The Azalea Festival strives to be recognized nationally as a true beacon of Wilmington’s Southern heritage and history. The annual celebration of springtime and culture promotes hospitality at its core, as beautiful belles act as ambassdors for the city during the week of activities.
It comes as no surprise that when selecting musicians for the festival’s stage, names equating with Southern sounds ring forth. In 2013 Wilmington welcomes back The Avett Brothers, while Lynyrd Skynyrd and Colt Ford will make their festival debut. Beach-music bands, gospel choirs and local musicians alike will also pack the five-day event.
However, most exciting for 2013 is the fact that its main concerts, once held in Trask Coliseum, now will move an outdoor venue at 411 N. Front Street on CFCC’s campus. The motivation comes from two recent sold-out shows (The Avett Brothers in 2011 and Scotty McCreery in 2012). The downtown post will increase capacity by 3,500 and has the potential to grow to hold 10,000 people. Plus, beer can now be sold on site—and the Museum of the Marine, located in Jacksonville, will handle sales as a fund-raiser for the non-profit. Flaming Amy’s and Paddy Wagon will set up their food trucks to provide grub.
Parking for the new venue is recommended at the Cape Fear Community College lots (for a donation of $10 to the CFCC student athletes) or at the city parking decks for $10 per day. Coolers and personal chairs won’t be allowed in, but chairs will be for sale at the venue for $10 each.
Read ahead for details about the weekend’s shows. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ncazaleafestival.org.
Thursday, April 11th • 7 p.m.
Gates open at 5 p.m.
$40 • www.lynyrdskynyrd.com
During the 1960s in Jacksonville, Florida, five teenage friends got together to create a little rock on the side of their high-school careers. By 1973 Lynyrd Skynyrd had set the world of Southern hard rock ablaze with “Free Bird,” and other hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “What’s Your Name” followed suit.
In a tragic plane crash in October 1977, members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines were killed on impact along with the assistant road manager and both pilots. The other members of the band were all seriously injured, and they took a haitus until 1987. The current line-up includes the original members Gary Rossington (guitar) and Johnny Van Zant (lead vocals).
Of the band’s 14 records, three have reached double-platinum status, while two others produced platinum and gold. Rolling Stone and VH1 named Lynyrd Skynyrd among the 100 greatest artists of all time, While “Free Bird” earned the title of “Third Greatest Guitar Solo” by Guitar World. In 2006 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
THE AVETT BROTHERS
Friday, April 12th • 7 p.m.
Gates open at 5 p.m.
$45 • www.theavettbrothers.com
Hailing from Concord, North Carolina, our home-state darlings The Avett Brothers rake in Grammy nominations with their brand of indie folk rock. Guitar, cello, bass, banjo and violion mix with other beautifully played instruments to create an enthralling modern-day verison of ragtime and bluegrass tunes.
Brothers Seth and Scott Avett lead the helm with main vocals, and they are joined by Bob Crawford (backup vocals, upright bass, electric bass, trumpet, violin), Joe Kwon (cello), Mike Marsh (drums) and Paul DeFiglia (piano).
Their sixth and most recent album, “The Carpenter,” debuted at number four on the Billboard Top 200 chart. It was nominated for Best Americana Album in the 55th annual Grammy Awards. In 2007 The Avett Brothers received the honors of Group of the Year and New/Emerging Artist of the Year from the Americana Music Association.
COLT FORD, THE LACS
Saturday, April 13th • 7 p.m.
Gates open at 5 p.m.
$25-50 • www.coltford.com
Colt Ford is recognized for bringing hip-hop stylings to the country music genre, namely for songs like “Chicken and Biscuits.” His greatest success, however, comes from songwriting for other artists, such as Jason Aldean’s 2011 award-winning hit “Dirt Road Anthem,” which Ford co-wrote with Brantley Gilbert.
He’ll be joined on Saturday night with newcomers The Lacs, a country-rap duo comprising Clay Sharpe and Brian King. Their second album, “190 Proof,” appeared on the US and US Country Billboard charts for 2012, and they’ve collaborated with acts like Big and Rich and Bubba Sparxxx.
MAIN STAGE BANDS
Sun., April 14th • 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. • Free
Sunday’s Main Stage show will kick off at 1 p.m. with the blues-influenced rock of The Mark Roberts Band, whose original tunes will be mixed with classic covers from Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and more.
The Craig Woolard Band will take the stage at 2:30 p.m. This beach-music group took home five awards from the 2012 Carolina Beach Music Awards, including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year. Woolard was the lead singer for The Embers for 27 years.
At 4 p.m., Jim Quick and Coastline will perform as the final act of the day. Quick, a Southeastern NC native, has been touring nationally for over 15 years. He’s won Entertainer of the Year nine times from the Carolina Beach Music Awards.