Every year, autumn faithfully ushers in crisper temps, gorgeous fall foliage, and many an outdoor festival. As you’re mapping out your fall plans, don’t miss some of the top food, music, and arts festivals taking place across the South. There’s no shortage of tunes, tasty bites, and beverages that await in the coming season!
*This list was updated September 2, 2021 — please refer to event websites for the most up-to-date information regarding dates and health and safety information. Use the links below to explore the festival list, organized by month!
Top Festivals & Culinary Events: Fall 2021
September 9-11, 2021: Hopscotch Music Festival — Raleigh, NC
The eclectic and fan-friendly Hopscotch Music Festival celebrates its 11th year in downtown Raleigh this month. Known for its adventurous and diverse lineup of rock, hip-hop, metal, folk, electronic, and experimental performers, expect memorable performances by headliners Dr. Dog, Animal Collective, Flying Lotus, Parquet Courts, and more.
September 10 & 11, 2021: Candler Park Music Festival — Atlanta, GA
Galactic, Ripe, The Infamous Stringdusters, Spafford, The Vegabonds, The Dirty Guv’nahs, Marco Benevento, and more headline this year’s Candler Park Music Festival in Atlanta. Beyond the music, there’s a lineup of hand-picked local food and drink vendors, plus an artist market.
September 10 & 11, 2021: North Carolina Folk Festival — Greensboro, NC
Part of the National Folk Festival’s hugely successful rotating three-year residencies across the country, the North Carolina Folk Festival honors and celebrates all the ways communities express creativity and cultural traditions through music, food, dance, crafts, and other folk arts.
September 11 & 12, 2021: Big Four Bridge Arts Festival — Louisville, KY
The Big Four Bridge Arts Festival is a hugely attended two-day art celebration at Louisville’s Waterfront Park. On four acres of tree-lined rows overlooking the Ohio River, enjoy high-quality art, food, libations, and children’s activities in a family-friendly atmosphere. There are always more than 200 quality artists from across the country chosen by an independent panel of judges.
September 11 & 12, 2021: Moon River Festival — Chattanooga, TN
Moon River Festival returns to the banks of the Tennessee River to bring two days of more than 20 performances in an inclusive, artistic, and family-friendly atmosphere. Happening in Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park, see acts like Wilco, Lord Huron, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and more!
September 14-18, 2021: Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival — Hilton Head, SC
Hilton Head Island’s Annual Wine and Food Festival is back with their savory wine dinners, Sip and Stroll events, and Public and Grand Tastings. Watch chefs compete at the Sysco Outdoor Gourmet Challenge to the tunes of live entertainment, and don’t miss the fun and excitement of the waiters’ race.
September 16-19, 2021: The Kentucky Bourbon Festival — Bardstown, KY
Head to the Bourbon Capital of the World — the little town of Bardstown, KY — for a week-long celebration of the history and art of distilling the South’s favorite spirit. With hundreds of special and hard-to-find bourbons to taste, this popular festival is already sold out, but there are some free events and concerts to check out!
September 18, 2021: Outlaw Music Festival — Raleigh, NC
September 19, 2021: Outlaw Music Festival — Charlotte, NC
September 22, 2021: Outlaw Music Festival — Atlanta, GA
Willie Nelson brings his traveling music festival to multiple stops in the South in September. He’s bringing along friends like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Gov’t Mule, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Bingham, Margo Price, Yola, Kathleen Edwards, Ida Mae, and more.
September 22-26, 2021: Mayberry Days — Mount Airy, NC
An exciting homage to “The Andy Griffith Show” and simpler times, this beloved festival has something for the whole family, like old-fashioned food and games, and local bands playing the same songs that Andy grew up with and performed on the show.
September 22-25, 2021: AmericanaFest — Nashville, TN
Thousands of talented artists, music fans, and industry professionals from all over the world descend on Nashville to witness the melting pot of Americana influences including roots, folk, country, blues, and soul-based music. This is a can’t-miss week of interesting panels, city-wide performances, and uniquely intimate chances to see your favorite artists up close.
September 25 & 26, 2021: Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival – Franklin, TN
Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival takes place on a rolling farm in Franklin, Tennessee, and celebrates the South’s best music, culture, and food. With headliners Dave Matthews Band, The Black Keys, Maren Morris, and Cage the Elephant, as well as so many other amazing bands and singers (hello, Amos Lee, Valerie June and more!), this promises to be a great weekend in an absolutely gorgeous setting.
September 25 & 26, 2021: Duluth Fall Festival — Duluth, GA
One of the biggest fall festivals in the entire Southeast, the Duluth Fall Festival is a town-wide celebration complete with concerts, carnival rides, parades, lots of shopping, and local fare. As a charity event, all proceeds go towards improving and beautifying Historic Downtown Duluth.
September 24-26, 2021: Festival In The Park — Charlotte, NC
Festival in the Park has been serving up great music, unique art, and good times to Charlotteans and visitors since 1964. Float through Freedom Park and around the iconic lake to visit the huge variety of exhibit tents, taste some of Charlotte’s best food, and enjoy Big Band tunes. While the kids get their faces painted, visit talented artists for custom and original art and handmade wares including furnishings, accessories, and clothing of all kinds.
September 23-26, 2021: Food That Rocks — Sandy Springs, GA
Put on by Taste of Atlanta, the 6th Annual Food That Rocks festival is a fabulous tasting event with a purpose. Your “all-inclusive” ticket lets you experience Sandy Springs’ best bites, wine, beer, and cocktails, with a backdrop of live music. This year, a portion of ticket sales provides free tickets for Sandy Springs’ frontline healthcare and public safety workers.
October 1-3, 2021: Mempho Music Festival — Memphis, TN
The fourth installment of Mempho Music Festival returns to the beautiful Memphis Botanic Garden with a packed lineup featuring legendary jam-band Widespread Panic, Americana favorite The Avett Brothers, as well as Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Black Pumas, Lucinda Williams, Julien Baker, Waxahatchee, and many more.
October 1-3, 2021: Gasparilla Music Festal — Tampa, FL
The Gasparilla Music Foundation organizes this fabulous annual music festival in Downtown Tampa to support music education throughout its Recycled Tunes program. This year’s lineup features huge acts like Nas, Sylvan Esso, Sofi Tukker, and Gov’t Mule … plus cuisine from the region’s top restaurants.
October 2-3, 2021: ShoalsFest — Florence, AL
Jason Isbell’s ShoalsFest returns to northwest Alabama for its second year. This rockstar organizer’s band, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, will join a packed lineup of world-class artists with ties to the Muscle Shoals area like Lucinda Williams, Amanda Shires, Drive-By Truckers, and more.
October 8-10, 2021: Fall For Greenville — Greenville, SC
Fall For Greenville is the biggest culinary experience in the Upstate and just one of the reasons you need to visit Greenville this season. More than 50 restaurants will whip up 250+ menu items to taste during the three-day event, while 75 bands will play across six stages. Even if you come for the food, you’ll want to stay for libations, music, competitions, kids’ events, and cooking demonstrations.
October 8 & 9, 2021: Wire & Wood Alpharetta Music Festival — Alpharetta, GA
This free music festival — celebrating its 8th year — will showcase more than thirty performances by singer-songwriters on more than six outdoor stages throughout the Downtown Alpharetta area! This year’s festival will feature headliners Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and Ruthie Foster.
October 8-10, 2021: Fall Tennessee Craft Fair — Nashville, TN
Join the Nashville tradition of celebrating and supporting American handmade crafts at this beloved event on the expansive lawn of Centennial Park. Shop finely crafted, one-of-a-kind art and crafts directly from the juried, award-winning artists. While shopping, you can meet the artists (who are required to be on-site!), and learn about their inspirations and processes.
October 15-17, 2021: Natchez Balloon Festival — Natchez, MS
Since 1986, the Natchez Balloon Festival has filled historic downtown Natchez with hot-air balloons, local live music, and dozens of art and food vendors. Crowds flock to Southwest Mississippi and to the verdant grounds of the columned mansion Rosalie to enjoy the stunning visuals in the skies and streets of Natchez.
October 16 & 17, 2021: NC Oyster Festival — Ocean Isle Beach, NC
October marks the start of oyster season in North Carolina and the return of the beloved NC Oyster Festival (it’s 40th anniversary!). This long-standing tradition celebrates all-things oysters in Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Enter the oyster shucking contest and enjoy culinary delights from local restaurants, arts and craft vendors, and live music.
October 16-24, 2021: Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival — Bluffton, SC
Held in their charming and eclectic historic cultural district, Bluffton’s Arts & Seafood Festival is a week-long series of events beginning with the fabulous Bluffton State of Mind Supper Soiree and culminating with the highlight of the festival, Street Fest. Myriad activities will showcase the area’s locally harvested seafood, delicious Lowcountry cuisine, rich history and arts, and Southern hospitality found only in Bluffton.
October 16-17 and 23-24: Boo At The Zoo — Asheboro, NC
Boo at the (incredibly impressive North Carolina) Zoo is an outdoor, COVID-safe alternative for daytime Halloween celebrations. Guests will journey through the outdoor event on the Zoo’s pathways. Families that pay for a Boo wristband can enjoy socially distanced trick-or-treating at stations along the pathways of Africa, as well as live music, Pumpkin Palooza, Spooky Treehouse, seasonal photo ops, and more.
October 22-24, 2021: Shaky Knees Music Festival — Atlanta, GA
With more than 60 bands on the multi-stage lineup, Shaky Knees is a rock lover’s dream that boasts a diverse lineup of both chart-topping acts and up-and-coming artists. Expect other on-site activations, a serious food lineup, fun photo booths, official festival merch, and screen prints of your favorite bands. Stevie Nicks, Run The Jewels, The Strokes, St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, Portugal. The Man, and more will headline.
November 4-15, 2021: Pensacola Foo Foo Festival — Pensacola, FL
Pensacola’s Foo Foo Festival is a massive 12-day cultural celebration offering a wide variety of events from 3D digital art displays and live musical performances to culinary festivals, and even a half marathon! Foo Foo is truly a lineup of festivals within a festival! Be sure to check out the Foo Foo website for a full lineup of their offerings.
November 4-7, 2021: Harvest Wine & Food Festival — Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Harvest Wine & Food Festival is back this November in WaterColor for four days of excellence aimed towards both epicurean enthusiasts and wine lovers alike. Rated as one of the premier wine and food festivals in the Southeast, this year’s Harvest features wine dinners, the return of their famous Grand Tasting, and many chances to sip and savor some of the world’s finest wine and culinary selections.
November 5-6, 2021: Muscle Shoals Songwriters Festival — Florence, AL
Billed as what is soon to be the biggest festival of its kind in the South, the second annual Muscle Shoals Songwriters Festival promises to be an unforgettable experience for music lovers. The lineup is jam-packed with more than 90 talented songwriters, including big names like Florence, AL native John Paul White and country music hitmaker Walker Hayes. Visit their website for ticketing info. (As of September 16th, early bird tickets are already on sale!)
November 5-7, 2021: World Food Championships — Dallas, TX
One of the most anticipated events in the food sport industry returns this November at its new location of Fair Park in Dallas, TX. Expect more than 20 tasting experiences and award-winning VIP tastings at what ABC News has called the “Olympics of Food.” This five-day throwdown and Flavor Fest includes many attractions for foodie attendees while also hosting more than 1,500 cooks — from celebrity chefs to pro teams to home cooks.
November 5 & 6, 2021: North Carolina Pecan Festival — Whiteville, NC
People go NUTS for this celebration and harvest of the area’s cash crop that produces up to 5 million pounds of pecans annually. Aside from pecans galore and the Columbus Cooks Pecan Cooking Contest, enjoy the downtown parade, live entertainment, a queen’s luncheon, tour of area homes, and a classic car show.
November 6, 2021: Johns Island Harvest Festival — Johns Island, SC
Anyone in the Charleston area should head out to Johns Island County Park for their fabulous harvest festival complete with foot-stompin’ live bluegrass music, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, archery, and more. Feast on Southern delicacies like Carolina BBQ and all of your beloved fair foods. You can also get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping at the dozens of local craft vendors.
November 7, 2021: Vineyard Fest at Chateau Elan — Braselton, GA
Chateau Elan Winery and Resort’s annual Vineyard Fest has been a sell-out event for the past two decades for good reason. This year’s festival theme, “Bon Voyage,” allows attendees to “travel internationally” tasting culinary and wine delights from across the globe. Come stay the night or day-trip to this fabulous venue to sample more than 150 varieties of wine, regional craft brews, spirits from local distilleries, and more!
Here’s to fall, y’all!
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