Rainbow Kitten Surprise is a magnificently unique five-piece indie rock band from Boone with a distinct and surprising sound strongly influenced by Modest Mouse and Kings of Leon. With chilling harmonies, dynamic instrumentation and introspective lyrics, they blend various genres together into a singular vibe and energy.
From Cajun to country, reggae to improv, zydeco boogie to roots-rock riot, 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.
Aurelio Martinez is a Honduran musician known for his joyful spirit, powerful voice, irresistible rhythms and outstanding musicianship. His sound is firmly rooted in surging rhythms driven by the spirited thumping of traditional drums alongside hypnotic melodies. He's the leading figure of the danceable, life-affirming music of the Garifuna people and one of the great artists of Latin America.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Todd Snider is one of the sharpest and funniest storytellers ever to espouse folkloric tales and meditations on contemporary culture. Big-hearted and hilarious, the perpetually barefoot misfit's wrenchingly insightful lyrics and Americana/alt-country/folk sound are at once pin-sharp and ragged, ramshackle and sophisticated, mixing sharp character portraits with brilliant bouts of philosophy. As champion of the hapless Everyman, you'll often find him heading up his new band Hard Working Americans, and his Shakori Hills show finds him backed by longtime comrades and premier boogie rock masters Great American Taxi.
Amy Helm is an American singer-songwriter who played in the celebrated alt-country collective Ollabelle and alongside her renowned dad in the Levon Helm Band. Blessed with an organically soulful and expressive voice full of heartfelt gospel urgency, she draws upon a deep well of American musical traditions for her emotionally resonant and spellbinding explorations.
Fusing elements of Afrobeat, dub, spacey jazz and psychedelic funk, the 10-piece ensemble aptly called Big Mean Sound Machine brings together the musical languages of West Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America to create a lush bed of rhythm and harmony. Storming out of Ithaca, NY, their shows are a fiery exhibition of artfully conceived dance music filled with luscious horns and heavy beats. They're a polyrhythmic monster that stimulates both body and mind - a complex sonic force with a raw edginess and a crisp and constant groove.
Louisiana's Grammy-nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers infuse Cajun roots music with new levels of rhythmic energy and spontaneity. Progressive and sonically experimental, they draw from Western swing, rockabilly and punk to create an eclectic and hypnotic mix of modern sounds and rhythms with ancient Cajun melodies and lyrics.
Crafting a powerful signature sound of arena-sized rock grooves, dirty funk and dance rhythms layered with lush electronic embellishments and soulfully triumphant vocals, BIG Something’s sound is driven by relentless jams, excellent musicianship and a spirit of fun. With humorous and pointed lyrics, strong hooks and a sense of flair, these Burlington, NC natives combine guitar, synth and saxophone into rich rock ’n’roll grooves dripping with soul, jazz and fusion flavors.
The psychedelic roots sound of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad weaves layers of complex music around their reggae foundation. The Rochester, NY-based crew delivers air-tight dub, roots reggae revelry and Afrobeat affirmations, flavoring their positive message with upbeat energy and meaningful lyrics.
Aaron Burdett has taken the best of the singer/songwriter idiom and added traditional Appalachian and folk rock genres to craft a singular style full of optimistic groove and depth. He's a gifted guitarist with a unique, muted percussive style and a distinctive earthy tenor. His sound is guaranteed to set your spirit soaring!
The Apple Chill Cloggers were formed in 1975 to preserve, interpret and teach the traditional style of Southern Appalachian Mountain clogging. The team performs for festivals, benefits and other events around North Carolina and beyond, inspiring audiences with high energy clogging to live traditional music. Bring the kids!
Bare Bones is an a cappella trio based in Charleston, WV performing eclectic American roots music from rousing old-time gospel to R&B and Motown. Their perfect vocal blend creates a fun and lively show that's consistently bright and engaging, with a distinctive sound that never loses sight of their Appalachian roots.
The Beast is an innovative and electrifying hip-hop and jazz ensemble from Durham mixing tap-dancers, puppeteers and spoken word artists into its repertoire. With conscious and poetic lyrics, progressive compositions and a gripping live show, they create passionately rebellious music to engage/enrage your mentality.
The Big Fat Gap loves Shakori Hills! Although the band has gone through a few changes since their performance at the first Shakori, their current lineup of Miles Andrews on bass and vocals, James Griggs on guitar, Jeff Stickley on guitar, Jon Hill on mandolin and vocals and Chris Roszell on banjo and vocals have built a reputation for expert musicianship, tight vocal harmonies, excellent songwriting and engaging performances. Known for their superb brand of compelling Carolina bluegrass, the BFG's impressive artistry demonstrates why they remain at the top of the Triangle bluegrass scene!
The Blind Spots are a five-piece “moxy rock” band from Ithaca, NY featuring electrifying lead singer and magnetic force of nature Maddy Walsh. Rich with imagery and metaphor, her powerhouse lead vocals leap over bold and inventive electric guitars and an eclectic library of vintage keyboard sounds to create a tight, raucous and uplifting sound.
Bulltown Strutters are a sparkling and fun community parade band bringing the classic street band traditions of New Orleans to their own home in Durham. Since 2010, the 20+ member collective has been bursting out hip-shaking, smile-making boogie music and urging the audience to join them in parade, dance and merry-making.
The Carolina PineCones are a youth band (ages 13-17) who perform a rousing selection of bluegrass songs and instrumentals throughout the Triangle area. They met through the summer Jam Camps and year-round youth jams offered by PineCone. Don't miss these bluegrass ambassadors for the next generation!
Centered at UNC Chapel Hill, the Carolina Ukulele Ensemble is the world’s only collegiate ukulele ensemble. At thirty strong and growing, they’re a mad scientist’s experiment gone horribly right. Known as “the happiest show on earth”, they bring energy, intimacy and humor to each performance through eccentric song choices and musical experimentation.
Crucial Fiya is multi-faceted reggae band from Raleigh blending R&B and classic rock into a cutting edge vision of positive roots music. Their flow of original and cover songs mixed with subtle audience interaction will delight both serious Rastafarian music fans and those who just need a quick Caribbean vacation to keep their spirits soaring.
Dex Romweber, best known as half of the seminal Flat Duo Jets, has spent a quarter century trolling the dark corners of the haunted thrift store of Americana ephemera to hone an extraordinarily idiomatic, sublime and spine-tingling sound - a creepy doll collection of surf, proto-rockabilly, garage, and dark and vengeful blues. His mind-blowing sound and energy is a live wire back to the murky, dangerous and unpredictable headwaters of real rock and roll.
DISHOOM is an international dance party featuring a global-minded DJ spinning Bollywood, Bhangra, electro, hip-hop, trap, dancehall, house, reggaeton and more alongside live drums and amazing visuals. Join the “Bhangra Boot Camp” at the beginning to learn the moves!
Chapel Hill-based songwriter Django Haskins is renowned for his instantly memorable melodies and well-crafted lyrics. Described as "an intersection of Randy Newman's gruff flamboyance, Nick Cave's gothic élan and Leonard Cohen's pithy wisdom," he also leads the local pop-noir orchestra The Old Ceremony.
Dr. Bacon is a genre-defying Appalachian soul-grass band from Boone playing an infectiously danceable blend of energetic, acoustic-driven 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.
In a post-modern world of skyscrapers and handheld computers, Driftwood looks beneath the concrete and circuitry to find their sound. Based in Binghamton, NY, their unique blend of old-time folk with modern and world music features blazing fiddle action, boundaryless banjo, booming upright bass and gleeful guitar alongside a scrap wood kick box, clapping hands and stomping feet.
Ellis Dyson & the Shambles are a 6-piece swing-ragtime band from Chapel Hill known for their whiskey-soaked, foot-stompin’ sound and wildly explosive live shows. Their old-timey front porch vibe takes traditional Appalachian music to the next level with masterful fiddle, banjo, saxophone, kazoo and more. Bursting with exuberance and effortless expertise, their playfully hootin’ and hollerin’ folk rock is guaranteed to bring the ruckus.
The Five Points Rounders are a young high-energy old-time band who formed in Durham to launch a series of “Rowdy Square Dances.” They brought the revered tradition to a new generation by dusting off the old tunes and dance moves and repackaging them to suit a younger sensibility while still appealing to longtime fans and connoisseurs. These kindred old souls play fast and loose, propelling the dancers into a frenzy of swingin’, foot-stompin’ hootin’ and hollerin’!
Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s rhythmic riot features throttling acoustic guitars and horn rave-ups, conjuring a ragtag New Orleans street corner band scouting out the land of indie rock. Bursting out of Greensboro, they offer up tightly crafted gems with timeless melodies, great harmonies and an organic rush of joyful energy. Like a jug band in a jazz dancehall, their Dixieland hilarity and rock sensibilities add up to pure and wonderful dance music.
The Hoppin’ Johnnies are a romping old-time string band borne of Shakori Hills’ Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention and led by fiddler Gil McNeill. Their traditional North Carolina sound is enlivened by a rotating cast of characters adding their own foot-stomping energy to their classic good-time tunes.
Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is a Nashville treasure who helped lay out the blueprint for the Americana movement of the ’90s. After finding success as one of Nashville’s most successful songwriters, he began earning high critical marks for an eclectic series of his own albums that spanned hard country, slick pop, rootsy rock ‘n’ roll, blues, folk, R&B and bluegrass, including collaborations with Ralph Stanley, Robert Hunter and Donna the Buffalo.
New York native Laila Nur is a singer-songwriter and musician currently residing in Greensboro. Raised Sunni Muslim and now a proud lesbian activist, she applies her life journey to the sound she calls “Revolutionary Love Music.” Playing hints of folk, funk, rock, pop and blues, she creates a musical experience of equal love and global connectedness with catchy songs about life, love and politics that speak to all walks of life.
Muningu is an African jazz fusion band with four Congolese musicians playing an eclectic sound that merges their traditional musical heritage with modern sounds from rock, pop, Latin, world music and R&B. With gorgeous Afro-jazz harmonies and lyrics in diverse languages, they celebrate their cultural melting pot with a vibe as funky and fiery as it is melodic and mellow.
When an accomplished ethnomusicology professor meets a dynamic lead vocalist and a bevy of salsa and jazz musicians, the result is the 12-member supergroup known as Orquesta GarDel. They play classic, edgy and funky modern salsa music rooted in the sound of the New York-Puerto Rico connection of the 1970s. With a powerful horn section and hurricane-force percussion, it's a high-energy Latin music experience. This weekend's show is a homecoming for the band: the first original song on their debut EP was originally titled "Welcome to Shakori Hills."
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!
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 start to 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 fifty years, Preston Frank remains an important force in preserving traditional zydeco and Creole French music.
Rivers is an acoustic trio from Carlisle, PA playing a smattering of genre-bending sounds, tapping into folk-rock, pop, funk, blues, chamber pop, Americana, roots rock and alternative to create their fluid and dynamic indie-folk style. Their distinctive amalgamation always keeps you guessing as they change it up and throw it down with surprising versatility and creativity.
Telekinetic Walrus brings listeners into a world of funky psychedelic hip-hop-infused bass music brimming with conscious lyrics and positive ideas. Bursting out of Miami, their high-energy live performances include costumes, theatrics and a multitude of atmosphere-enhancing multimedia props.
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.
Lurking in Eastern Carolina, bass wizard DJ Tymellord blends together popular hip-hop, R&B and pop vocal samples with spine-tingling bass lines, eclectic transitions and unique percussive hits to create an experience as complex and immersive as it is accessible. Whether you're a hip-hop head or dance music fan, Tymellord is your stop if you're looking to get weird.
Miami’s experimental reggae band Uma Galera is a seven-piece powerhouse playing Latin-tinged grooves laced with rock, funk, ska and more to create what they call “world soul music.” Their fitting name means “one crowd”, as their bouts of musical improvisation inspire unity and grow good vibes.
The Shakori Hills Vinyl Lounge features local DJs spinning nighttime grooves throughout the festival. The lounge is located in the Meadow right next to 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 spring, we’ll also feature a Vinyl Lounge set late night in the Cabaret Tent.
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.
Tony and Gary Williamson are North Carolina old-time bluegrass icons known for their tight duet harmonies and scintillating mandolin solos. Their beautiful voices and heartfelt lyrics perfectly convey the powerful emotions at the core of the traditional music they love.