L Shape Lot

Wilmington rockers L Shape Lot perform during a past Beaufort Music Festival on the Beaufort Historic Site. This year, the event will start Friday, May 17 at West Beaufort Road. (Dylan Ray photo)

New talent, new venue and no plastic. That’s the 2019 Beaufort Music Festival in a nutshell.

The free, nonprofit, family-friendly music, arts and entertainment festival takes place Friday and Saturday, May 17-18 at 172 West Beaufort Road, located at the base of the new Gallants Channel high-rise bridge off Highway 70.

Friday performers include Chatham Rabbits, Stop Light Observations and No BS! Brass, while and Aaron Lee Tasjan, Lilly Hiatt and headliner Hiss Golden Messenger wrap up the festivities Saturday night.

“The festival originated in 1988 with the help of folks like Bryan Blake (of Unknown Tongues) and local favorite, Kitty West. It started out as a locals’ festival focused on music, but has since grown to encompass arts and community outreach that provides free arts and music programs for local schools,” BMF board member Karen Gould explained.

In addition to a lineup of local and regional musical talent, this year’s event also offers arts and crafts vendors, an array of food trucks and a children’s area with fun and games for the youngsters, sponsored by the Hover Foundation.

For the environmentally conscious, there will be a free Kinetico water truck at the site. Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring one empty reusable (and recyclable) water bottle for refills, as there will be no bottled water sales.

No outside alcohol is allowed, but beer and wine will be available on site for $6 each.

“We are eliminating plastic cups and plastic bottles this year,” Ms. Gould said. “In order to drink alcohol at the festival, each patron must purchase a $4 BMF steel pint or bring a steel pint from a past festival. We will continue to move in the direction of zero plastic waste over time.”

How to get there

The new venue is a switch from the traditional Beaufort waterfront location, but Ms. Gould said organizers have taken steps to help minimize any inconvenience to festivalgoers.

“We made the decision to move to Gallants Channel to give the event a true festival ‘vibe’ and to give us the room to grow into what we hope will become a much larger event here on the Crystal Coast,” she said. “Heading east on Highway 70, it is the first left turn at the bottom of the new high-rise bridge. From N.C. 101 South, you will take a right onto 70 and from N.C. 101 North, you will take a left onto 70. The festival site is the last right-hand turn before going onto the new bridge.”

On-site parking is free Friday and $10 Saturday. To accommodate patrons, there will be two free shuttle stops Saturday from Beaufort Town Hall and the parking lot on Turner Street.

Each stop will have a dedicated bus, so shuttles should be available every 15-20 minutes.

Organizers are hoping for a forecast of sunny skies and smooth sailing for the weekend, as the festival will take place rain or shine.

Giving back

Beaufort Arts and Music is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization working with and in the community to bring tourism and music to Beaufort and the Crystal Coast.

The BMF is funded by sponsorships from local businesses, donations, partnerships with local organizations and beer and wine sales during the festival, all of which allow it to remain a free event.

“The sponsorship amount has doubled over last year, and tripled when grant funding is included. The musical talent expense is almost double, as is total expense,” Ms. Gould said.

She said the bands are scouted by John Hackney and vendors are decided through an application. Also, Jimmy Craig Womble II designed this year’s BMF poster.

She and the entire board are especially proud of the musical outreach program, which will continue to be an integral part of the festival’s continuing focus.

“Just a few months ago, we collaborated with the Hover Foundation to have one of our past performers, Laura Blackley, come to town to do a week-long music program at the Beaufort Elementary and Tiller schools in Beaufort,” Ms. Gould said. “She worked with the students all week teaching the history of N.C. Piedmont Blues, then each school had a recital at the end of the week.

“And No BS! Brass, one of our headliner bands for this year, has accepted an offer to put on a 90-minute teaching session for East Carteret High School. East Carteret has agreed to match our cost for the event. We are working on including as many middle schools and high school band students as possible, including West Carteret and Morehead Middle. Ashley Wright, band director at East Carteret, is helping to coordinate this effort,” she added.

For complete information, visit the BMF website beaufortmusicfestival.com.

Performance Schedule

Friday, May 18:

5-5:45 p.m. — Driskill

6-6:45 p.m. — Chatham Rabbits

7-8 p.m.  — The Tan & Sober Gentlemen

8:15-9:15 p.m.  — Stop Light Observations

9:30-11 p.m. — No BS! Brass

Saturday, May 19:

Noon-12:45 p.m. — Qualian

1-1:45 p.m. — Strung Together

2-2:45 p.m. — Hot Buttered Grits

3-3:45 p.m. — Durty Dub’’s Tribute to Charley Pride

4-4:45 p.m. — Pie Face Girls

5-6 p.m.  — The Artisanals

6:15-7 p.m. — Kamara Thomas

7:15-8:15 p.m. — Aaron Lee Tasjan

8:30-9:30 p.m. — Lilly Hiatt

9:30-11:00 p.m. — Hiss Golden Messenger

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