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If you are a fan of barbecue and bluegrass music, you might want to mark your calendar for July 8, 2023. That’s when the Smokin’ Grass Festival on the Outer Banks will take place at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, North Carolina. This festival is a celebration of two of the most beloved aspects of Southern culture: mouthwatering smoked meats and toe-tapping tunes. In this article, I will share with you everything you need to know about this festival, from what it is, how to enjoy it, and how to plan your trip. As a barbecue and grilling enthusiast myself, I will also give you some helpful suggestions and reasons for my suggestions. So, let’s get started!
What is the Smokin’ Grass Festival?
The Smokin’ Grass Festival is a one-day event that combines bluegrass music and barbecue food in a scenic outdoor setting. It is organized by Hemilright Entertainment Inc., a company that specializes in producing live music events in North Carolina. This festival is the first of its kind on the Outer Banks, a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, historic sites and natural attractions.
A brief introduction to the festival’s history, location, date and time
The Smokin’ Grass Festival was first held in 2021 as a way to bring some fun and excitement to the Outer Banks after a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was a huge success, attracting thousands of visitors from near and far who enjoyed the music, food and atmosphere. The festival also raised money for local charities and supported local businesses.
The festival is held at Roanoke Island Festival Park, a 25-acre historic site that commemorates the first English settlement in America. The park features a waterfront pavilion, a replica of a 16th-century sailing ship, an interactive museum, a boardwalk and a nature trail. The park offers stunning views of the Roanoke Sound and the Manteo waterfront.
The festival takes place on Saturday, July 8, 2023 from 1 pm to 11 pm. The gates open at noon and close at midnight. The festival is rain or shine, so be prepared for any weather conditions.
The main attractions of the festival: music and food
The Smokin’ Grass Festival is all about enjoying the best of bluegrass music and barbecue food. The festival features six bands that play a variety of styles, from traditional to progressive, from acoustic to electric. The bands are:
- Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen: A Grammy-nominated band that blends bluegrass, folk, country and rock with virtuosic musicianship and soulful vocals.
- The Kitchen Dwellers: A Montana-based band that mixes bluegrass, jam, psychedelic and rock influences with high-energy performances and catchy songs.
- Breaking Grass: A Mississippi-based band that delivers a fresh and innovative sound that incorporates elements of bluegrass, country, pop and Americana.
- Songs from the Road Band: A North Carolina-based band that showcases original songwriting and harmonies with a diverse repertoire of bluegrass, jazz, swing and folk.
- Into the Fog: A Raleigh-based band that creates a unique blend of bluegrass, folk, rock and funk with dynamic arrangements and improvisation.
- Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road: A young and talented band that plays a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass with a youthful flair and enthusiasm.
The festival also offers food from five barbecue vendors that serve a variety of smoked meats, such as pork, chicken, brisket and ribs. The vendors are:
- Carolina Shine BBQ: A vendor that specializes in Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue, which features vinegar-based sauce and whole-hog cooking.
- Spare Parts BBQ: A vendor that offers Texas-style barbecue, which features beef brisket, sausage and spicy sauce.
- Sooey’s BBQ: A vendor that serves Southern-style barbecue, which features pulled pork, chicken, ribs and sweet sauce.
- Nuts & Buds BBQ: A vendor that provides vegan barbecue options, such as jackfruit, tofu and seitan.
- Jolly’s Catering: A vendor that caters to various dietary needs and preferences, such as gluten-free, keto and paleo.
Enjoy the Music at the Smokin’ Grass Festival
The music is the main attraction of the Smokin’ Grass Festival, so you don’t want to miss any of the performances. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the music at the festival:
The lineup of the bands and their styles
The festival has a single stage where all the bands perform. The schedule of the performances is as follows:
|Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road||12:30 pm|
|Into the Fog||2:15 pm|
|Songs from the Road Band||4:00 pm|
|Breaking Grass||5:45 pm|
|Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen||7:30 pm|
|The Kitchen Dwellers||9:15 pm|
Each band plays for about an hour, with a 15-minute break between each set. The bands play different styles of bluegrass music, so you can expect to hear a variety of sounds and influences. If you are not familiar with the bands or their styles, you can check out their websites or social media pages to learn more about them. You can also watch some of their videos on YouTube or listen to some of their songs on Spotify or other streaming platforms.
The best spots to watch the performances
The festival has a large grassy area in front of the stage where you can watch the performances. You can bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on, or you can stand or dance if you prefer. You can also rent chairs from the festival for a small fee. The festival does not allow tents or umbrellas in this area, so be prepared for sun exposure or rain.
If you want to get closer to the stage and see the bands up close, you can try to get a spot near the front of the crowd. However, this area can get crowded and noisy, so be respectful of other people’s space and comfort. If you want to have more room to move around or relax, you can try to get a spot near the back or the sides of the crowd. However, this area can have less visibility and sound quality, so be prepared to miss some details or nuances.
You can also watch the performances from other areas of the park, such as the boardwalk or the nature trail. However, these areas are farther away from the stage and have limited views and sounds. You might also miss some of the festival’s atmosphere and vibe.
The tips for dancing, singing along and having fun
One of the best ways to enjoy the music at the Smokin’ Grass Festival is to dance, sing along and have fun. Bluegrass music is known for its upbeat tempo, catchy melodies and lively lyrics. It is also known for its improvisation and interaction between the musicians and the audience. Here are some tips on how to dance, sing along and have fun at the festival:
- Dance: Bluegrass music is perfect for dancing, as it has a fast and steady rhythm that makes you want to move your feet. You can dance in any way you like, as long as you have fun and respect other people’s space. You can also learn some traditional bluegrass dances, such as clogging, flatfooting or square dancing. These dances are easy to learn and fun to do. You can find some tutorials online or join some workshops at the festival. You can also watch some experienced dancers and follow their steps or join them if they invite you.
- Sing along: Bluegrass music is also great for singing along, as it has catchy melodies and memorable lyrics. You can sing along to any song you like, as long as you know the words and the tune. You can also learn some new songs by listening to the bands or reading the lyrics online or on the festival’s program. You can also join some sing-alongs or jam sessions at the festival, where you can meet other singers and musicians and share your passion for bluegrass music.
- Have fun: The most important thing to enjoy the music at the Smokin’ Grass Festival is to have fun. Bluegrass music is all about having a good time and sharing it with others. You can have fun by smiling, clapping, cheering, laughing and making friends. You can also have fun by appreciating the talent and skill of the bands and showing them your support and gratitude. You can also have fun by exploring the park and discovering its history and beauty.
How to Enjoy the Food at the Smokin’ Grass Festival?
The food is another attraction of the Smokin’ Grass Festival, so you don’t want to miss any of the delicious barbecue dishes. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the food at the festival:
The variety of barbecue vendors and their specialties
The festival has five barbecue vendors that offer a variety of smoked meats, such as pork, chicken, brisket and ribs. Each vendor has its own style and specialty, so you can taste different flavors and textures. Here are some of the vendors and their specialties:
- Carolina Shine BBQ: This vendor specializes in Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue, which features vinegar-based sauce and whole-hog cooking. This style of barbecue is tangy, spicy and tender. The vendor’s specialty is pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and hush puppies.
- Spare Parts BBQ: This vendor offers Texas-style barbecue, which features beef brisket, sausage and spicy sauce. This style of barbecue is smoky, peppery and juicy. The vendor’s specialty is brisket plate with beans and cornbread.
- Sooey’s BBQ: This vendor serves Southern-style barbecue, which features pulled pork, chicken, ribs and sweet sauce. This style of barbecue is savory, sticky and succulent. The vendor’s specialty is rib rack with macaroni and cheese and collard greens.
- Nuts & Buds BBQ: This vendor provides vegan barbecue options, such as jackfruit, tofu and seitan. These options are seasoned and smoked to mimic the flavor and texture of meat. The vendor’s specialty is jackfruit sandwich with vegan coleslaw and fries.
- Jolly’s Catering: This vendor caters to various dietary needs and preferences, such as gluten-free, keto and paleo. The vendor offers a range of meats, sauces and sides that suit different diets. The vendor’s specialty is chicken skewers with keto-friendly sauce and salad.
The best ways to sample different barbecue dishes
The festival gives you a chance to sample different barbecue dishes from different vendors. You can try as many dishes as you like, as long as you have enough appetite and budget. Here are some of the best ways to sample different barbecue dishes:
- Share with friends: One of the best ways to sample different barbecue dishes is to share them with your friends or family. You can order different dishes from different vendors and split them among yourselves. This way, you can taste a variety of flavors without getting too full or spending too much money.
- Mix and match: Another way to sample different barbecue dishes is to mix and match them according to your preferences. You can order different meats, sauces and sides from different vendors and create your own combinations. This way, you can customize your barbecue experience and discover new flavors.
- Try something new: A final way to sample different barbecue dishes is to try something new that you have never had before. You can order something that sounds interesting or unusual from the menu or ask the vendor for a recommendation. This way, you can expand your barbecue horizons and maybe find a new favorite.
The tips for pairing barbecue with drinks and sides
The festival also offers a variety of drinks and sides that go well with barbecue. You can choose from soft drinks, water, beer, wine or liquor. You can also choose from coleslaw, beans, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fries or salad. Here are some tips for pairing barbecue with drinks and sides:
- Balance the flavors: One of the tips for pairing barbecue with drinks and sides is to balance the flavors. You want to choose drinks and sides that complement or contrast the flavor of the barbecue. For example, if you have a tangy or spicy barbecue, you might want to pair it with a sweet or mild drink or side. If you have a savory or sticky barbecue, you might want to pair it with a sour or crisp drink or side.
- Consider the temperature: Another tip for pairing barbecue with drinks and sides is to consider the temperature. You want to choose drinks and sides that match or contrast the temperature of the barbecue. For example, if you have a hot or warm barbecue, you might want to pair it with a cold or cool drink or side. If you have a cold or room-temperature barbecue, you might want to pair it with a hot or warm drink or side.
- Follow your taste buds: A final tip for pairing barbecue with drinks and sides is to follow your taste buds. You want to choose drinks and sides that suit your personal taste and mood. For example, if you are feeling adventurous, you might want to try a new or exotic drink or side. If you are feeling nostalgic, you might want to stick to a classic or familiar drink or side.
How to Plan Your Trip to the Smokin’ Grass Festival?
The Smokin’ Grass Festival is not only a great opportunity to enjoy barbecue and bluegrass music, but also a great opportunity to explore the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands that offers stunning scenery, rich history and diverse activities. Here are some tips on how to plan your trip to the Smokin’ Grass Festival:
The ticket options and prices
The festival has two ticket options: general admission and VIP. The general admission ticket costs $40 per person and gives you access to the festival grounds, the stage area, the food vendors and the park amenities. The VIP ticket costs $100 per person and gives you everything that the general admission ticket does, plus access to a VIP tent with private bathrooms, complimentary drinks and snacks, reserved seating near the stage and meet-and-greet opportunities with the bands.
You can buy your tickets online through Eventbrite or at the gate on the day of the festival. However, buying online is recommended as it saves you time and money. The online tickets are cheaper than the gate tickets ($35 vs $40 for general admission and $90 vs $100 for VIP) and guarantee your entry in case of sell-out.
You can also enter a ticket giveaway contest on the festival’s website by filling out a form with your name and email address. The contest ends on June 15th and the winners will be announced on June 16th.
The transportation and parking options
The Smokin Grass Festival on the Outer Banks festival is located at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, North Carolina. The park is about 80 miles south of Norfolk International Airport in Virginia and about 170 miles east of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. You can fly to either airport and rent a car or take a shuttle bus to get to the Outer Banks.
The festival has free parking available at the park’s lot on a first-come-first-served basis. However, parking is limited and can fill up quickly, so you might want to arrive early or carpool with others. You can also park at other nearby locations, such as the Manteo Waterfront or the Dare County Administration Building, and walk or bike to the park. You can also take a taxi or a rideshare service to get to the park.
The accommodation and sightseeing options
The festival is a one-day event, but you might want to stay longer and explore the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks has a variety of accommodation options, such as hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, cottages, cabins, campgrounds and vacation rentals. You can choose an accommodation that suits your budget, preference and location. You can book your accommodation online through websites like Airbnb, Booking.com or Expedia.
The Outer Banks also has a variety of sightseeing options, such as beaches, lighthouses, museums, historic sites and natural attractions. You can choose a sightseeing option that suits your interest, time and location. Some of the most popular sightseeing options are:
- The Wright Brothers National Memorial: A monument that honors the first successful flight of a powered aircraft by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903. The memorial features a museum, a replica of the Wright Flyer, a sculpture of the flight and a granite pylon.
- The Cape Hatteras National Seashore: A national park that preserves 70 miles of coastline along the Outer Banks. The park features pristine beaches, sand dunes, marshes and wildlife. The park also features three lighthouses: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.
- The Lost Colony: A historical drama that tells the story of the first English settlers who arrived on Roanoke Island in 1587 and mysteriously disappeared. The drama is performed at an outdoor theater at Roanoke Island Festival Park from May to August.
- The Jockey’s Ridge State Park: A state park that contains the largest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. The park features hiking trails, hang gliding opportunities and spectacular views of the sunset.
- The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island: An aquarium that showcases the aquatic life of the Outer Banks. The aquarium features exhibits, programs and activities for all ages. The aquarium also features a sea turtle hospital and a shipwreck exhibit.
What Is the Best Griddle Temperature for Cooking Pancakes at the Smokin Grass Festival?
The fluffy pancakes griddle temperature at the Smokin Grass Festival is crucial for a perfect stack. To achieve golden-brown deliciousness, aim for a medium heat between 350°F to 375°F. This range allows the batter to cook evenly without burning, resulting in a heavenly texture that melts in your mouth.
The Smokin’ Grass Festival on the Outer Banks is a festival that you don’t want to miss if you love barbecue and bluegrass music. The festival offers you a chance to enjoy some of the best bands and vendors in the region in a scenic and historic setting. The festival also gives you an opportunity to explore the Outer Banks and discover its beauty and charm.
In this article, I have shared with you everything you need to know about this festival, from what it is, how to enjoy it, and how to plan your trip. I have also given you some helpful suggestions and reasons for my suggestions as a barbecue and grilling enthusiast myself.
I hope you have found this article useful and informative. I hope you have a great time at the Smokin’ Grass Festival on the Outer Banks. I hope to see you there!
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Smokin’ Grass Festival on the Outer Banks:
How can I contact the festival organizers?
You can contact the festival organizers by email at email@example.com or by phone at (252) 423-3039. You can also follow them on Facebook or Instagram for updates and news.
What are the items that are allowed or prohibited at the festival?
The festival allows you to bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on, as well as water bottles, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. The festival does not allow you to bring tents or umbrellas, coolers or outside food or drinks, pets or weapons.
What are some other events or activities that are happening on the Outer Banks during the festival weekend?
The Outer Banks has a lot of events and activities that are happening during the festival weekend.
Some of them are:
The Outer Banks Seafood Festival: A festival that celebrates the local seafood industry and culture. The festival features seafood vendors, live music, cooking demonstrations, educational booths and children’s activities. The festival takes place on Saturday, July 8 from 10 am to 6 pm at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head.
The Outer Banks Fireworks Spectacular: A fireworks show that lights up the sky over the Roanoke Sound. The show features music, lasers and pyrotechnics. The show takes place on Sunday, July 9 at 9:30 pm at the Nags Head Fishing Pier.
The Outer Banks Kayak Fishing Tournament: A fishing tournament that challenges anglers to catch the biggest fish from a kayak. The tournament features prizes, raffles and awards. The tournament takes place on Saturday, July 8 from 6 am to 4 pm at various locations on the Outer Banks.
What are some of the best barbecue and bluegrass resources that I can check out before or after the festival?
If you want to learn more about barbecue and bluegrass, you can check out some of these resources:
The Barbecue Bible: A book by Steven Raichlen that covers everything you need to know about barbecue, from techniques and recipes to history and culture. The book features over 500 recipes from around the world and over 1000 photos and illustrations.
The Bluegrass Situation: A website that covers everything you need to know about bluegrass, from news and reviews to interviews and podcasts. The website features articles, videos and audio from some of the best bluegrass artists and experts.
The Barbecue Bus: A podcast by Chris Webb and Greg Rempe that covers everything you need to know about barbecue, from tips and tricks to stories and legends. The podcast features guests, segments and contests from some of the best barbecue personalities and enthusiasts.
The Bluegrass Unlimited: A magazine that covers everything you need to know about bluegrass, from events and festivals to profiles and features. The magazine features stories, photos and music from some of the best bluegrass artists and fans.
Is the Smokin Grass Festival suitable for families with children?
Absolutely! The festival offers family-friendly activities, and children can enjoy the live music, food vendors, and a lively atmosphere.
Are there vegetarian or vegan food options available at the festival?
While the festival mainly focuses on barbecue and grilling, there are often vendors offering vegetarian and vegan food options to cater to diverse dietary preferences.
Can I bring my own grill or barbecue equipment to the festival?
Outside grills or barbecue equipment are not allowed at the festival grounds for safety reasons. However, you can admire and learn from the pitmasters’ setups and techniques.
Are pets allowed at the Smokin Grass Festival?
With the exception of service animals, pets are generally not allowed at the festival grounds to ensure the safety and comfort of all attendees.
Is there an admission fee for the Smokin Grass Festival?
Yes, there is an admission fee for the festival, and tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the event entrance. Prices may vary depending on the day and package options available.