AVLFest Reignites Asheville’s Passion for Music, Arts, and Connection

Kerry Lengyel


This August, the city of Asheville became the backdrop for a celebration of art, live music, and community spirit. Many locals remember the thrill of Bele Chere, a three-day music and arts festival that happened every year in Asheville between 1979-2013. Its untimely ending was met with sadness from the local community and small business owners. But luckily, AVLFest has kicked off for the first time this year in an attempt to bring a local music festival back onto the scene.

The AVLFest music and arts celebration was held from August 3-6, 2023. The four-day music festival was organized by Wicked Weed Brewing, a popular Asheville brewery, and Worthwhile Sounds, a talent buyer for several Asheville music venues. Working alongside the many music venues in Asheville, the organizers created a festival complete with an unforgettable blend of melodies and creativity.

AVLFest offered wristbands that granted attendees access to over 100 shows across more than 20 concert halls, clubs, and outdoor venues, ensuring guests didn’t miss a beat throughout the four-day extravaganza. The digital festival pass was exchanged for a wristband upon arrival. Patrons frequented stellar music venues like The Orange Peel, The Grey Eagle, and Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, as well as smaller breweries and businesses like Fleetwood’s, French Broad River Brewery, and Great Wild Nowhere

Beyond the music, these wristbands came with exciting perks, including discounts at local businesses, retailers, and restaurants, making it an excellent opportunity to support the community.

And you couldn’t beat the AVLFest lineup of talented artists across multiple genres. From local gems, like Hustle Souls and Empire Strikes Brass, to regional favorites, like Daikaiju and Dangermuffin, and national sensations, like Kurt Vile & The Violators and Watchhouse, each stage was set for an incredible musical journey. Some more prominent names required a separate ticket, with at least 50% discounts for wristband holders while supplies last. View the entire past music lineup on the AVLFest website.

Shuttle services were also available to take pass holders from show to show all weekend long. The organizers worked directly with the Asheville Police Department on a security plan for the weekend.

For those who planned on traveling to the area for the event, several Asheville hotels had AVLFest pass-holder room blocks, like the Country Inn & Suites in the River Arts District, Cambria in downtown Asheville, and Haywood Park Hotel in downtown Asheville. 

In the spirit of giving back, AVLFest also donated a part of ticket sales to local nonprofits, like RiverLink, Black Wall Street AVL, Homeward Bound, and Campaign for Southern Equality.

For those planning to attend this event in future years, we recommend teaming up with your group and creating a game plan for the weekend. Build your itinerary with help from their complete schedule of events. Purchase a small and easy-to-transport bag or fanny pack for all your music festival essentials, like sunscreen, bug spray, bandaids, etc. (Make sure to check each venue’s bag policy beforehand!) 

And, most importantly, plan your meals in between music sets! Asheville isn’t just known for musical talent, but its talent with various cuisines. Check out our A Look at Asheville directory for the perfect restaurants for your music-filled weekend in the 828.