It's difficult to be cynical about the Wild Goose Festival, a celebration of hope and independent thought that occurs at locations on the East and West Coasts. For a little less than the cost of a Nintendo Wii, attendees are inundated with an array of spiritual and intellectual speakers and an eclectic sequence of freedom singers. In its second year, the festival wisely returns to the Pittsboro farm where the biannual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival is a bastion of go-your-own-way music adventure, stray sounds drawing you from stage to stage though lush trees and rolling meadows.
But the music at Wild Goose serves a different purpose: Its musicians are more notable for their messages than for the diversity of their sounds. That's not to say the lineup isn't satisfying, but the mix of folk, gospel and some transcontinental spice is pretty much what you'd expect from a festival of its ilk. Phil Madeira, for instance, practices laid-back folk rock with plaintive appeals to God. Wild Goose is a festival for believers, proof that preaching to the choir can still be a rewarding exercise. The festival runs Thursday to Sunday; tickets are $119–$159. —Jordan Lawrence