so far

  1. dpewen

    Nice lineup! I always look forward to Bele Chere and this years’ lineup looks excellent!

  2. Mick Ballantine

    The reason the crowds have slimmed so much the past couple of years? Music acts that no one has ever heard of,save perhaps the all night rave crowd 20-somethings.

    Let’s get some KNOWN bands and performers. God knows we have plenty of good talent around here. For example, how about The Steep Canyon Rangers?

  3. dpewen

    seriously? I am 60 and know all these bands because they all play in the area numerous times.
    Get out to clubs and you will find out too!

  4. dpewen

    Yes, I am sure this person never gets out to support live music.

  5. WAVLokel

    I get out to see music at least 3 times a week and these bands suck. It has nothing to do with supporting live music. You can’t polish a turd.

  6. Highways

    Excellent line-up. Looking forward to seeing the others as they roll out.

  7. Don't like it? Don't go

    Ya know, I’m so sick of hearing some people whine about Bele Chere when the fact that IT’S FREE should really end your bitchin’ Mr. Ballantine. No one forces you to go. It’s free live music all weekend. Sure it’s a freak show, but that’s what makes it exciting. You never know what you might see. Some of these bands are really good too and many are from around here. The festival attracts tourist who stay in the hotels, eat in the restaurants and support local business. If you can’t appreciate that then you don’t belong here.

  8. dave

    Yeah man, this is a nice start. Some local talent, regional and national, too. Good deal. Rebirth sounds great, Cedric Burnside, too cool.

  9. boatrocker

    Hey kids, wanna play a fun game? It’s called Armchair Bele Chere selection committee! The rules are simple-

    If your friends’ bands is playing or one of your fav bands, gush here about how great the festival is.

    If one of your friends’ bands or one of your fav bands is not playing, then trash the lineup.

    Either way, at least it’s free again. I only wish we could choose the weather for the weekend so it’s not so oppresively hot and humid.

  10. dpewen

    Saying bands suck is immature and childish. I actually like the hot and humid weather too!

  11. boatrocker

    As it is also immature and childish to unconditionally support any and all bands that play at a given festival like a pollyanna sychophant.

    It’s ok not to like certain music, just as it is ok to like certain music. Deep thoughts, hear them here first.

  12. Why wasn’t I consulted on this lineup? I’m outraged! Outraged, I tell you!

    Just wear something interesting. Maybe I’ll take your picture.

  13. dpewen

    boatrocker you have some serious issues with your reading skills. You have no idea what type of music I like or what festivals I attend. Your posts are irrelevent to me.

  14. If your friends’ bands is playing or one of your fav bands, gush here about how great the festival is.

    If one of your friends’ bands or one of your fav bands is not playing, then trash the lineup.

    Damn, Boatrocker, I have friends who are and who are not playing. What do I do?

    I’ve made my peace with Bele Chere. My shop will suffer, but I keep it open… I think we are appreciated by anyone stuck downtown or in the service industry. Occasionally they will book a touring act that I want to see.

    That being said, why not mix it up just a little, especially if it really doesn’t matter who is playing. Band of Horses would be an obvious choice, and personally I think the shirtless Budweiser crowd would go crazy for Lucero.

  15. boatrocker

    Orbit, I think you just solved your dilema by realizing that Bele Chere is big enough that you don’t have to spend all weekend downtown. Fortunealtely, those that live in or around town can actually go home once they’ve got their festival fix vs. worrying about a hotel room or a camping spot like most festivals.

    Re: depewen comment above- ??? Were you mentioned by name? Methinks thee protest too much.

  16. boatrocker

    Hmm, I’m a complainer now. As is the custom of our legal system, I do believe the burden of proof lies with the accuser. I’m complaining about what? Please elaborate for the plebes-

    Or am I pointing out a funny trend of gushing over bands you (2nd person)like, and poo-pooing a festival if you don’t like the music? Otherwise, keep it civil, ya’ll. Debate the ideas, not the posters as management here states eloquently.

  17. paul_randall

    It’s the perfect weekend to stay away from downtown. Basically, Bele Chere is “Myrtle Beach in the Mountains.” I’ve been working in downtown Asheville since 94′ and it is, by far, the worst weekend of the year.

    Did someone say camping trip? Woo-hoo!

  18. Matt

    Just checked the website for Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. They’re in!

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