With people pouring out of every stoop and porch, the Carrboro Music Festival brings over 180 bands from around the Triangle to 25 different venues on Sunday for a price sure to fit every student’s budget: free.
The day-long event, now in its 14th year, works to bring a diverse showcase of local talent to Carrboro and the surrounding community, with music ranging from a cappella to hip-hop.
CARRBORO MUSIC FEST
Time: Starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, continues all day. Last show begins at 11 p.m.
Location: Downtown Carrboro
“It’s really a pretty wide-open family event,” said Gerry Williams, festival coordinator. “The range of the audience is from little kids to grandma and grandpa, and just about everything in between.”
Williams said about 40 percent of this year’s bill are first-time performers. For musicians that do not play often in the area, the festival has provided an opportunity to bring their music to a wide audience.
“It is first and foremost a way to showcase area musicians, and that’s what it started out as: a celebration of local music,” Williams said.
“Even the first festival was basically the same concept — we wanted to have free music around town in a variety of locations and showcase the local musicians, and that’s what we’re still doing today.”
But for many UNC students, the festival may be one of the town’s best kept secrets. Only one out of 26 students polled last week on campus had attended the festival, while 16 out of 26 were familiar with it. Most students agreed the event has a lack of advertising on campus.
“I definitely think it needs to be publicized more,” said junior Jessica Hetzel. “It’s publicized in Carrboro — there you see a lot of posters. Here on campus, there’s nothing.”
Williams said the festival is advertised on WXYC and that fliers are put up on campus, but most students learn about the festival through word of mouth or Facebook.
Junior Jacob Sharp, whose band Mipso Trio is performing this year, said students don’t really know about the festival unless they live in the area or hear about it from a friend.
He thinks that the town would interest more students if they attended events like the Carrboro Music Festival.
“Students should come out to get a feel for Carrboro, because Carrboro has a distinctively different feel,” Sharp said.
Freshman Kat Kucera plans on volunteering with recycling. Each year, the festival relies on 50 to 75 volunteers to help run the shows and keep venues clean.
For Kucera, events like the Carrboro Music Festival offer students more than just local music — there’s great food and a sense of community, too.
“I think people go to these things for the atmosphere of the festival, even if they don’t know the bands,” said Kucera.
For Williams, support from volunteers, community involvement and campus awareness are what ultimately fuel the festival year after year.
“I think maybe what distinguishes it most is the diversity. We really try to represent as many different styles as we can. And the fact that it is free is pretty unique I think.”
After all, nothing beats those lazy Sunday afternoon study sessions like free music just down the road.
Contact the Diversions Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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