Despite the weather, sound check didn't turn into a rain check at 18th annual Carrboro Music Festival.
Many still came from all over country to watch more than 180 local bands perform in two days.
Amber Hayes, member of the Carrboro Music Festival Committee and daughter of the festival's founder, Jackie Helvey, said it was the second year they had to cancel the festival because of the rain, so certain performances with outdoor venues were canceled.
“I mean a lot of people hate that it was canceled, but a lot of the bands are from here, so they kind of remotely set up and just played anyways, which I thought was really cool,” Hayes said.
Angela Romatzick, the volunteer coordinator, said that because of the weather, they had a lot of last-minute changes. She said many people in the community reached out to offer assistance.
“It was really impressive how many people came by and asked if we needed help. It was a good representation of a community and a town,” Romatzick said.
Carrboro’s recreation supervisor, Rah Trost, said the festival is the town's largest event, drawing close to 12,000 to 14,000 people each year. Because some outdoor venues were closed this year, there was a lighter turnout.
Hayes said she’s been involved with the festival from the start.
“I love this festival," she said. "I think it’s definitely evolved over the last 10 years.”
Hayes said the original festival originated from Fête de la Musique, a French festival where on summer solstice, people would shut down the whole town and play music all over.
“We were one of three cities in the U.S. that hosted this festival, but it’s too hot on summer solstice in North Carolina, so we changed the name and date," Hayes said. "Now it’s called the Carrboro Music Festival and has been for many years."
Romatzick said she likes working with the event because it brings the community together.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and for people from outside of Carrboro to have a reason to come and check it out. It also gives local bands exposure and turns people on to different kinds of music that they might not normally hear,” Romatzick said.
Dennis Joines, Carrboro's recreation administrator, said the recreation department began to start working with the festival planning committee more than a decade ago to help organize and run the event more effectively.
“There’s a citizen planning committee, and the recreation department works with them,” he said. “We provide a lot of the support base for them; staffing, equipment, supplies.”
He said his favorite part about the festival is the number of bands and stages they have in one day.
“When you can have 180 bands, 25 different stages, that’s a pretty unique setting,” Joines said.
Trost said it was her fourth year coordinating the festival.
Trost said there’s a lot of logistics in the planning, which takes approximately nine months.
“I just really like seeing people enjoying music and being outdoors and having the ability to take in so much variety, and it’s just a really good time for people — it’s a good vibe. It really is a friendly, art-oriented community.”
Jim Dennis, the music festival coordinator, worked with Trost to organize the Carrboro Music Festival. He was a part of the executive committee to listen and approve band applications. He said picking the bands seems easy, except when band members play for multiple bands, which can make scheduling difficult.
“It’s like Tetris hand grenades. It’s really quite a matrix to put that together, but even with all of these personalities and artists, they’ve all been extremely gracious, so that has made my job much easier,” Dennis said.
Trost said she has a great work dynamic with Dennis.
“It’s a good match; it really is a team effort,” she said.
Grace Senior said she has been going to the festival ever since she moved to Carrboro from Detroit five years ago. She currently books gigs for her friend’s band and also plays music herself.
Senior also said she’s enjoyed meeting all of the artists and hearing about how they got started in the music industry.
“Everyone has such a different story and such different motivation for playing music, but you know essentially all musicians are just artists trying to express themselves,” Senior said.
“There’s really different types of people from the Triangle. When they all mix together, it just creates awesomeness."
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