Asheville is on the verge of becoming one of America’s top music cities. From the nation’s longest-running folk festival and Grammy-winning musicians to Moog Music and a weekly drum circle, music rings through the air in this Blue Ridge Mountain city. If you really like music then Asheville, where deep-seated bluegrass roots harmonize with new talent and innovative sounds should be on the top of your travel list.
1. Because the highest peaks in the East provide the best concert backdrop. Venues with a view abound, from Sierra Nevada’s outdoor amphitheater to Salvage Station, the area’s newest riverfront music venue. A number of events also have awe-inspiring views like LEAF Festival, set on the banks of Lake Eden, and the Biltmore Concert Series, pairing internationally known stars with a mountain sunset view from the South Terrace of Biltmore House.
2. Because the city inspired a Broadway show. Co-written and produced by Steve Martin, “Bright Star” shined on Broadway early this year with a plot focusing on two love stories set in Asheville. The show received five Tony nominations including “Best Musical.”
3. Because music happens in unexpected places. While venues like The Orange Peel and The Grey Eagle have earned accolades from Rolling Stone and Garden & Gun, Asheville also has a number of under-the-radar music halls. Enjoy dinner and a show at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, tap your toes at 1940s car dealership-turned-music venue White Horse Black Mountain or hear local musicians jam at Asheville Guitar Bar, a new venue in the River Arts District.
4. Because musicians are obsessed with Asheville. The city’s scenic Blue Ridge backdrop and astounding culture provides the perfect playground for big-time artists. Echo Mountain Recording Studios has hosted notables such as Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown Band, while Crossroads Recording Studios in Arden attracts a number of Gospel, Bluegrass and Americana heavy hitters like Balsam Range. FUN FACT: N.C. natives and Asheville fans The Avett Brothers filmed the music video for “Ain’t No Man” at the Asheville Regional Airport.