By Seth Muller
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
Carrboro hosted its 15th annual music festival on Sunday for over 175 acts, at 25 different venues, with 10,000 attendees. The Carrboro community came out in droves to support music from across North Carolina.
Lydia Lavelle, a volunteer at the festival and Carrboro alderman said about the festival, “Its success is 100 percent linked to all of the volunteers that make it what it is today. We are fortunate in having citizens that want to work with our town to make good events like this.”
The festival began at 1 p.m. Sunday with multiple acts all over town. The list of bands ranged from the Magnolia Klezmer Band, a traditional Jewish wedding celebration band, to Mipso, a popular local folk/Americana/bluegrass band, to Virgins, a tribal drum band.
“It’s one of our town’s signature events. You can get exposed to all kinds of music you didn’t even know existed in a small, intimate venue.” Lavelle said
People can hear about the music festival by checking the community bulletin board at Weaver Street Market, or by word of mouth in the community.
Emma Blade, another music festival volunteer, described how she got involved. “I saw it on a guy’s T-shirt. Then I looked it up online and decided it would be an awesome way to spend my Sunday.”
And Carrboro’s music festival is not like other music festivals. The music is seamlessly deposited in the middle of the day-to-day community. It is on the lawn at Weaver Street Market. It is by Southern Rail during lunch. It is down the alley from Carrboro Beverage Co.
Elliot Mills, one of the founders of the Magnolia Klezmer Band, put it this way. “It’s not out in the country with artificial stages. It’s in a place where people are used to living and shopping and going. It utilizes space that people actually use.”
Mills said the reason the band chooses to play in the music festival is because they live here and the crowd is always very receptive. He thinks the audience consists mainly of local community members.
According to Lavelle, Carrboro provides a unique location for a music festival. It has the community involvement to support a large-scale event and the reputation to draw over 175 bands. In regards to its music scene, people have commonly called Carrboro the Seattle of the South, but Mills said Carrboro offers its own brand of musical experience. You can hopscotch from one band to the next with a sandwich from Rick Cowles and Tom Livers at Olde North State BBQ. Or, you can make chalk drawings on Weaver Street while chatting with Carrboro’s volunteer firefighters and watching people dance on the lawn.
“When I talk to people about how cool our town is, this is one of the first things I mention. You can walk to all the venues, you see all ethnicities. It’s inclusive…Like Carrboro,” Lavelle said.