Charleston Music Festivals: The Full Lineup

The Woodlands Music & Arts Festival. Photo: Caroline Bell

In the past, Charleston, SC had been known for a lot of things, but never really for its music festivals. That has changed in recent years with the city’s rapid growth in population, and an increased local interest in music thanks in part to the bolstering of Charleston’s music scene. This has spurred a big uptick in music festivals in Charleston, both large-scale and local-scale, and we decided that the time has come to put them all in one place.

This article will include information and thoughts about all the music festivals in Charleston, SC that we deem relevant enough to write about. They’re listed out in order from large to small, in terms of attendance, popularity, and longevity. Our only criteria is that the festival has to take place in Charleston or the surrounding area, and it has to be an annual music festival that has already happened at least once.

You’ll find information like lineup, venue info, and the background and context of each festival and its organizers. We’ll also toss in links to coverage that Extra Chill has done of each festival, in case you wanted to go a little bit deeper.

Jump to a Festival

High Water Festival

shovels and rope live high water festival 2019
Shovels & Rope at High Water Festival 2019. Photo: Scarlet Bucket

High Water Festival was started in 2017 by Charleston Americana duo Shovels & Rope in conjunction with AC Entertainment, and is the largest music festival in Charleston. Since Shovels & Rope curate the lineup each year, it has a strong folk and roots lean, which works well in a city like Charleston. High Water also makes it a point to book a few local bands per year. The lineup is spread across two stages nestled into a scenic park right off the Cooper River.

The event has sold out every year of its existence thus far, and looks to be on track for another sellout with the 2020 lineup being the best one yet.

Venue: Riverfront Park

Camping: No

High Water 2020

Lineup: Wilco, Nathaniel Rateliff, Brittany Howard, Shovels & Rope, Mavis Staples, Andrew Bird, Drive-By Truckers, Rufus Wainwright, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Delta Spirit, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Wilder Woods, Liz Cooper & The Stampede, Strand Of Oaks, The Felice Brothers, Shannon & the Clams, Seratones, Cedric Burnside, Indianola, Palm Palm, She Returns From War

Date: April 18th – 19th

Tickets: highwaterfest.com

High Water 2019

Lineup: Leon Bridges, The Head & The Heart, Shovels & Rope, Lord Huron, Dr. Dog, Jenny Lewis, Mitski, Phosphorescent, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The War & Treaty, Durand Jones & The Indications, Butch Walker, Blitzen Trapper, Ranky Tanky, Hayes Carll, The Secret Sisters, Shrimp Records Family Band, Lera Lynn, Lilly Hiatt, Michael Nau, Thelma & The Sleeze

Date: April 13th – 14th

High Water Festival 2019 (Photos)

High Water 2018

Lineup: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Band of Horses, Shovels & Rope, Brandi Carlile, Jeff Tweedy, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Shakey Graves, M. Ward, SUSTO, Hamilton Leithauser, Valerie June, Tank & The Bangas, Old 97’s, Nicole Atkins, Shrimp Records Family Band, Ian Felice, The Wild Reeds, Joshua Hedley, T. Hardy Morris, Weaves, The High Divers

Date: April 21st – 22nd

High Water 2017

Lineup: The Avett Brothers, The Shins, Shovels & Rope, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Dawes, Jump, Little Children, Lucius, Margo Price, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Julen Baker, The Suffers, Shrimp Records Family Band, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Slow Runner, Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Deslondes, Caroline Rose, Indianola, Arum Rae

Date: April 22nd – 23rd

The Woodlands Music & Arts Festival

Umphreys McGee at The Woodlands Festival 2019. Photo: Caroline Bell

The Woodlands Music & Arts Festival was a newcomer to the Charleston festival scene in 2019, but with headliner and co-host Umphrey’s McGee alongside a strong lineup of jam and funk artists like Big Something and Sunsquabi, plus locals like Runaway Gin and Justin Osborne from SUSTO, it was destined for success. That’s without considering the beautiful venue, which was the Woodlands Nature Reserve, a 6000-acre property deep in the scene part of West Ashley. The festival was big hit in its first year, and is expected to return in 2020.

Venue: Woodlands Nature Reserve

Camping: Yes

Woodlands Festival 2019

Lineup: Umphrey’s McGee (x2), Big Something, CBDB, Empire Strikes Brass, Heather Gillis Band, Manic Focus, Runaway Gin, Spafford, Sunsquabi, The Movement, The New Deal (x2), Voodoo Visionary, Zach Deputy, Turkuaz, Omega Moos, Cherub (Late Night), Justin Osborne, Doom Flamingo

Date: November 8th – 9th

The Woodlands Festival 2019 (Photos + Recap)

Trondossa Music & Arts Festival

Widespread Panic at Trondossa 2019.

Trondossa is another music festival to capitalize on the strong jam community here in Charleston, and has featured two nights of Widespread Panic for every year of its existence. In additon to WSMFP, who are notorious for bringing out the most raucous of the jam scene, Trondossa books a few other acts, some of which make sense, and others which truly don’t. Then you realize that Live Nation is using the guaranteed draw of Widespread Panic to plug a few artists with an open date, and it makes a bit more sense.

Venue: Riverfront Park

Camping: No

Trondossa 2020

Lineup: Widespread Panic (x2), Yola, Billy Strings, The Record Company, Samantha Fish, The Nude Party, Black Pumas

Date: May 16th – 17th

Tickets: trondossa.com/tickets

Trondossa 2019

Lineup: Widespread Panic (x2), Umphrey’s McGee (x2), The Wood Brothers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Marcus King Band, Caroline Rose, Josh Roberts & The Hinges (x2), The Reckoning (x2), Sol Driven Train (x2), Schema (x2), ROBOTRIO, She Returns From War

Date: April 27th – 28th

Trondossa 2018

Lineup: Widespread Panic (x2), Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Moon Taxi, Big Something, Hiss Golden Messenger

Date: May 5th – 6th

Charleston Bluegrass Festival

Photo: Keith Grybowski

The Charleston Bluegrass Festival is one of the longest-running music festivals in Charleston, started by the beloved local venue, production company, and all-around friend of the music scene, Awendaw Green. The festival made its debut in 2012, and continued in 2013 but afterwards stopped until 2017, with a new venue and a 105.5 The Bridge partnership.

2020 brings a whole new level of Charleston Bluegrass Festival thanks to a partnership with Friends With Benefits Productions, the company behind The Woodlands Festival, with more star power on the lineup and a more business-oriented approach that has put the music festival on the regional radar as opposed to just the local one.

Camping: Yes

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2020

Lineup: Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush Band, Town Mountain, Ghost Light, Cris Jacobs, Larry Keel Experience, John Stickley Trio, Circus No. 9, and more

Venue: Woodlands Nature Reserve

Date: March 20th – 21st

Tickets: charlestonbluegrassfestival.com/tickets

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2019

Lineup: Chatham County Line, Town Mountain, Jon Stickley Trio, Circus No. 9, The Dirty Grass Players, West King String Band, Ol’55s, Rachel Baiman, Sam Burchfield, Pierce Edens, Robert Mabe, Sally & George and Escaping Pavement

Venue: Charleston Woodlands

Date: March 29th – 30th

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2018

Lineup: Town Mountain, Luke Bulla, The Hungry Monks, Sally & George, The Wooks, Jenni Lyn, Square Dance, Southbound 17, Lover’s Leap, River Boy, Red Cedar Review, Bluegrass Gadgets, The Lowhills, Fox Pond Baker, Violet Bell, The Wildmans, Yeehaw Junction, Southern Flavor Bluegrass, West King String Band, Marshgrass Mamas, The Pluff Mud String Band, Triangle Bluegrass, Pinkerton and the Brinks, Ware Shoals Boys

Venue: Seewee Outpost

Date: March 30th – 31st

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2017

Lineup: Band of Ruhks, The Barefoot Movement, The Grass is Dead, Forlorn Strangers, Dallas Baker & Friends, Flatt City, Fireside Collective, Violet Bell, Red Cedar Review, Southbound 17, The Bushels, Triangle Bluegrass, Steady Hand String Band, Pinkerton and the Brinks, Daniel Patrick, Cane Creek String Band, Yeehaw Junction, Pluff Mud String Band, The Black Iron Gathering, River Boy, Sauratown

Venue: Middleton Place Woodlands

Date: April 7th – 8th

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2017 Recap

Interview with Forlorn Strangers

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2013

Lineup: Town Mountain w/ Jim Lauderdale, Blue Billy Grit, The Corduroy Road, The Bushels, Packaway Handle Band, Underhill Rose, Great Smoky Mountain Bluegrass Band, The Empty Bottle String Band, Cranford and Sons, Seven Handle Circus, Justin Johnson, Island Girls

Venue: Seewee Outpost

Date: April 5th – 6th

Charleston Bluegrass Festival 2012

Lineup: Town Mountain, The Mosier Brothers, Angel Snow, Bluebilly Grit, The Corduroy Road, The Bad Popes, Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work, Gravel Road Acoustic Trio, L Shape Lot, Underhill Rose, Guilt Ridden Troubadour with Mac Leaphart, Whoa Nelly, SC Broadcasters, Jordan Igoe and Friends, Hit or Miss

Date: April 6th – 7th

Venue: Seewee Outpost

Skinful Halloween

Skinful Halloween was Charleston’s most absurd Halloween party for 13 years, from 2001 to 2013. The 2013 installment of the event was a logistical mess, as the venue changed several times, and after that year the organizers decided to take a hiatus to regroup. Well, Skinful Halloween did not return in 2015, or utter another public word until a surprise announcement that came in the Summer of 2019, that Skinful Halloween would return again, and perhaps this time to stay. The 2019 Skinful Halloween was successful, but there has been no official word of a return in 2020 as of now.

Skinful Halloween 2019

Lineup: Method Man + Special Guests, Redman, Mix Master Mike, DJ Qbert, The Dubplates, DJ Logic, Channel Zektar, Sexbruise?, Sally & George, Ben Fagan, Illa Zilla, DJ Trail Mix & Woodgrain

Camping: Yes

Venue: Charleston Woodlands

Date: October 26th

Skinful Halloween 2013

Lineup: Flavor Flav, Ozomatli, Dirt Nasty, Blowfly, Cee Know the Doodle Bug of the Digable Planets, and the Dubplates featuring Zumjay

Camping: No

Venue: Brick House Kitchen

Date: October 26th

Skinful Halloween 2012

Lineup: DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, Cut Chemist & Chali2na of Jurassic Five, Dumpstaphunk, The Dubplates, DJ Logic, Wadata, Cousin Dan, Shonuff, The Royal Tinfoil, Whiskey Diablo, The Holy City Hooligans, DJ Moo Moo, DJ Jake B, DJ Jude, DJ Trailmix, DJ Woodgrain, DJ Tony Roach

Venue: Brick House Kitchen

Camping: No

Date: October 27th

Skinful Halloween 2011

Lineup: Mix Master Mike, Too $hort, Dub Island and the Dubplates, Tanya Stephens, Key of Q, New Birth Brass Band, Entropy Ensemble, Sol Driven Train, DJ Moo Moo, DJ Natty Heavy, Ancient Intelligence, DJ Jake B, Disco Demolition Knights, Derek and the Derelicts, Red Super Giant, Captain Blackout, Weigh Station, Zumjay

Venue: Brick House Kitchen

Camping: No

Date: October 22nd

Skinful Halloween 2010

Lineup: Third World, Rebirth Brass Band, Mini Kiss, Pimps of Joytime, Dub Island & The Dubplates, Sol Driven Train, Key of Q, Gaslight Street With Rusty Trombone, Torture Town, Mission Hill, Son of a Bad Man, The Spaced Invaders, M.O. Theory, Son of Cane, DJ’s: Jude, James Belk, Trail-Mix, Jake B, Rocky Horror & More, Roller Derby Girls, Burlesque Pole Dancing Troupe, Inner Circus

Venue: Brick House Kitchen

Camping: No

Date: October 23rd

Skinful Halloween 2009

Lineup: Dumpstaphunk, Skerik See-I (of Theivery Corp), Dub Island, The Shane Pruitt Band, Key of Q, DJ Jake B, M.O. Theory, Spaced Invaders, DJ Jude, Middle

Venue: Old Navy Yard

Camping: No

Date: October 24th

Into The Woods Music Festival

Andy Frasco & The UN at Into The Woods 2019. Photo: Caroline Bell

In 2019, the Charleston Pour House introduced its very own music festival called Into The Woods. The festival featured a lineup of bands that were hand-picked by the Pour House, and most of the artists on the lineup had played the venue several times in the past. The bookings were a healthy blend of local and national, and by all accounts it was a tight-knit crowd made up of the Pour House family. It’s not been made clear whether or not the festival will return in 2020, but we do hope that it will so it was included in this article.

Venue: Charleston Woodlands

Camping: Yes

Into The Woods 2019

Lineup: Leftover Salmon (x2), John Medeski’s Mad Skillet, Doom Flamingo, Andy Frasco & The UN (x2), The Fritz (x2), Funk You (x2), Kitchen Dwellers (x2), Sol Driven Train (x2), Travers Brothership, Electric Kif, Kozelski, Schema (x2), The Reckoning (playing Workingman’s Dead), Rev. Jeff Mosier (x2), Easy Honey, The Motown Throwdown Plays JGB, The Acid Test, Peaches For Peace

Date: October 4th – 6th

Charleston Pour House Hosts Inaugural Into The Woods Music Festival (Photos + Recap)

98 Rockfest

98 Rockfest 2018

Organized by Charleston rock radio station, 98 Rock, the annual 98 Rockfest is another one of Charleston’s longest-running music festivals. The festival has been in place at Ladson Fairgrounds since 2011, happening every April except for in 2014. The lineup is always heavier modern rock and metal bands.

Venue: Exchange Park at Ladson Fairgrounds

Camping: No

98 Rockfest 2019

Lineup: P.O.D., Pop Evil, Rival Sons, Underoath and Halestorm

Date: April 12th

98 Rockfest 2018

Lineup: Three Days Grace, Seether, Starset, Fozzy, 10 Years

Date: April 22nd

98 Rockfest 2017

Lineup: A Day To Remember, Issues, Red Sun Rising, Crown the Empire, Gemini Syndrome, Avatar, GLAMNATION, Art of Anarchy, Otherwise, Like a Storm, Stitched Up Heart, Aeges, 9Electric

Date: April 30th

98 Rockfest 2016

Lineup: Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Killswitch Engage, Lita Ford, cilver, Dorothy, Fit For Rivals

Date: April 24th

98 Rockfest 2015

Lineup: Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, HellYeah, NonPoint, Sleepwave

Date: April 26th

98 Rockfest 2013

Lineup: Stone Sour, Bullet For My Valentine, Halestorm, In This Moment, Young Guns, Otherwise, Surrender The Fall, Gemini Syndrome

Date: April 28th

98 Rockfest 2012

Lineup: Sevendust, Halestorm, Lacuna Coil, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Otherwise, Madam Adam, Art Of Dying, Soulicit, Superbob, Soul’s Harbor

Date: April 27th

98 Rockfest 2011

Lineup: Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, Skillet, Halestorm, Art of Dying, Madam Adam

Date: April 3rd

Cultura Festival

Jah Jr. at Cultura Festival 2019. Photo: Alex Wiley

Cultura Festival made waves in 2019 as the first music festival in Charleston to feature a lineup of entirely black artists. Curated by Charlston hip-hop artist Matt Monday, the event seeks to showcase the wide range of talent present in Charleston’s black community, across many different genres, for one big festival. Cultura takes place in the parking lot at The Royal American, on a large stage brought in specially for this event. It will return for a second installment in 2020.

Venue: The Royal American

Camping: No

Cultura 2019

Lineup: Matt Monday, Shaniqua McCants, Contour, Abstract – That Rapper, Slim Soul, Benny Starr, Niecy Blues, Jah Jr., Anfernee, Nory and DJ Scrib

Date: April 20th

Cultura Festival 2019 (Photos)

Contour’s Khari Lucas Shares His Creative Voice

Dirty Southeast Music Festival

Hosted by Pabst Blue Ribbon, Dirty Southeast is a free music festival in Charleston that started back in 2016. For the first three years, the festival was a weeklong event, with a different show at a different venue every night. In 2019, Pabst decided to consolidate the event to one day and scale up the production. The event seeks to promote the diversity present in the Charleston musical and arts community, and of course to promote PBR, which is extremely popular in Charleston’s dive bars.

Camping: No

Dirty Southeast 2019

Lineup: Benny Starr, Niecy Blues, The Royal Tinfoil, Drunk Couples, BKiddo, Abstract – That Rapper, Chew

Venue: Redux Contemporary Art Center

Date: April 27th

PBR’s Free Dirty Southest Festival is About Giving Back to the Community

Dirty Southeast 2018

Lineup: Crazy Town, Davey Suicide, Loaded Guns, Riot Stares, Black Power Mixtape, Vacation State / The Royal Tinfoil / Derpot, Old 52, Harry Chronic Jr. / Modern Fires, Hearts on Fire, Vorhees / Secret Guest, Matt Monday / Zion I, Lespecial, Terraphonics / Cusses, Drunk Couples

Venues: The Purple Buffalo / Recovery Room / Burns Alley / The Sparrow / Tin Roof / Charleston Pour House / Recovery Room

Date: March 5th – 13th

Dirty Southeast 2017

Lineup: The Voodoo Glow Skulls, The 33s, The Madd Hatters, Hearts on Fire / Dumb Doctors, Lipschitz, Townhouse, See-Through Dresses / Don Merkle & The Blacksmiths / Black Power Mixtape, Hubris, Madam Adam / See Water / Secret Guest, Drag Sounds / Abacus, Florida Man, Witches & Children / Godwin Falcon

Venues: Charleston Pour House / Local 616 / The Mill / The Sparrow / The Purple Buffalo / Tin Roof / Burns Alley / Recovery Room

Date: March 14th – 21st

Dirty Southeast 2016

Lineup: Guttermouth, The Cryptics, Fujiwara, Hot Charlie, DJ Tuff Girl / Screaming J’s / Drunk Couples, Long Live The Goat, Breakin Skullz / Godwin Falcon / Matadero / Capsula / The Goddamn Gallows, The Defilers

Venues: The Sparrow / Chico Feo / The Mill / Recovery Room / Local 616 / Tin Roof

Date: March 4th – 10th

Extra Chill Fest

Secret Guest at Extra Chill Fest 2019. Photo: Taylor Hickman

Last but not least, we have Extra Chill Fest, our very own annual music festival. Extra Chill Fest is focused showcasing the South Carolina music scene through booking a diverse and somewhat quirky lineup that has a little bit of everything that South Carolina has to offer. Extra Chill Fest made its debut in 2018 and expanded to two nights in 2019, and we’re currently in the process of planning Extra Chill Fest 2020, so stay tuned.

Camping: No

Extra Chill Fest 2019

Lineup: Keon Masters, Secret Guest, Gardeners, Jah Jr., Motel Glory, Darby Wilcox & The Peep Show, Ivory Keys, Dead Swells

Venue: The Royal American

Date: November 8th – 9th

Extra Chill Fest 2019 (Photos + Recap)

Extra Chill Fest 2018

Lineup: Human Resources, Whitehall, Walter Brown, Niecy Blues, Daddy’s Beemer, Tape Waves, Tom Angst, Sunny Malin, Dakota O, Abstract – That Rapper, Alarm Drum, Chris Wilcox & The Boys

Venue: The Purple Buffalo

Date: September 8th

Extra Chill Fest 2018 (Photos)

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