Beats Antique is an unparalleled trio playing experimental world fusion and electronic music in astonishing live shows that mix samples and heavy percussives with Tribal Fusion dance and performance art. Their global sound incorporates the music and dance of French Gypsy jazz, Middle Eastern grooves, Balkan wedding music, flamenco, hip-hop, dub reggae and much more. Zoe Jakes' unique dance style is an innovative blend of traditional and tribal belly dance with elements of tango, break dance and Indian dance woven throughout. This is truly a can't miss show!
From Cajun to country, reggae to improv, zydeco boogie to roots-rock riot, festival host band, Donna the Buffalo aims for the best of what music has to offer. Their singular sound features upbeat grooves, inspirational lyrics, memorable hooks, superb musicianship and an overwhelming sense of celebration. They’re an American institution – socially conscious yet eternally danceable. Donna the Buffalo started the GrassRoots Festival over 25 years ago outside of Ithaca, NY to raise money for local charities and showcase the sounds of their friends and inspirations from around the world. The band features multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins, guitarist Jeb Puryear, keyboardist Dave McCracken, bassist Kyle Spark and drummer Mark Raudabaugh.
Indie-acoustic quintet Elephant Revival is on the cutting edge of an emerging new genre called Transcendental Folk. With a sound soaked in Celtic fiddle tunes, inspirational indie rock, original folk songs, psychedelic country, traditional ballads, powerful reggae grooves and jazz standards, they carry a fresh sense of creativity and inspiration from their Nederland, Colorado home.
Locos Por Juana is a Latin urban orchestra from Miami whose wide-ranging musical approach draws from tropical styles such as reggae, cumbia and salsa as well as urban styles such as hip-hop, rock and Latin alternative. This burning, rapid-fire multicultural ensemble heats up to a high-energy hyperactive sizzle with biting social commentary that integrates a message of unity and their philosophy of “One Sound.” Just try not to dance along once they start playing!
LADAMA is an international ensemble of women celebrating cross-cultural, Pan-American collaboration. South American and Caribbean rhythms such as cumbia, coco, maracatu, onda nueva and joropo run like currents through pop and soul-infused songs sung in Spanish, English and Portuguese. They engage youth and other women to address gender inequality through workshops and public performances in music-making, sound design, composition and audio production.
Led by a 21-stringed harp-lute called a kora, Carrboro's Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba play a highly energetic and original blend of traditional and modern styles inspired by West African dance bands. Their music is full of unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos and polyrhythmic frameworks. With songs that build, spiral and surge into moments of sudden triumph, Cissokho plays his kora with rock-like exuberance, accompanied by the unrelenting polyrhythmic funk of the rhythm section.
Phil Cook & the Guitarheels is a North Carolina supergroup led by the former Megafaun keyboardist alongside an all-star rotating lineup. Drawn to elements of folk, blues and country, this thrilling collective plays from the heart and proudly carries the torch of tradition into the 21st century. Previous incarnations featured members of Bon Iver, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mandolin Orange, Town Mountain and Mount Moriah.
Founded by singer/percussionist Shep, the Amateurs have been playing reggae across the Southeast for over 30 years. They've lived all across North Carolina, from Wilmington's well-known Reggae Express Shop to Raleigh's Latta House. You won't find many reggae fans across North Carolina who don't know Shep!
Asheville's Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters bring a charming wit and deep well of emotion to their gorgeous Americana-soaked old-school country roots. With pedal steel guitar decorating the rock and folk leanings, her heartache-drenched voice soars above the music like a sweet serenade.
Bulltown Strutters are a sparkling and fun community parade band delivering a raucous mix of old-school New Orleans second line classics and new-school New Orleans funk. The 20-member group bursts out hip-shaking, smile-making boogie music and urges the audience to join them in parade, dance and merry-making. Powered by a massive horn section and an extra dose of Durham craziness, they bring the party and shift it into high gear.
Cane Mill Road walks the lines between Bluegrass, Americana, and Folk leaving their audiences shocked and in awe of the band that is made up of artists between the ages of 14-to-19: 14-year-old Liam Purcell on vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo; 19-year-old Eliot Smith on guitar and bass; and 17-year-old Trajan Wellington on bluegrass banjo and guitar. This charming and energetic band has won awards all of the country and it is easy to see why - from gorgeous original melodies to inspired covers, these gentlemen have got it all.
Fiery blues guitarist Cool John Ferguson has been playing guitar since age three and grew up with traditional sounds swirling all around him. He breathes music and plays from the inside out, commanding the rare ability to develop a theme on the fly. His improvised pieces carry the aesthetic sensibility of lovingly crafted works, but they're created live in real time with the audience's energy as the secret ingredient. Cool John will be performing as part of the Music Maker Revue.
Hailing from Folly Beach, SC, Dangermuffin is a rootsy Americana jam-rock quartet consisting of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums. With a genre-hopping sound ranging from cool ballads to spirited ska beats, they expertly mingle electric energy with raw acoustic tenderness and insightful lyrics.
Chapel Hill's Dark Water Rising expresses a sound and free spirit embracing several genres of music, playing Southern rock full of gospel harmonies, hip-hop inflections and Motown soul. Led by inspiring female lead singer Charly Lowry, who appeared on American Idol in 2004, they deliver up inspiring bursts of truthful soul layered with exquisite harmonies.
Dr. Bacon is a genre-defying Appalachian soul-grass band from Boone playing an infectiously danceable blend of energetic rock ‘n’ roll. Their sound is a rollicking amalgam of bluegrass, soul, funk, hip hop, blues, jazz, folk and more, with traditional bluegrass instrumentation bolstered by harmonicas, horns, jaw-harps and kazoos. Their unique and multicultural sound is a joyous shout from the mountaintops.
Progressive folk outfit Fireside Collective burst out of Asheville with an energetic live show built on instrumental proficiency, memorable melodies, colorful harmonies and innovative arrangements. Their forward-looking approach blends elements of bluegrass, funk, rock and blues, and led them to victory in the 2016 MerleFest Band Competition.
Based in Eastern NC, the Glorifying Vines Sisters are steeped in the traditions of uplifting and energetic gospel music, with a distinctive sweetness and mellow funkiness to their sound. Four sisters - Dorothy, Alice, Mattie and Audrey - along with Johnny Ray Daniels form the vocal core of the group. They've been tearing up the road since the '70s and will surely elevate both your body and spirit!
Founded in 1971 in Greenville, NC, the Green Grass Cloggers are inspired by traditional mountain-style clogging teams as well as older flatfoot and buck dancers. They developed an original, eclectic style based on four-couple Western square dance figures in short, energetic routines. While the groups’ footwork is synchronized, their free-spirited performances include head-high kicks and other unconventional steps. They were honored with an induction into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
Harvey Arnold is a singer, guitarist and North Carolina native with a lifelong passion for the blues. He first rose to fame as the bassist for the Southern rock band The Outlaws who sold millions of albums in the '70s . He later formed his own blues band based on his top-shelf vocal abilities and powerful slide riffs on both electric and acoustic guitars. Harvey will be playing as part of the Music Maker Revue.
For the last decade, the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center has hosted the Hoppin’ John Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention. The old-time and bluegrass genres are American treasures deeply rooted here in North Carolina. This fall we wanted to bring a little taste of Hoppin’ John back to GrassRoots, so we’ll be inviting an old-time band that knocked us off our feet during the convention in September to come back and join us at GrassRoots. The music is infectious and will definitely get you itchin’ to dance and maybe inspire you to pick up a fiddle yourself!
Asheville's I,Star plays "supernova folk-hop", where singer/songwriter melodies meet conscious hip-hop lyrical flows with visionary consequences. Singer Aradhana Silvermoon's angelic melodies and MC/poet Truth-I Manifest's potent parlance portray powerful messages of personal and global spiritual transformation, with influences of reggae, blues, world, rock and electronica accenting their danceable essence.
Renowned for his long-time association with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue in the '60s, drummer James "Bubba" Norwood has anchored the rhythm section for a veritable Who’s Who of blues, soul, and R&B greats. Raised in Chapel Hill, his powerful, driving drumbeats have propelled legendary artists including Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Curtis Mayfield, Albert King and Little Richard. Bubba will be performing as part of the Music Maker Revue.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Howie Jr., former frontman for North Carolina honky-tonk heroes Two Dollar Pistols, keeps his rustic, burning voice on full display with his outfit the Rosewood Bluff. Playing earnest songs from the heart, they put a soulful sheen on a sound that's more country than alt.
Part of the “Sacred Steel” movement, the Lee Boys (most of whom are related) put pedal steel guitar and a rock-steady rhythm section at the front of their bluesy gospel sound. But unlike their contemporaries, they've got a slight and unusual country tinge, making them sound at times like the mid-’70s Allman Brothers. Each member began making music in the church when they were 7 or 8 years old, and they haven’t stopped playing since.
Jameson Price and Laney Sullivan are Lobo Marino, a Richmond-based duo whose elegantly eerie chant-like intones soar over tribal-vibing world-fused folk music built primarily on harmonium, bass drum and various other unique instruments. Named after the enormous Pacific Sea Lion, their brand of halcyon, experimental folk draws from a rich palette of international influences. Chaotic yet harmonious, their infectious hooks and intoxicating vocals are both hypnotically spiritual and deeply soulful.
Mamis and the Papis
Mamis & The Papis is a Durham-based collective of womxn, femmes and gender nonconforming tender-hearted folx excited to share the music of their hearts and people. Everyone is invited to dance and celebrate at their fiery outbursts of nostalgic Latin, Cuban and Pan-American sounds.
The Music Maker Relief Foundation is a Hillsborough-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern musical traditions gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs. Music Maker's aid and service programs improve the quality of musicians' lives, affirming to these artists that we value the gifts of music and inspiration they've delivered to the world. Music Maker's mission is to give back to the roots of American music. This fall, see a select group of artists that Music Maker has supported over the years in their Friday night Revue in the Cabaret Tent!
The Oblations are a one-of-a-kind two-man blues/funk band led by Joe MacPhail on simultaneous drums and keyboards and Daniel Fields on masterful guitar. They weave their own original stories from the long thread of American blues music, and split the difference between songcraft and improvisation with eclectic covers from Howlin' Wolf to Outkast.
Onyx Club Boys are a hot Pittsboro-based group drawing inspiration from the old days of Gypsy jazz, French musettes, Brazilian sambas, swing and ragtime. It's a trip around the world which will make you swoon, tap your feet and realize how universal and similar music really is. Their members have played in a variety of beloved Shakori Hills favorites including Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Old Ceremony, Kaira Ba, Midtown Dickens, Club Boheme and Paperhand Puppet Intervention.
The Outboards' two-guitar Old Wave attack blends classic late '70s rock like Television and Dire Straits with heartfelt '90s indy rock. Hailing from the intimate hamlet of Pittsboro, they add lively hints of German and Southern psychedelia to twist their sound into a vision all their own.
Come explore the amazing world of Paperhand Puppet Intervention! NC's imaginative puppeteering troupe uses cardboard, papier mache, trash and a variety of puppetry styles to help promote social change, peace and hope for a better world. Their magical environmental program includes giant puppets, masks and music. Join the puppets in a parade around the festival grounds on Saturday and be prepared to let your spirits soar!
For years, Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen sang in New Orleans six nights a week, performing at venues including the House of Blues, until Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home. She relocated to North Carolina where she unfurls the tapestry of her life experiences through her soulful words and music. A dramatic and exotic performer, she shares the mettle, pathos and ocean-deep compassion of the famous female blues singers who inspired her - women like Billie Holiday, Koko Taylor and Etta James. Pat will be performing as part of the Music Maker Revue.
Accordionist Preston Frank has been laying down his blazing bayou boogie and fearless yet traditional Louisiana zydeco for decades. His trademark swamp groove is a combination of Cajun, funk and soul, cooking up a smooth and flowing Creole sound that instantly makes you move. The jumping rhythms and festive vibes rest in his hands while his fingers work magic on the diatonic accordion. Firmly planted in his musical roots for over fifty years, Preston Frank remains an important force in preserving traditional zydeco and Creole French music.
Hailing from Wilmington and fusing elements of rock, soul, blues and folk, Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey creates smooth melodies charged with a raspy energy. Her sultry voice, catchy hooks and powerful lyrics command the crowd, while the band cranks out a smoking hot Muscle Shoals sound of generations past.
Son Viajero are keepers of "Son Jarocho", a regional folk musical style of Mexican Son. They bring love with every pluck of their instruments and passion with every tap of their feet. They move through physical and language borders to present their music worldwide while preserving the tradition by teaching their community at home.
Hailing from Snow Camp, NC, the Tan and Sober Gentlemen pioneer a sound they call "Celtic punk-grass." It's a raw and unfiltered blend of hard-driving, danceable roots music from both sides of the pond, delivered with a punk edge and whisky-fueled abandon. They're famous for their rip-roaring live shows, featuring all manner of shenanigans, audience engagement and tremendous energy.
Travers Brothership is a wild and intense alternative soul funk ensemble from Asheville that's positively overflowing with joyous energy. Founded by twin brothers Kyle and Eric Travers, their epic concerts are thrilling throwdowns with perfectly blended vocals soaring above groovy beds of heartfelt rock and blues.
The Shakori Hills Vinyl Lounge features local DJs spinning grooves throughout the festival. Located at the Meadow Stage alongside the beer and wine, it’s the perfect place to mellow out with friends and dance to your favorite timeless tunes and the deepest rare cuts. This fall, we’ll also feature a Vinyl Lounge set late night in the Cabaret Tent.
Voodoo Circuit is a live electronica and funk rock trio from Morgantown, WV whose spacey yet intense sound is an ethereal blend of rock instrumentation and ambient electronica-inspired tones. By utilizing live looping techniques, they conjure complex and layered instrumentals alongside improvised trance breakdowns to invoke a truly psychedelic experience.
WarPaint was formed in the summer of 2013 when members of the Lumbee and Tuscarora tribes formed a new sound to carry on the teachings of Ray Little Turtle of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Their traditional Native American drumming and heartfelt, energetic singing draws a direct line to their time-honored and proud musical heritage.
Will Ridenour & Gabriel Pelli – Ecstatic Dance Party
Will Ridenour's harp-lute kora and Gabriel Pelli's old-time fiddle forge an unprecedented blend of American folk and West African music that sparks images of love and remembrance, beauty and resistance, passion and strength. This Chapel Hill duo creates a spirited and uplifting sound with profound capabilities. This fall, this duo will be playing music for a special Ecstatic Dance Party where everyone participates! It's a continuous free-form dance party that ebbs and flows, builds and releases, based on the energy of the audience and performers. The Dance will be led by Aubrey Griffith-Zill & Julia Hartsell.
Zach Deputy is an astonishing one-man dance party offering up what he calls “Island-infused, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul.” Based in Bluffton, SC, he's an amazing multi-instrumentalist and soulful singer best known for his solo live looping shows which include bass, beat boxing, drum sounds, vocals, guitar, horns and more, all coming directly from him. Full of hope and the promise of a new day, he's a powerhouse of performance and technical ability.