After more than a year without live music and events, Wilmington is ready to rock again this fall with concerts, festivals and other events that have been a trademark of the destination for decades. With so many exciting and varied events to choose from and a new riverfront amphitheater, a getaway here will certainly prove to be much more than just a typical coastal vacation.

Keep reading to discover live music, local events and more to explore on a getaway to Wilmington:

Signature Festivals

Grab the family for some outdoor all-ages fun with fairs, festivals and celebrations. 

For years, film enthusiasts have flocked to the Cucalorus Festival, one of the largest American film festivals in the South and recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” for three years in a row, most recently nabbing a spot on the 2021 list. This year, the festival comes to town from Nov. 10-14. Known for hosting it in Wilmington’s gorgeous riverside setting and its laid-back, rock n' roll atmosphere, this non-competitive festival showcases more than 150 worldwide films, a diverse selection of stage performances (bold, original productions in dance, music, comedy and theater) and over 50 Connect Conference events, a conversation series using film as a catalyst for discussion about race and the relationship between storytelling and action.


Sip Something Different

Whether you’re a craft beer connoisseur or just looking to try something new, Wilmington offers three upcoming festivals that are sure to please your palate. The Voracious Rare Beer Festival on Oct. 29 is the perfect event for those who are always searching for the latest and greatest beer. Try the private reserves of 50 of your favorite breweries featuring unique limited release beers you've never had (and some you've never heard of) at the new Riverfront Park, complete with light appetizers, live music and brewers on hand to answer all of your questions. 


Explore the world of hops, grapes and grain at the Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival featuring over 300 beers and 100 wines. Live music, food vendors and the view of the river create a lively atmosphere for you to discover your next favorite beer or wine. Check it out on Oct. 30.


Or, get ready for a day full of beer, bourbon, barbeque and live music at the aptly named Beer, Bourbon & Barbeque Festival on Nov. 13 in Historic Downtown Wilmington.


Art Abounds

Discover arts and culture as you stroll the picturesque streets of historic downtown Wilmington. From Sept. 4-5, check out exhibits and works of art of all mediums, from oil and watercolor paintings to pottery, jewelry, wood, glass and paper creations at Wilmington’s largest downtown art festival, the 25th Annual Orange Street ArtsFest. Old-fashioned fair food, live music, and a beer and wine tent make this a must-attend event.


During the 5th Annual American Craft Walk on Sept. 25, the streets of historic downtown are filled with colorful works of art during Wilmington’s largest outdoor art show and sale. Peruse the creative works of all mediums and pick up some one-of-a-kind local pieces from over 80 talented artists.


Live Music

Music lovers, rejoice! Wilmington hosts plenty of live music throughout the year that is sure to excite visitors of all ages and tastes. Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, a new, state-of-the-art riverside outdoor amphitheater, will be hosting a busy lineup of big-name bands and performers this fall, such as Glass Animals on Sept. 5, Santana on Sept. 15, Counting Crows on Sept. 29 and Brett Eldredge on Oct. 14.


For some smooth jazz tunes, check out the Jazz Series at the Mansion. Held on the beautiful grounds of the historic Bellamy Mansion, this concert series allows you to bring the whole family to relax on blankets and chairs and enjoy your favorite snacks as you let the music carry you away. Don’t miss these special evenings on Sept. 9 and Oct. 14.


Steps From the Stage

Some of the best theaters and performance centers are all within reach in Wilmington. Catch a show at the historic Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts or The Wilson Center and enjoy the talent that abounds there. Live theater shows like “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Let the Right One In” are showing Oct. 1-10 and Oct. 21-31, respectively, at Thalian Hall. See “Million Dollar Quartet,” the smash-hit musical, on Oct. 27, and Beethoven featuring Molly Hines on Nov. 21 at The Wilson Center.


Watching grand fireworks displays, tasting new beer from local breweries, experiencing a musical with talented performers – you can find a variety of entertainment in this coastal destination! What are you waiting for?