Music Scene in Asheville, NC

By Karen Schwartzman on November 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm EST

Music rocks the city of Asheville with the coming of Moogfest, the three-day, multivenue event where artists, audiences and energy coexist in harmony.

But the music remains long after the curtains close on Moogfest's final act. 

Creatively Contagious

Thanks in part to an art-conscious culture, Asheville has grown a music scene to rival cities twice its size, and its creativity is proving contagious.

“Asheville attracts an active, arts-going crowd which has been extremely receptive to live acts,” says Liz Whalen, marketing and special events director for the Orange Peel music venue. Those live acts include major names like Bob Dylan, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys, Lauryn Hill, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire and the Avett Brothers, to name a few.

The Peel, as Ashevillians affectionately call it, is the largest venue of its kind in Western North Carolina and has been highlighted as one of the best live music venues in the nation by the likes of Rolling Stone, USA Today and Cosmopolitan.

“It helps that we're in downtown Asheville, a fun, urban neighborhood where people can make a night of eating dinner, walking around and catching a show,” says Whalen.

The venue's full name, Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club, comes from a New Orleans term referring to a group that provides care, comfort, entertainment and support to its members.

Also bright on the scene is The Grey Eagle, where all ages are free to enjoy the space and sounds brought by a range of well-known bands.

In the Mood for Moog

When a late-night concert doesn't cut it, Moogfest comes in.

“It's a wonderful opportunity for people to come together in a social environment and share their enthusiasm for life, music and a sense of community,” says Ashley Capps, president of AC Entertainment, the company that produces the festival.

Still in its beginning phases, the concert series has garnered praise and big names in a short time. Moogfest began as a way to honor the legacy of Bob Moog and the many contributions he made to the music industry, and features mainly electronic and alternative rock, according to Capps.

“The focus is really on musicians whose work displays a genuinely restless, innovative, and creative spirit,” Capps says.

Overall, Moogfest aims to celebrate Asheville's already established and diverse music scene.

“We hope that serves to inspire musicians, artists, and the creative community as a whole to create more, and is seen as another aspect of the continuing growth of arts and culture, not just in Asheville, but throughout the Southeast,” says Capps.

Read more about Asheville, NC's music scene.

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The mountains and the changing seasons make this one of the most beautiful areas on earth. That’s probably why the restaurants here are so good. Great scenery, great attitude, great food.

Kevin Schwartz, resident