ASHEVILLE, NC – This year’s Bele Chere will certainly set a different tone than it has in recent memory. Over the years, the festival has grown beyond expectation, with some unforeseen consequences. Big name bands had headlined multiple stages with 25 dollar tickets, and last year the entertainment budget was nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Though the money was still pouring into downtown, Bele Chere had lost something that had made it unique to Asheville.
This year’s festivities will include fewer performers, shorter hours, and a greater emphasis on local bands and music. Despite the reductions, there are benefits to the truncated entertainment; it’s free. Not to mention, the budget will be less than half of what it was in 2008.
In an effort to redefine the festival, Asheville Parks and Recreation will be including 43 acts compared with last year’s 57. With a focus on local bands, including names like The Afromotive, Balsam Range, Sons of Ralph and David Holt and the Lightning Bolts, it would appear that the city is returning to the original mission of Bele Chere which was to promote local art and business. The festival will also be shutting down earlier, at 10 p.m., in an effort to coerce the crowds into downtown bars and restaurants.
The main stage on Lexington Ave. will become a drum circle. Two food courts will be set up. One at Pritchard Park and the Taste of Asheville will be setup around the Vance monument. The children’s area will be located in the Civic Center along the Senior’s Oasis in an effort to provide an air conditioned venue as well.
The line up is as follows:
Winner of the Last Band Standing contest, Nikki Talley, The Dirty Guv’nahs, Tennessee Hollow, The Afromotive, The Hip Abduction, Stephaniesid, The Two Man Gentlemen Band, Bull’s Gap
Headliners – Cracker, Freekbass, Dar Williams
Bayou Diesel, Hot Politics, Christabel & the Jons, Laura Blackley Band
Fusebox Funk, Charles Sayles, Highly Kind, Ras Allen, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues, WSNB, GFE, Sons of Ralph, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Delta Moon, Drew Holcombe & the Neighbors, David Holt & the Lightning Bolts.
Headliners – Colt Ford, Old 97’s.
Carolina Gator Gumbo, Skinny Legs & All, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Marsupials. Orleans, Webb Wilder & the Beatnecks, Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, Chuck Brodsky.