Best Fests in the West

Best Fests in the West:
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So you missed Bonnaroo. You don’t have to cry about it. There are plenty of music festivals (and we’re not just talking about summer staple Bele Chere, July 24-26) on the horizon here. The spectrum of genres reaches from the bluegrass tradition of MusicFest ’n Sugar Grove to the wide-ranging acts playing the newborn Downtown Independent Groove Fest in Asheville. So stop moping about not getting to see Phish and the Beastie Boys, and get out to one—or all—of these great events:

Andrews Valley Music Festival
June 27
Andrews welcomes nearly 3,000 people each summer to this outdoor music and arts event. Acts including One Flew South, Owen Poteat, and Blessed Bend represent the broad range of music from country to a Native American Celtic blend. Between performances you can peruse the wares of craftspeople from across the country. Bring the young ones along to check out the petting zoo, clowns, and magicians.
Andrews Recreation Park, 285 Main St.; Saturday, 12-8:30 p.m.; free; (828) 321-3584;

MusicFest ’n Sugar Grove
July 10 & 11
Sugar Grove
Also known as Doc Fest, this festival honoring and featuring Doc Watson presents top-notch bluegrass, Americana, gospel, and old-time acts including Steep Canyon Rangers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Forget Me Nots. Proceeds from ticket sales support up-keep of the tiny town of Sugar Grove. A songwriters showcase and workshops led by the Kruger Brothers and other musicians round out the weekend.
Historic Cove Creek School, 207 Dale Adams Rd.; Friday, 12p.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; $55 two-day pass, Friday, $20, $15 in advance, Saturday $25, $20 in advance, free for children 12 & younger;
(828) 297-2200;

DIG (Downtown Independent Groove) Fest
August 20 & 21
For the inaugural DIG Fest, a medley of local independent bands will have crowds venue-hopping in downtown Asheville. Josh Phillips Folk Festival, OSO Rey & Soulgrass Rebellion are among 28 bands hitting stages at four venues: The Orange Peel, Mo Daddy’s, BoBo Gallery, and Emerald Lounge. All venues are within walking distance of each other, but eco-cabs and rickshaws will be at-the-ready to shuttle you and your friends around town. Can’t wait until August? Hit the pre-party at Mo Daddy’s on July 23.
Downtown Asheville, multiple venues; $15 advance both nights, $10 advance one night, $5 at the doors; (828) 225-5851;

27th Annual Cherokee Bluegrass Festival
August 20-22
This three-day, family-friendly gathering highlights 18 traditional bluegrass bands. Featured acts such as Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and Grammy award-winner Ralph Stanley will have guests claiming prime spots on the lawn. Campsites available by reservation.
Happy Holiday Campground, 1553 Wolfetown Rd.; Thursday- Saturday, 12-8:30 p.m.; $35 day pass, $85 weekend pass at the gate, free for children six and younger; $30 day pass, $75 weekend pass before August 10; (706) 864-7203;

Music on the Mountaintop
August 29
Music on the Mountaintop strives to promote sustainable practices while bringing big name bands like Keller Williams, Sam Bush, Dirty Guv’nahs, and Acoustic Syndicate to town. Organizers employ green methods such as a solar-powered stage and shuttle service, and introduce festivalgoers to environmental and social awareness groups at a Green Village. Proceeds benefit research organizations exploring renewable and alternative energy.
The Old Fairgrounds, 748 Roby Greene Rd.; $45, $40 before August 1, $5 off for any university students, faculty, staff; (919) 818-2614;

- Sara Cowan