Microphone check! Concerts and festivals are returning to Raleigh this year after new CDC guidance

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Mic check! Concerts, festivals returning to Raleigh this year
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Festivals and concerts will be returning to Raleigh this fall following new CDC guidance.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you like attending concerts and enjoying live music, 2020 might have felt like the longest year ever.

With the pandemic forcing venues to close their doors indefinitely, nobody could have predicted exactly when it would be safe to return to a show.

Big name festivals in the Triangle such as Dreamville Festival, Hopscotch, Art of Cool and IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass were all canceled amid the pandemic.

"We were basically almost all the way through the planning for that year," said Hopscotch Festival director Nathan Price.

Then in March 2020, COVID-19 shut everything down; roughly six months before the first artist was set to hit the stage.

"The planning is normally starting to wrap up in March as we start to work on the marketing. So it was like the worst time. It was not fun. It was rough," said Price.


The popular Austin festival South by Southwest was forced to cancel less than two weeks before it started.

Lollapalooza unveils lineup after festival announces return, vaccine requirement

Moving into 2021 also brought about its own challenges, but also a glimmer of hope as coronavirus cases decrease and more North Carolinians get vaccinated. However, there was no date for when concerts would be considered safe once again.

However, that changed last week when the CDC heavily relaxed their stance on crowd limits and mask wearing. The next day, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services followed suit and rolled back executive order mandates. The move challenged Price and his team.

"Maybe four weeks ago, we were thinking that things might not be back to normal until November, December. And now that everything's kind of changed -- first it was the fall, then it was June 1, and then it was, it's open. Let's do it."

Price said Hopscotch will return to Raleigh from Sept. 9-11 and will look different than in years past because of the shorter timeline. He is working out agreements with Duke Energy Center and Red Hat Amphitheater. But other venues will host in-person events.

When asked, Price declined to share who will be on the lineup.

"I feel like every time I do that and it's something that goes wrong. I'm too superstitious, I can't," said Price.

A representative for the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival confirmed the concert will return to Raleigh in-person later this year. The website lists the date from Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

ABC11 is still awaiting a response on the status of the Dreamville Festival and the Art of Cool Festival in Durham.

The City of Raleigh confirmed that Dreamville has not applied for a permit as of Monday evening.