Local Arts

Here’s your guide to Charlotte summer festivals celebrating art, culture and community

Charlotte’s summer festivals encourage the community to come together in celebration of art, culture, history and food.

Tastes of the Caribbean, Congo, France and Colombia will paint the Queen City in cultural flair. Festival-goes can dance to local music, practice yoga or watch films while rejoicing over the simple pleasures of tomatoes, corn and crab.

Summer festivals are already underway, with Matthews bidding farewell to the season in late August. Are you ready to create your summer festival bucket list?


Congo Festival 2019 Welcome Party

When: June 28. 8:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Where: 6851 Albemarle Road

What to expect: Hope for All (HFA) Charlotte and Global Biz invite the localcommunity to celebrate Congolese Independence with a fashion and hair show as well as live Congolese music, food and culture.

Cost: $10 early bird. $15 general admission.

Charlotte Caribbean Carnival

When: June 29 – 30. 2- 8 p.m.

Where: 5471 Central Ave.

What to expect: Celebrate National American-Caribbean Heritage Month with local artists, drummers, dancers, steel pan players and an Afro-Caribbean Village. A street parade will show off carnival-inspired fashion, and guests will witness the crowning of Charlotte’s first Carnival Queen. Festivities kick off on Sat., June 22 with a Charlotte Caribbean Children Carnival.

Cost: $10+

Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival

When: June 29. 1:30 p.m.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion. 707 Pavilion Blvd.

What to expect: This full-day interactive experience will bring fans their favorite bands and pop-up lifestyle brand activations. The Used, Thrice, Circa Survive and other popular bands will play across two stages. Bring an empty 16 oz. can of Rockstar Energy Drink to recycle at the main gate for an opportunity to skip the line, as well as entry to win a signed festival guitar and a meet adn greet with festival headliners.

Cost: $69+

CLT Mimosa & Brunch Festival

When: June 30. 12 p.m.

Where: The Suffolk Punch. 2911 Griffith St.

What to expect: Enjoy mimosas, Bloody Marys, wine and Suffolk Punch Brewing favorites alongside complimentary food and live music. Fitness, jewelry, fashion and lifestyle vendors will offer shopping opportunities, as well.

Cost: $30+ ticket includes bottomless sampling of mimosas, Bloody Marys, Skeleton Wine (red and white), and a selection of some of Suffolk Punch Brewing favorites.


Fourth of July Celebration

When: July 3-4. 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

What to expect: Head to the Whitewater Center to celebrate Independence Day with live music, yoga practices, a Battle Royale SUP sprint and two days of fireworks.

Cost: Free

Charlotte French Festival

When: July 13. 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: 6000 Statesville Road

What to expect: Food, wine, music and the pétanque initiation and tournament welcome families to celebrate French culture in Nevin Community Park.

Cost: $5

CineOdyssey Film Festival

When: July 18-20. 5 – 11 p.m.

Where: The Mint Museum Uptown. 500 S. Tryon St.

What to expect: Diverse contemporary films featuring filmmakers of color from the African, Caribbean, Latino, Asian and Native American diasporas will bridge cultural understanding and encourage artistic development. The festival includes workshops, guest speakers and panel discussions.

Cost: $15+

Charlotte Gets Weird: Music and Art Festival

When: July 20. 5 – 11 p.m.

Where: The Shed Amphitheater at Station House. 4100 Raleigh St.

What to expect: Local musicians, live painting and art installations will invite self-expression in a journey through the “Disco Cosmos” to celebrate humanity. Costumes not required, but suggested.

Cost: $20

Real to Reel Film Festival

When: July 24 – 27. 7 – 10 p.m.

Where: Joy Performance Center. 202 S. Railroad Ave.

What to expect: A celebration of independent film, video and multimedia artists, this film festival gives artists the opportunity to showcase their talents. Vote for your favorite and don’t miss the Kids Fest at 10 a.m. on Saturday (July 27).

Cost: $10+ single-day entry ($8 advance through July 24). $35 festival pass.

Carolina Pickers Festival

When: July 26-27. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Rowan County Fair. 1550 Julian Road, Salisbury

What to expect: Buy, sell and trade antiques (pre-1970’s items only) at the third annual Pickers Festival, complete with old rides appearances from the East Coast Cruisers.

Cost: $3. Military (current and past) receive free admission upon showing ID

Festival Colombiano de Charlotte

When: July 27. 12 – 8 p.m.

Where: Symphony Park. 4400 Sharon Road

What to expect: Celebrate South American culture and history with exotic Latin-infused music, authentic cuisine, and plenty of dancing. Look for the top salsa group, GRUPO NICHE!

Cost: $10

Homegrown Tomato Festival

When: July 27. 12 – 4 p.m.

Where: Neighborhood Theatre. 511 East 36th St.

What to expect: This annual fundraising event benefits 100 Gardens, a local nonprofit that implements aquaponics farming schools to provide hands-on learning in tech, science, engineering and math (STEM) with a focus on nutrition and business. The 2019 Homegrown Tomato Competition will feature local contestants vying for the Critic’s Choice award and People’s Choice Award for best overall tasting tomato, and the Homegrown Tomato Cocktail Competition will showcase entries from local restaurants and watering holes to determine the best tomato-inspired cocktail. Local produce, art, canned goods, soil, and clothing/jewelry will also be available.

Cost: $10 includes voucher for tomato sandwich, cocktail, and tomato contestant samples.


Confluence: Where Music Gathers, a free event that’s a mix of festival, conference and platform, will take place Aug. 3-4 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Photo by Tim Koerber, courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Confluence: Where Music Gathers

When: Aug. 3-4. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Saturday), 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Sunday)

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

What to expect: Part music festival, part conference and part platform, this festival seeks to support, showcase and develop the Charlotte music scene. Catch panel discussions highlighting all aspects of the music industry and performances by local bands.

Cost: free

Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade

When: August 17-18. 12 – 6 p.m.

Where: Uptown Charlotte

What to expect: Charlotte’s Pride Festival will act as the culmination of Pride Week, complete with a parade, entertainment and culinary offerings. The festival will celebrate the social, cultural, ethnic, artistic and political diversity of the metro Charlotte area’s LGBTQ community and will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

Cost: free

UniverSoul Circus

When: August 21 – September 2. Times vary. See schedule here.

Where: Old Eastland Mall. 5741 Central Ave.

What to expect: A unique blend of circus arts, theater and music, this entertainment production embraces and celebrates the one-of-a-kind and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities with a message that

Cost: $20+

Carolina Corn Fest

When: Aug. 24. 4 – 11 p.m.

Where: Aw Shucks Farms. 3718 Plyler Mill Road, Monroe

What to expect: Enjoy a 1950s soda shop, 40ft grain bin slide, live music, beer and liquor and a corn maze slide at a nearby farm.

Cost: $20

Festival Sneak Peek: Queen City Improv Room

When: Aug. 24. 8 p.m.

Where: Knight Gallery. 345 N. College St.

What to expect: A month before the Queen City Comedy Experience, get a sneak peek of some of this year’s featured performers. A family-friendly show will preview at 6 p.m.

Cost: $10

E&A Puerto Rican Festival of the Carolinas

When: Aug. 24. 12 – 9 p.m.

Where: Route 29 Pavilion. 5650 Sandusky Blvd.

What to expect: Dubbed the largest Puerto Rican festival in the Carolinas, this year’s musical lineup will include El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, La Sonora Ponceña and more.

Cost: $10+

SouthEast Crab Feast

When: Aug. 24. 1 – 3:30 p.m.

Where: Park Road Park. 6220 Park Road

What to expect: Embrace the lowcountry tradition of cooking fresh seafood outdoors with blue crabs, snow crab leg platters and fish and chips, complete with music in a family-friendly environment.

Cost: $30+

Queen City Summer Festival

When: Aug. 24. 1 – 5 p.m.

Where: 615 E. 6th St.

What to expect: Think you can win a Peach Pie Eating Contest? Head to the The Carole Hoefener Center for food, bounce houses, kids’ activities, face painting and live entertainment from local dance teams.

Cost: Free

Barberville Festival

When: Aug. 25. 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Centerstage@NoDa. 2315 N. Davidson St.

What to expect: The first festival of its kind in Charlotte, Barberville will host barbers and cosmetologists from around the world for a networking event featuring educational classes, a vendor market, product demos and food trucks.

Cost: $30+

Matthews Alive

When: Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. Hours vary. See website for daily hours.

Where: South Trade Street, Matthews

What to expect: Downtown Matthews will come alive Labor Day weekend with a carnival, parade, live music and festival food.

Cost: Free to attend. $15 for an all-you-can-ride wristband (Friday)

This article was originally published in CharlotteFive.

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