Bring the kids to Chatham’s family-friendly folk festival

Bring the kids to Chatham’s family-friendly folk festival

October 8, 2013 

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Tyki Leak, left, Martha McGlasson and Liz Roberts dance at the Shakori Hills festival, which draws dozens of bands.

TAKAAKI IWABU — NEWS AND OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

The Shakori Hills music festival is the most family-friendly little Woodstock you could hope to discover tucked in the pines of Chatham County.

It’s now fall, and what better way to romance the season than to get out and camp, or spend some time where the stars aren’t blotted out by streetlamps and TV flicker. The music will be great, but it is the space that makes this event special.

The good news this year is that the Shakori Community Arts Center, still seeking investors, raised its $75,000 down payment on the land here, so this charming hollow can last in perpetuity as a sort of summer-camp for folk music and events.

Concert festivals can be tawdry little carnivals. Dead-eyed teens and a 24-hour drug market give a bad vibe to some, and the sheer numbers at an event like Bonnaroo can be daunting.

Shakori Hills is very much a family affair, and the best way to keep it so is to continue bringing children. There are games and activities, the new wonders of a forest setting, the rules of camping to teach.

The music is often unelectrified, though for a headliner this year organizers snagged Robert Randolph, the skilled pedal-steel guitarist who shot to rock-stardom after his extraordinary talents as a Florida church musician were discovered by Pharisees of music publishing.

When: Thursday through Sunday, camping overnight.

Where: Shakori Hills, 1439 Henderson Taynard Rd. off N.C. 87.

Tickets: $28-$48 day pass; $100 4-day; camping packages

Info: shakorihillsgrassroots.org/festival/tickets-info

Correspondent Tom Hartwell

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