What You Haven’t Heard – 6th Edition

In my college days and for a few years after, one of my major hobbies was making mix cds for people. I even did a crowd-funding project (before it was a thing) to get myself a cd burner so I could make cds for people of the music I loved. People actually helped to fund it too! So, it’s fun to remember that while helping to select the bands for the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival. It’s basically the same thing, just on a much bigger level. Getting to share music I love with people I care about is one of the greatest things about my life. Watching festival people fall in love with bands is the best reward I could receive for the work I do. Here are some bands that you may not have heard of that are playing with us this spring…check them out now and love them at the festival!

Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey

If you’re looking for a new favorite local band, do yourself a favor and find Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey. When she was first introduced to me, I thought she was a talented singer-songwriter with a soothing voice and sweet songs. We knew she had a good amount of fans and thought she’d be a great local band to put on the bill. THEN I saw her live! That girl has SOUL! And on top of that, she’s just a good soul and loves doing what she does, and it shows. Rebekah Todd plays with her band, The Odyssey, on Sunday in the Grove at 11am.

Sarah Potenza

Ok, guilty pleasure alert, I watch The Voice. Amid a lot of “talent” shows on tv, it actually seems that this one really cares about the artists. Plus, it’s fun to watch singers and musicians come into their own because of a bit of a confidence builder. My favorite act on the show so far has been Sarah Potenza, so when we found out she had some GrassRoots connections, we knew it was fate to have her with us. Sarah’s got soul too, some say she’s like a country Janice. Her hard work in Nashville has paid off, and Blake Shelton hasn’t been the only one to notice her. See Sarah and her husband Ian Crossman on Saturday in the Grove at 9:30pm and Sunday in the Meadow at 1:45pm.

Danay Suarez

Danay was supposed to be with us last fall but her plans changed, so we had to delay our excitement about sharing her with our NC friends. She’s been with us twice in Miami, and is a pretty magical experience. From Havana, Suarez definitely brings the breezy island sound with her, with a great voice and beautiful, sultry presence. Her traditional Cuban sound blends seamlessly with her socially conscious and poetic lyrics. It’s somewhat rare to hear hop-hop at GrassRoots, but it’s also rare you hear hip-hop like this.


DISHOOM, Birdgherl, & Bless Your Heart

If it’s a dance party you’re looking for, this is the festival for you! We’ve got some great folks visiting us from the Bull City (Durham) who will be in the Cabaret Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Thursday & Friday nights are STACKED Dance Parties featuring Bless Your Heart both nights, joined by Birdgherl on Friday. Stacked is a Triangle-based dance party series where proceeds from each event go to support organizations working in social and food justice in our community. Check out the organization and some amazing beats, and be prepared to get close and sweaty! On Saturday night we bring back the international dance party of DISHOOM. Learn moves you didn’t’ even know you could do and dance to new worlds with Bollywood, Bhangra, electro, hip-hop, trap, dancehall, house, reggaeton and more alongside live drums and amazing visuals.

A Taste of Miami…

This Spring, we have such a huge Miami presence. Miami possesses a rich musical scene and we’ve been extremely lucky to get to know some of its greatest examples and share not only music, but the festival itself, with some talented, amazing people. Do not miss out on our Miami friends’ sets, they’ll make you dance, for sure, and they might make you come visit them at home with us next February! They include Locos Por Juana (Dance Tent, Thu 11:45pm & Fri, Meadow 8:15pm), Tamboka (Meadow, Thu 6:30pm; Carson’s Grove, Sat 5:30pm; & Dance Tent, Sun 4:30), FABI (Dance Tent, Sat 9:30pm & Meadow, Sun 4pm), Uma Galera (Carson’s Grove, Fri 11:30pm & Meadow, Sat 2:15pm), Cortadito & Friends (Dance Tent, Sun noon), Nag Champayons (Dance Tent, Sat 6:45pm & Meadow Stage, Sun 5:45pm).

Here’s a video from Tamboka to get you excited…

Happy Shakori, y’all!

Love & Peace,

Sara Waters
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance Co-Coordinator

Supporting the Evolution of Crowd-Sourced Intelligence & Leadership

D21_Miami_VoteNowSign_loresThe GrassRoots Festival organization has partnered with Democracy 2.1, also known as D21, to create the GrassRoots TownHall where anyone can express their opinion about the festival and goings on in the world around us. D21 came to us from our festival friends in Miami, based in the Czech Republic it is the creation of mathematician Karel Janacek, who has also spent several years fighting corruption in government there, he invented D21 as a system to help curve future corruption in their multi-party democracy. D21 offers an algorithm designed to achieve a better consensus in voting processes by incorporating multiple yes votes and also a no vote when choosing among multiple options or proposals. After being introduced to democratic reform by our work with Ben Cohen and his “Stamp Money Out Of Politics” campaign GrassRoots was of course excited about the possibilities of better government based on a greater consensus than the simple 51 percent wins all system now in place in the United States.

Collaboration across international borders by global citizenry is an exciting proposition, at the very least, and possibly an evolutionary mandate for the survival of humanity! We see crisis of governance practically in every country, even our United States and its forward thinking democracy has seemingly become dysfunctional, not to mention the rise of ISIS and the rule of brutality… and does anyone even know what governing system rules China?

The Internet is an example of Crowd-Sourced Intelligence, Wikipedia, Craigslist and even Ebay are places where the public explores its interest and desires– can we create governance directly linked to this human creative force? A government for the people and by the people? Can we solve problems like Climate Change directly from Crowd-Sourced Leadership?

Only we can tell this story if we try and find out!

Participate in the GrassRoots Town Hall at the Shakori Hills Tent in the Meadow from 5-8pm Thursday through Saturday and Sunday 2-5pm, and find out more about Democracy 2.1 here.

Jordan Puryear

GrassRoots Festival Founder

NC Channel Features “Shakori Hills Concert Series”

On April 2nd the NC Channel of WUNC-TV aired the premier episode of their show “Shakori Hills Concert Series.” On this series, the channel features past artists’ sets at the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival. It’s a great way to get a feel for what it’s like on the Meadow Stage while the festival is happening. Right now the series features 7 bands (1 per episode) and hopes to continue into the future with more acts filmed live at the festival.

Here are some previews of each of the shows with a link to some of the full episodes underneath:

Donna The Buffalo

Full episode here.

Hot Rize

Full episode here.

The Black Lillies


See full episode here.

Kinobe & The Wamu Spirit


Full episode here.


A State of Love



At Shakori Hills, our main goal is to bring out the common good and common ties that have bound us together as humans throughout history. We do this through music, dance, and art because those all speak a language that we can all understand and with which we can all find connection. For only 8 days a year, we build a community here in which we hope people can join in and find ways to bring that joy, magic, and spirit of connection with them to the outside world. The “outside” world, really, shouldn’t be all that different than it is while the festival is happening, but we have found ways – through hatred, judgement, negativity, fear, and separation from our own true hearts – to make it difficult and scary, lonely and sad.

At the festival, we seek to build up the community, to love everyone in it, because everyone has a part to play and every person’s life effects everyone else’s. Why is it that to some, being different, is such a bad thing? And really, how different can any one of us be from anyone else? We all laugh at a good joke, cry when we are sad, feel good when we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and have a desire to be happy.

We are a part of a time in history when the hatred takes the headlines and the separation seems vast. We are located in a state where some think it is ok to discriminate against people just because of who they are; to make it part of the law to cast people out and take away their right to work, to live, to do the very things that make us human, just because they were born a little different from the ones who make these laws. So many act under the banner of a commandment to “Love one another,” but forget what that truly means. We are better than this.

We also live an an amazing place! We can see the timeless ocean and the ancient mountains in the same day! We can stand in a spot where music from Africa escaped to the hollows of Appalachia and where banjo became bluegrass. Where countless battles in civil rights, women’s rights, and marriage equality were waged and won through love and standing on the right side of history! And we can dance under the stars to everything from Del McCoury to Rubblebucket to old vinyl records and everything in between. There is a lot of love in this state and a lot of it is represented right here at Shakori Hills. Let us continue to speak through these ancient languages of music, dance, and art and let us stand with each other to uphold the greater good and work, through love, to make our world – large and small – better every day!

We at Shakori Hills GrassRoots stand with open arms to all people – all who have hearts to feel joy, peace, and the safety of a loving community. One of our favorite terms here is “Ubuntu.” It is a Southern African philosophy meaning “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” Let us share what we have, learn from each other, love one another truly.

With that love, and with respect and the spirit of Ubutnu, we welcome everyone to the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance!

The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Team

Ubuntu photo by Elizabeth Larson

Shakori Hills Community Tickets Week 2: April 11-17

Samy-and-AVID1During our second edition of Shakori Hills Community Tickets Week, for every 4-day pass we sell from April 11th to 17th, we are donating $10 to Chatham County’s Communities In Schools. CIS is local non-profit whose mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Communities in Schools uses their resources to provide these “5 Basics” to students: 1) A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, 2) A safe place to learn and grow, 3) A marketable skill to use upon graduation, 4) A chance to give back, and 5) A healthy start and a healthy future.

We are very excited to support fellow organizations doing great things in our community and hope you’ll join us by considering purchasing your 4-day pass during this week and by spreading the word about the opportunity to have part of your ticket purchase directly support Communities in Schools! Our 4-day passes are now available for the Advance price of $114. Visit our store to order yours (plus Day passes, Youth 4-day passes, and Tent and Vehicle Camping passes) today.

Brett Dennen Just Added to Festival Lineup!

brett.blogCalifornian iconoclast Brett Dennen bursts out elegantly funky strands of timeless pop featuring captivating melodies that unfold in a rush of clever rhymes, often laid over subtle African pop rhythms. His sunny take on big subjects like love and death form an ideology of hope for the hopeless and strength for the broken.

Brett was last at Shakori Hills in Fall 2011, and we are incredibly excited to have him back this Spring! He’ll be playing the Meadow Stage on Thursday night at 8:30pm. Brett will be releasing his new album Por Favor in May and we’ll be the first date on his spring tour!

Enjoy his song, “Wild Child” from his last album Smoke & Mirrors.

Community Corner

Here I Sit in February, Pondering Shakori Hills

submitted by community member, Gary Phillips

sunrise.elizabethlarsonI’m writing this in February, but spring is rising in these Shakori Hills. Already the tag alders are coloring for their sexual dance (long yellow male catkins and little purple female buds) and it was so warm this week that toads were on the move and chorus frogs sang up and down the creek.

It’s a wild world and our community of Silk Hope is part of a changing and warming world. Nature has its own set of rules and feast-days, and it’s quite a show around here.

By the way, it’s important to think about yourself in relationship to land forms and how water flows from you to the ocean. Shakori Hills’ ecological address is off an un-named tributary of Terrell’s Creek in the Haw River watershed of the Upper Cape Fear Basin of the Atlantic Ocean, on the lee side of the Silk Hope Monadnock to be more precise. It’s a lovely place to dwell.

History is also important. Did you know Silk Hope is named for over half a century of silk production here, from 1787 to the 1840s? Red Mulberry trees still abound in Silk Hope, some very old. While many of us love the fruit, alas, the Chinese silkworms preferred the expensive Italian white varieties, so silk became just a hope in Chatham County.

So what is there to look for in nature during the first half of May, when these little hills will sound with Shakori music? Let’s see…

If they’re bold enough, a regal black vulture pair will be guarding greenish white eggs in
the old barn near the upper camping area, as they have in former years.

The Taurus new moon will rise in the middle of the festival, about 4am on Saturday morning. Look for The Big Dipper/ Great Bear high overhead; and Cassiopeia just visible on the northern horizon, a wonky tilted “W” of stars.

In our bioregion, early May is filled with leopard frogs and cricket frogs and southern toads and cotton-tails and white-tails and wild turkeys, wood thrush serenades, ruby-throated hummingbirds, red-tail hawks a-hunting, poplar blossoms, honeysuckle, oxe-eye daisy, bats courting at twilight and every cavity, tree and barn beam filled with baby birds. Just to start.

What else? You’ll just have to look around and pay attention.

Happy Shakori!

Shakori Hills Community Tickets Week is March 7-13!

Shakori Hills GrassRoots wants to continue to give back to the community that supports us! We will be running our Community Tickets Week from March 7-13.  For every 4-day pass we sell during the week, we are donating $10 to Be Loud! Sophie. Be Loud! Sophie is local non-profit that provides support and a voice to young adult cancer patients.

When Sophie Steiner was 13, she wrote the poem “Be Loud.” It read in part:

“…Be Loud, And Move With Grace, Explode With Light, Have No Fear…”

A year later, in the fall of her 9th grade year, Sophie was diagnosed with cancer. She received outstanding care at UNC Hospitals and was determined that cancer would not define her, and that she would remain active and engaged in her life. Above all, she would stay true to her authentic self. In the summer of 2013, despite the treatments, Sophie’s cancer returned. She died at home on August 30, 2013.

But Sophie’s story did not end there. Before she died, she expressed her strong desire to help adolescent and young adult cancer patients and their families at UNC Hospitals. She wanted to create something entirely new: a program specifically designed to help patients her age who face this overwhelming illness. The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation honors her wish.  Please learn more at beloudsophie.org.

We are very excited to support fellow organizations doing great things in our community and hope you’ll join us by considering purchasing your 4-day pass during this week and by spreading the word about the opportunity to have part of your ticket purchase directly support Be Loud! Sophie! Our 4-day passes are now available for the Advance price of $114. Visit our store to order yours (plus Day passes, Youth 4-day passes, and Tent and Vehicle Camping passes).