Shakori Hills: A Celebration of Art, Music and Life

PC: Wilson Haworth

Krysten Heberly

With the cracking of lightning, a crowd gathered in Pittsboro, North Carolina, screaming for an encore. Sheltered from the rain, the crowd packed like sardines in the Cabaret Tent, as Rebekah Todd brought the thunder with every powerful chord and haunting vocal riff. Shakori Hills was underway, and was not to be rivaled by a little weather.

Shakori Hills is a bi-annual festival of music and arts, held in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The festival hosts artists, dance workshops, food trucks and a variety of different kinds of music from Zydeco to Bluegrass. This year, the festival really outdid itself with musical acts, with bands ranging from local favorite, Dr. Bacon, to ‘A Star is Born’ singer-songwriter, Lukas Nelson.

Some of the other draws of this year’s festival included poetry slams, dance workshops, yoga classes and a parade which swept through the grounds on Saturday afternoon. The parade is always one of the most exciting events on Saturday, with the swingin’ New Orlean’s style tunes provided by the Bulltown Strutters, who always get the crowd – young and old – shaking their hips along to the sweet sounds of ‘Down by the Riverside’.

Per usual, the Carolinian also sampled much of the food at this year’s Shakori Hills – for journalistic purposes of course. From the warm and savory curries provided by Kerala Curry, to the sweet and comforting donuts provided by Yee Haw Donuts, Shakori Hills never disappoints with their wide variety of tasty eats. Yet, this year, the two best options were the delicious and nutritious bowls from newcomer Goatacado, and once again, the unbelievable tots from American Meltdown. The tots also happened to be some of the best drinking food I may ever eat, but you didn’t hear it from me.

PC: Krysten Heberly

This year’s music was excellent as well, with many of the acts providing great beats to dance to. From the cool California sounds of Local Flora, to the bass-slapping infectious rhythms of Funkadelic, to the sweet Americana sounds of Blue Cactus, it was the perfect mix of music to keep a crowd dancing barefoot in the wet clay, without the variety of tunes ever losing their intrigue.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, the threat of storms attempted to put a damper on this year’s Shakori Hills. As lightning and thunder reigned through the grounds, some folks went back to their cars for a dry-night-in, while many more crowded into the dance and Cabaret tents, screaming, “Is that all you’ve got?” to the ominous clouds above. It was all a testament to the real spirit of Shakori Hills – a deep reverence for life, and a commitment to making every moment count.

It is this spirit that really brings the draw to Shakori Hills. From the beekeepers out front who offer samples of honey and a chance to interact with Earth’s favorite pollinators, to the kind woman handing out flower crowns to anyone who wanted to talk with her, Shakori Hills is a celebration of life. It’s a place to dance, sing, laugh and to experience all of the things that really make life worth living, no matter what that is for you.

If you are interested in experiencing Shakori Hills, the next festival will take place on October 3-6. You can also read more of The Carolinian’s coverage of past Shakori’s at our website,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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