Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival | Shakori Hills | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival 

When: April 16-19 2015

SHAKORI HILLS GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL

THURSDAY, APRIL 16–SUNDAY, APRIL 19

SILK HOPE—Every spring and fall, the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival offers an exercise in searching: You've got to dig through some mud to find the diamonds of the lineup. Sometimes the sleuthing is not so hard, as the biannual gathering in the Chatham County woods occasionally draws big names—Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, The Indigo Girls, The Del McCoury Band. But other installments can be less obvious, with middling touring acts sprinkled among locals you can see most every other weekend.

This year's spring iteration falls into the latter category, with many of the highlights—Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Bombadil and T0W3RS among them—coming from North Carolina. Greensboro's Holy Ghost Tent Revival built its earliest fanbase at Shakori with a frantic energy funneled into tunes that suggested the buckwild, barefoot bastard spawn of The Avett Brothers and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. But they've since grown away from that feeling, and they're closer to slicked-back indie rock these days.

Durham's Bombadil are Shakori veterans, too. But they've got their own new challenges, as cofounder Stuart Robinson announced his departure from the band in March, leaving only half of the former foursome. Like Holy Ghost, they've aged out of their formerly carefree presentation. But electronic pop delight T0W3RS will find favor with the festival's young, late-evening crowd. Like last fall's Shakori set from Trekky Records supergroup Auxiliary House, T0W3RS leader Derek Torres will augment his fun tunes with dance moves and flashing lights aplenty. The upbeat Latin licks of Orquesta GarDel and the rich rhythms of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba should get people moving, too.

Two names stick out from this season's touring component. There's Billy Joe Shaver, the outlaw country veteran whose 2014 record Long in the Tooth confronted his decades of hard living. On "Hard to Be an Outlaw," he cannily acknowledged his age: "It's hard to be an outlaw when you're not wanted anymore." Old Crow Medicine Show co-founder Willie Watson could get interesting as he delivers variations on old-time tunes.

While this edition of Shakori Hills might not be the festival's strongest, the Triangle offers little else in the way of music festivals that are wide-open and family-friendly environments, where art, music and revelry coexist so seamlessly. That feeling has long been the festival's true headliner, anyway. $49–$124, 1439 Henderson Tanyard Rd., Pittsboro, 919-542-8142, www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org. —Allison Hussey

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