Connie Fenner is a local business owner, community connector, and proud breast cancer survivor. She’s committed to supporting orgs that bring people together to create healthier communities, including powering our Go See This series this season. The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance is right around the corner, and we invite you to Go See This . . .
Can you feel the anticipation in the air with autumn just around the corner? There are so many ways to celebrate the change of seasons, and the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance stands out among the rest. This October 5-8, the beloved biannual music festival in Silk Hope, NC will welcome festival-goers of all ages. There is truly something for everyone, with a broad spectrum of musical performances, workshops, an artisan marketplace, and delicious food vendor options to choose from. With an exciting and diverse lineup of artists, the festival promises a wide range of live music experiences for attendees, from soulful R&B to reggae and beyond. Go immerse yourself in the atmosphere of unity and togetherness that Shakori is known for!
This year’s headliners include the legendary Mavis Staples, known for her decades-long singing career and contributions to gospel, R&B, and soul music, as well as her civil rights activism. The lineup also features reggae star Kabaka Pyramid, who took the industry by storm this year and took home the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with his sophomore album, “The Kalling.” There’s also Donna the Buffalo, known and widely followed for their positive vibes and eclectic blend of folk, rock, zydeco, reggae, and country. Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country will shake things up with his experimental and genre-defying take on country music. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! The four-day festival is packed with musical talent to light up multiple stages.
Shakori Hills’ Grant Golden shares his anticipation for this fall’s Grassroots Festival: “We’re really excited about all the acts we’ve got coming through! But one of the things that I have always really enjoyed about Shakori is the ties that we have to the community as a whole, whether that be the North Carolina music community or Chatham County, specifically our engagement that we have with Chatham County Schools. We have a program called Roots in the Schools, in which we align with artists from the festival each season to try and bring new types of music to the Chatham County schools.”
This year, Shakori’s Roots in the Schools program and the Chatham Arts Council’s Artists-in-Schools Initiative have come together to offer a blockbuster two-week Beat Making Lab residency at Chatham Middle School with the incredible creatives at Blackspace. Grammy-nominated musician, author, and educator Pierce Freelon founded Blackspace in 2014, as a digital makerspace for teens in Durham to access free programming including poetry, coding, puppetry, 3D printing, animation, beat making, rap, photography, DJing, and consent culture.
“We’ll be working with seventh-graders teaching about Hip Hop and beat making,” says Freelon. “It feels great on the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop to be out there in rural North Carolina sharing some gems about this wonderful culture that I’m a part of. North Carolina has a proud history of Hip Hop culture, especially southern Hip Hop.”
Several of Blackspace’s co-facilitators will be a part of the residency, including J Rowdy, an elementary school teacher and Hip Hop artist; Reem, a music producer and audio engineer; and Katie Blvd, a multi-instrumentalist Hip Hop artist. Freelon notes, “It was really important to me to bring some folks from Durham to Chatham County, as part of the cultural exchange between diverse communities that exist right here in our state.”
Following the two-week school residency, the students will get to showcase their talents on the Family Cabaret Stage at Shakori, right across from incredible performances by award-winning professional acts. Freelon muses: “I’ve rocked many stages in my career all over the world. I’m excited for these seventh-graders to have their first opportunity to make a beat and then share it in front of a live audience at a music festival. That’s a really cool thing! I remember when I was in middle school and first got to do a school play. If I could have done a rap beat battle, I would’ve been in heaven!”
Not only that, but several teachers from the Beat Making Lab will be performing on Friday evening as OnlyUs + The Social Construkt. Grant Golden chimes in on the unique opportunity this provides for students: “I think it’s so cool that the kids can see their teachers outside of that element, get to see them sharing their music with the public. That is something that they may not get the chance to see, typically.” It’s this intersection between entertainment, education, and grassroots engagement that makes the arts essential to any vibrant community.
Check out the details about this incredible lineup of artists, and immerse yourself in the magic of live music in the midst of nature’s beauty, surrounded by kindred spirits who share your passion for the arts. Don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival this fall.
The Short Version
- Who: Mavis Staples, Donna the Buffalo, Kabaka Pyramid, Daniel Donato’s Cosmic County, and many more musical acts including a showcase by Blackspace/Chatham Middle School students
- What: Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance
- When: Thursday, October 5 – Sunday, October 8, 2023
- Where: Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, 1439 Henderson Tanyard Rd, Pittsboro, NC 27312
- Cost: Variable. See the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival website for details.
- Parking: Visitor parking on site
- Accessibility: This is an outdoor event with natural terrain. Please contact Shakori Hills for assistance with access to stages and tents.
- For more info: https://www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org/