French Broad River Festival

by Kristy Ambrose

The French Broad River Music Festival takes place once a year in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The event revolves around camping and live music, but also includes other activities. The dates of the events are typically scheduled on the last weekend of April or the first weekend of May. The festival has been running since 1997 and is a major source of revenue for many local and regional charities.

Music and Entertainment

Diversions at the French Broad River Festival include food stalls, a variety of vendors selling souvenirs and clothing, sporting events and live music. Musical styles range from the offerings of disc jockeys to more traditional genres like bluegrass, folk and rock. The 2011 event was equipped with two stages that were in operation for two days, starting on Friday afternoon and ending early Sunday morning. Nightly shows ran until 1 a.m.

Camping and Other Accommodations

The campgrounds of the French Broad River Festival are equipped to accommodate recreational vehicles and virtually any kind of tent. There are other campgrounds nearby, not all of which are on the river but still within walking distance of the festival. Some places accept reservations, but certain riverside spots are included with festival admission and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve early -- as of February 15, all of the deluxe riverside tent and RV sites for the 2011 event were already taken.


The festival is a way to raise funds for local community organizations. In the 14 years that the festival has been running, local charities have received $100,000 in donations from festival proceeds. Beneficiaries include organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, American Whitewater, the Manna Food Bank, the Mountain Area Child and Family Center, and the Hot Springs Community Learning Center.

Fall Festival

The success of the spring festival in Hot Springs has spawned a second festival in the fall season. The single-day, late-September event is designed to celebrate brews more than beats, and features craft beers from more than 20 local and regional breweries. One night of music and camping is not all that's included in the ticket price. Guests will also be able to enjoy unlimited samples of featured beers and a 5 oz. souvenir sampling glass.

About the Author

Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.

Photo Credits

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