WKNC’s Bucket List for Triangle Music Lovers

The fall semester is on the brink of starting, and it made me a bit nostalgic as I’m beginning my last semester here at NC State University. I came to Raleigh from a small town in eastern NC so I didn’t know much about what I think is the triangle’s most redeeming quality – its music scene. So, we made a bucket list for all you music lovers out there so you don’t miss out on anything.  It’s in no particular order.


Enjoy – and feel free to add your stories and suggestions in a comment!

1.             DJ at WKNC You can also help out with promotions, production, web, engineering, sports and public affairs. You’ll be first in the know about anything music. We hold interest meetings each semester (even summer!) for NCSU students. This fall’s interest meetings will be held August 20 at 5:30 p.m. and August 21 at 8 p.m. in 201 Witherspoon Student Center.

2.             Bike to First Friday | You can venture to First Friday, a monthly arts event in downtown Raleigh, by starting at NCSU’s Bell Tower at 7PM with fellow bikers. Be careful not to drink too much free wine if you’re biking back.  "Go to first friday – there’s usually live music performances outside!!“ – DJ Trillian

3.             Go to Hopscotch | Hopscotch Music Festival will be September 6-8 this year. “An annual festival held in downtown Raleigh that showcases some of the finest live acts that the state has to offer.  Put on by Raleigh’s Independent Weekly Magazine, this festival boasts an eclectic lineup of local and touring artists from all walks of music, indie-rock, hip-hop, folk, electronic, and pretty much everything in between.  This year’s lineup features The Roots, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, Danny Brown, The Mountain Goats, and much more!  With free shows starting at noon and lasting until around 5:00 p.m. each day, there’s no reason not to check out this unique festival experience right here in Raleigh!”  -GRZA

4.             Heck, hit all the venues. | Let’s be honest, we’re lucky to live here. In Raleigh you have Kings Barcade, The Pour House, Lincoln Theatre, Slim’s, Berkeley Café, Tir Na Nog Irish Pub, Dive Bar, NC Museum of Art, Southland Ballroom, Deep South, Disco Rodeo, Five Star, Raleigh Amphitheatre and concert halls. Chapel Hill/Carrboro area has Cat’s Cradle, Local 506, Nightlight and The Cave. Durham is home to Motorco, Pinhook, Casbah, American Tobacco Campus and DPAC. And of course, the “other” schools’ concert halls and auditoriums. They’re all great. “Attend any and every Future Islands show.” –May Day

5.             Attend Fridays on the Lawn | This is WKNC’s bi-semester free concert event. It’ll always feature local music, food and swag. Usually on Harris Field (rain locations are necessary sometimes), you’re encouraged to bring some friends and a blanket. This is open to the public, and dogs are welcome, too!

6.             There’s also Music on the Lawn at American Tobacco in Durham | Grab a beer from Tyler’s and enjoy some live music. There’s also dance, movies and jazz events that take place here.

7.             Explore SparkCon | This year, SparkCon will take place September 13-16 in downtown Raleigh. In its 7th year, it will encompass everything from music and film to fire dancers and bartending competitions.

8.             Camp out at Shakori Hills | Located in Pittsboro, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival happens twice a year, fall and spring. The fall festival will be October 4-7. Camp out with your friends in the woods, make new friends, and wake up to the sound of banjos. Paint your face, dance, cook over a fire…..also, get a Veggie Thing. It’s amazing. “A stellar 4-day music festival in Pittsboro, NC that boasts everything from bluegrass to soul to funk.  Filled with good vibes and good times, this family friendly festival is loaded with diverse music, yoga, and dance workshops that take up the few minutes of the day that don’t have wonderful tunes permeating throughout the farmlands.  A guaranteed beautiful weekend that rolls around twice a year.”     -GRZA

9.             Dance at Rowdy, Rowdy Square dances | “This is a good way to experience square dancing with young folks, and hear some good ol’ music! Be on the lookout for these dances!” -Cosmic Cowboy

10.          See a band in the Brickyard | The past few years during Shack-a-thon (fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity), WKNC has hosted acoustic performances from local artists. You can also catch the occasional student strumming a guitar, playing accordion or one of NCSU’s a capella groups performing. 

11.          Picnic for a show at Duke Gardens | Beautiful, serene, and BYOB. Share a blanket and dinner with some friends while watching local bands perform into the sunset. Make a friend at Duke so your tickets are cheaper.

12.          Listen to a pianist in Caldwell Lounge | If you’re a student in CHASS (College of Humanities and Social Sciences), you’ve probably already done this. There’s a piano set up in Caldwell Lounge that is frequented by talented students. So while you’re between classes, cramming for a test or taking a lunch break, it’s nice to spare a second to listen.

13.          Grab a beer at Local Band Local Beer | Local NC brewskis on tap and local bands on stage. This 21+ free event happens every Thursday night at 10PM at Tir Na Nog. 

14.          Read The Independent Weekly | It’s an alternative weekly (free) newspaper that has all the best music, arts and political news. It also keeps you up to date with what events are going on around the county.

15.          Join a drum circle at Pullen Park | Channel your inner hippy.

16.          Celebrate Christmas with Trekky Records | Trekky Christmas puts a new spin on classic songs by featuring their bands and mix-matched members.

17.          Rock out at Bull City Metal Fest | If you’re a metal head, it’s a must. Two days of heavy metal in downtown Durham, pulling national and local acts.

18.          Enjoy a performance at DPAC | It’s nice and classy. See ballet, theatre or music here. The last one I went to was BB King. Badass.

19.          Go to a concert at Memorial Hall | Another very nice venue that will get various acts. It’s can be a bit pricy, but it’s worth it.

20.          End August with Stars in the Round at Shakori | "Great if you don’t have 4 days to devote to camping. Usually 3rd weekend in August” – Mollypop

21.          Catch the Diggup Tapes show series | It’s a free show series at Kings each month. This is 18+.

22.          Go to both nights of Double Barrel Benefit | “For people new to the triangle there is no better time than right now to clear your calendar for the next Double Barrel Benefit. It’s going to be the 10th anniversary, and it’s going to be all kinds of awesome.” -DJ Ones

23.          Party with the triangle’s finest at Indy Week’s “Best of” Party | Each year, Indy has its readers vote on the best in the triangle. In June, they throw a party to celebrate the winners and finalists. In other words, hear the best music, eat the best food, drink the best drinks and get acupuncture.

24.          Run in the Krispy Kreme Challenge | This annual charity events challenges its participants to eat a dozen donuts mid-race.

25.          Drink a PBR during PBart | I’m sure you’ll drink one regardless. But PBart has bands and PBR-themed art on showcase, as well as the occasional ropes performers.

26.          Buy records on Record Store Day  | Internationally celebrated, it’s the third Saturday in April. Labels put out special limited edition releases and stores have in-store performances, swag and discounts. There’s usually a line so go early.

27.          Compete in the pants off dance off at TRKfest | Okay, so you don’t actually have to take your pants off. Trekky Records has a day set aside each summer to share its music with the triangle. Not to mention this also means local beer, food trucks and local arts vendors.

28.          Drive to Haw River Ballroom | “Beautiful venue.  if you have time before the show, go to the Haw River General Store before hand for the best gourmet food you’ll find at a convenience store. Seriously.” – Mollypop

29.          Dance at Discovery and Dirty Mega | Lights, glow sticks, photo booths and dancing until the lights come on. Then a little more of each.

 30.          Give the saxophonists on the corner of Martin/Fayetteville St. money to play “Careless WhisperHis rendition is on point. It’ll get stuck it your head, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.