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The Daily Tar Heel

Preview: Music festival supports local artists for the 26th year

Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Local artists from a wide variety of genres will be traveling to town this upcoming weekend for the 26th annual Carrboro Music Festival.

The events begin Saturday, Sept. 30 at Cat’s Cradle for a kickoff concert, and on Sunday, Oct. 1, local artists and venues will be providing free family-friendly entertainment starting at 1:00 pm.

This year, organizers will also be providing free educational workshops on musical elements such as synthesizers, recording, and accordions. 

When the festival began in 1998, it was held on June 21 and was known as “Make Music Day,” an affiliate of the global holiday Fête de la Musique. 

Initially, it was created as an opportunity for artists and venues to donate their time and provide free entertainment to the Carrboro area. Eventually, the festival was moved to a cooler fall date and separated from “Make Music Day,” but its foundations stayed true.

This year, 100 artists will be performing across 18 venues throughout the town, including Carrboro's own Cat’s Cradle. 

The Carrboro Music Festival committee received over 300 band submissions, and J. Galen Poythress, one of the festival organizers, said that a lot of thought and effort went into the planning of the event.

“It’s a really important thing to the people of Carrboro and we want to make sure that we do a good job with it and try to keep it a very special and well done event,” Poythress said.

He, along with the rest of the Carrboro Music Festival committee, have been working tirelessly to ensure that the community receives the festival that is so beloved to them. 

Another value the organizers had going into this year was making sure the talent and value of local artists was displayed. Poythress said that this is the second year that the festival is paying performers.

“The town prides itself on art and equity and looking out for people, and that was something that just needed to be done to make it fair for everyone,” he said.

There is no limit to the variety of artists and genres that will be performing — from country to rock to indie to punk, there is an array of styles for all attendees to enjoy.

Heat Preacher, a local indie rock band who draws inspiration from Wilco, Foo Fighters and Fallout Boy, will be playing at 5:30 p.m. at Cat’s Cradle on Sunday.

Nick Stroud, the lead guitarist, described the band as a "bowling league" — or an opportunity for him and his friends to play music together and enjoy life outside of their normal routines. 

The group is going back to their roots this weekend, as majority of the members are from surrounding areas and this was one of the first gigs they ever played together.

Their commitment goes beyond performance, as Stroud is also one of the owners of the Belltree Cocktail Club, a venue hosting performances this weekend in their homey Green Room. 

“The reason we built it is because I miss playing those small intimate shows where you can feel the energy because you're just right there, so close to everybody and the room's packed out,” Stroud said.

Matty Frank, another artist, will be playing at 6:15 p.m. at Pizzeria Mercato on Sunday, and audiences can expect a folky, forest-y style similar to the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Hozier and Mitski. 

Frank's set will be accompanied by his band, and in addition, he will be playing an omnichord, which is, in his words, an “electronic version of an autoharp that was made in the '80s.”

In the spirit of supporting local, Frank will be collaborating with a local stained glass artist to make moth-shaped bolo ties out of stained glass to sell as merchandise at his show.

“I really like that and how people are very into supporting local people within their own community," Frank said. "So I'm very excited to see just people doing that on a larger scale across different venues."

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