7 May festivals you don’t want to miss

Looking for some fun in May? Many festivals in and around the city offer unique ways to enjoy spring.

If you’re anything like me, you love a good festival, especially when food and music are involved. Here are some options this month:

(1) Soul Food Festival

Ready to take it back to the 1990s, 80s or even the 70s? Don’t miss the Soul Food Festival. It will feature 90s artists and actors Kid ‘n Play, and will be hosted by lovely ladies also from the movie “House Party,” Tisha Campbell and A.J. Johnson.

Music artist will include: Zapp, Lakeside, The Bar Kays, Midnight Star and Full Force.

And don’t forget about food! There will be tons to eat, including fried chicken, mac and cheese, cornbread, fried fish, ribs, collard greens and more.

When: May 14. Gates open at 2 p.m., shows at 4 p.m.

Where: Route 29 Pavilion, 6845 Sandusky Blvd., Concord.

Tickets: Starting at $35. 704-566-6000 or 980-221-2000

(2) Joy Fest


If you love Gospel music and a day at Carowinds then this is the party for you. The theme park is hosting gospel talents from all over the nation.

Hear music from Erica Campbell, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Tasha Cobbs, Jonathan McReynolds and comedy from Marcus D. Wiley.

When: May 28.

Location: Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte.

Tickets: Starting at $51.25.

(3) Charlotte Asian Festival and Dragon Boat Festival


The 17th Annual Charlotte Asian Festival and the 11th Annual Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival are two unique cultural events you shouldn’t miss.

The Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce shaped the Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival after similar events in a number of cities across the nation. Over the years this festival has grabbed the attention of 1,000 crew members and at least 7,000 visitors.

The festival celebrates Asian cultures, diversity, ethnicity, roots and history.

Dragon boat racing started more than 2,300 years ago in the rivers of southern China. The Charlotte race allows participants 15 years or older.

When: May 14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius.


(4) St. Philip Neri Italian Festival

Love Italian food? Join the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church as they serve up authentic homemade Italian specialties, while providing music, entertainment, an Italian Idol contest, a Cannoli 5K, charitable drawing, silent and live auction, wine tasting, beer tasting and more.

When: May 19, 5-9 p.m.; May 20, 5-10 p.m.; May 21, 9 a.m. Cannoli Run, 10 a.m. outside activities, including food, crafts and children’s games, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. full festival.

Where: 292 Munn Road, Fort Mill.

(5) Carolina Roots Music Festival in Statesville


Carolina Roots MusicFest is hosting its first concert series to showcase Americana, folk, R&B, country rock and more performed by nationally-known, regional and local artists. This festival benfits the National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc.

Bring an appetite because food trucks, wine and craft beer vendors will be on site!

The lineup includes:

Friday: Keller Williams, The Black Lillies, and Moose and Friends.

Saturday: Anderson East, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Major and the Monbacks, Abe Reid and the Spikedrivers, JMTCB, The Low Counts, Steel Fish, and Incense.

When: May 13-14.

Where: Statesville Regional Airport, 260 Hangar Drive, Statesville.

Tickets: Friday $40, Saturday $55, 2-day $80.

(6) Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival

Located in the heart of downtown Salisbury, this festival will be featuring artists including:

– American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter: John Dee Holeman

– Famous blues trumpeter: Joe Robinson

– Rising blues star: Lakota John

– Renowned acoustic rhythmic blues artist: Veronika F. Jackson

– Vintage acoustic blues and jazz artist from Randolph County: Larry Davis

There will be vendors providing education about the blues, entertainment and food.

When: May 13-14, 2-11 p.m. (gates open at 1 p.m.)

Location: Downtown Salisbury

Tickets: Suggested donation of $20

(7) Mint Hill Madness

If you are looking to be a big kid for a day, this is the festival for you. The Mint Hill Madness festival Memorial Day weekend will feature fireworks, a parade, car show, entertainment, games, rides and of course your favorite carnival comfort foods.

One interesting activity: The Battle of Mint Hill. Athletes from all over will compete in four-person teams on three workouts to see who is the strongest.

Kids can also play in the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition. This national skills competition is for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15.


When: May 27-29

Where: Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park, 8850 Fairview Road, Mint Hill.

Free. (Fee for rides and some activities)

Photos: Courtesy of JoyFest; Courtesy of Carolina Roots Music Festival; Courtesy of Mint Hill Madness; John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer