The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Monday, May 20, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

'Enriching experience': Triangle gears up for a summer of outdoor concerts

DTH Photo Illustration. The Freight Train Blues Concerts will feature a new concert every Friday until June 21, and will feature a variety of roots musicians. The series celebrates the legacy of blues musician Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten, who was born in Carrboro in 1893.

The front lawn of the Carolina Inn was packed with blankets, folding chairs and attendees for the hotel’s Fridays on the Front Porch concert series last Friday evening.

The Jimmy Hayes Band serenaded the crowd with bluegrass tunes at the event, which takes place at the hotel every week from April to October

“We really wanted to find a place where the community can gather,” Heidi Werner, the Carolina Inn’s director of sales and marketing, said

Fridays on the Front Porch is one of several free outdoor concert series in the Triangle this summer. Live music from local bluegrass bands begin at 5 p.m., and attendees can purchase drinks from an outdoor bar and food from food trucks. There are also activities like corn hole and a bubble station for kids. 

Friday's concert was attendee Isabelle Taylor’s second time at the event. She said the series is a great way to support local artists because if attendees like their music, they can find out where else they will be performing locally. 

This Friday, the Carolina Inn will host Morgan Creek Bluegrass, a Chapel Hill-based band.

In the Carrboro Town Commons, Freight Train Blues, another concert series, will also begin this coming Friday. 

The series, which is celebrating its 10th year, is presented by the Town of Carrboro  and other local sponsors.

Aaron Greenhood, one of the series’ organizers, said Freight Train Blues aims to draw attention to music rooted in North Carolina culture. It is named after blues musician and Carrboro native Elizabeth Cotten’s hit song, “Freight Train.” 

“We’ve built a crowd that fills the whole lawn and the Town Commons, and it’s an enriching experience for the community,” Greenhood said. ”And it’s become one of the signature events in the town.”

Freight Train Blues will feature a new concert every Friday until June 21. This year’s lineup includes local artists and others from around the country, from various styles and traditions, such as bluegrass and salsa.  

The series will begin with performances by Mangum & Company, an all-brass, gospel-based trombone choir from Charlotte, and Terry “Harmonica” Bean, a blues artist from Pontotoc, Miss.

Yet another summer concert series starts this Friday in Durham. PLAYlist Concert Series, presented by Durham Central Park and WNCU 90.7FM, will feature live performances at Durham Central Park on the first Friday of every month from May 3 to Oct. 4. 

Local, regional and national artists from various genres will take the stage at PLAYlist.  Durham's John Brown & The Groove Shop Band, who will perform pop covers,  are slated to kick off the series.

“We want to have really high-quality free music, but we also want music that people are familiar with and feel comfortable dancing to and getting down to and having, you know, a fun Friday night to,” Bryce Brooks, a development and marketing coordinator of Durham Central Park, said. 

Before the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., PLAYlist’s Night Market opens at 6 p.m., where attendees can shop from local artist vendors and buy dinner from food trucks

“It’s a really great community event where it’s not just music, it’s this really engaging, all-encompassing, immersive community experience,” Brooks said.

Other performers include The Magic of African Rhythms, a group that honors African culture through vocal, instrumental and dance performances on June 7, and Larry & Joe, a Triangle-based duo that performs Venezuelan and Appalachian folk music on July 5.

To learn more about the concert series, visit each of their websites.

@dthlifestyle |

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel's 2024 Graduation Guide