April - September 2023
Downtown After Five provides free live outdoor music concerts in downtown Asheville every third Friday 5-9 PM from April through September. Thousands gather on North Lexington Avenue near the I-240 overpass to enjoy local and national beers and a variety of food vendors. While admission is free, you must buy a $2 wristband to purchase beer, hard cider, and wine.
2023 Downtown After Five Lineup:
Friday, April 21:
Growing up in Philadelphia on a steady diet of R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul, Gilfillian gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. In 2020, Gilfillian released his debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” which was nominated for a Grammy – “Best Engineered Album.” In December 2020, Gilfillian performed his top 5 AAA hit, “The Good Life,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He’s currently writing for LP#2.
Joe Lasher Jr and Kaitlyn Baker
Weaverville native, Joe Lasher’s style is described as country-rock, influenced by legends like Rodney Atkin, Eric Church, Jon Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams. His four-song acoustic EP, “The Hurricane Mills Sessions,” was released in spring 2020. Singer, songwriter Kaitlyn Baker draws inspiration from her upbringing in Appalachian coal country. Her soulful country tune “Blackbird” is racking up digital downloads nationally across all streaming platforms.
Friday, May 19:
Baba Commandant and The Mandingo Band
On the success of their latest LP -- Sonbonbela, recorded in 2022 in the Republic of Burkina Faso, the group continues to hone their trademark fusion of Mandingue and afro-beat styles. The band features the guitar pyrotechnics of Issouf Diabate and is completed by a near-bottomless barrel of artistry from the Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso musical talent pool. On bass guitar, Wendeyida Ouedraogo, on drums Abbas Kabore, and on percussion and balafon, Nickie Dembele. Leading the charge again is the captain himself, Mamadou Sanou on the Doso Ngoni featuring one of the most distinctive voices of the modern era.
Coconut Cake is an ensemble dedicated to rumba music - chiming and reverberant guitars, syncopated bass, drums, and shakers all dancing together to create a bold, swinging and sophisticated rhythm. Led by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Michael Libramento, the group is known for their upbeat instrumental performances, inspired by Cuban son music, early rock ‘n’ roll, and legendary African dance bands of the 50s and 60s.
Friday, June 16:
Victoria Victoria ft Charlie Hunter
Tori Elliott's deep love of harmony is the driving force that shapes her soul-pop musical endeavor, Victoria Victoria. Her craft in songwriting is the seedbed for intricate vocal arrangements, creating a layered, ethereal experience; one that translates dynamically from her albums to her live shows. 2023 marked Victoria Victoria’s debut tour with Charlie Hunter on hybrid guitar, her brother, Noah Elliott on keys and vocals, her dear friend and collaborator, Maia Kamil on vocals, and renowned Memphis drummer, George Sluppik. The rhythm section makes for a sturdy foundation for transcendent vocal performances and inviting banter.
Josh Phillips and all the members of this virtuoso 9-piece band were amongst the original folks here building the local music scene into what it is today. With this particular project, you can expect to hear a wide variety of songs; from upbeat, horn heavy klezmer wailers; to heart wrenching, finger picked guitar ballads; atmospheric, dark tribal chants; and many styles in between. But the one thing you can always certainly count on in Josh Phillips music is an ability to connect sincerely with an audience through honest and relatable lyrics and infectious energy on stage.
Friday, July 21:
The Rumble ft Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr
Featuring six Grammy-nominated musicians, The Rumble is composed of Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. of the Golden Eagles, trumpeter Aurélien Barnes, trombonist José Maize Jr., bassist TJ Norris, guitarist Ari Teitel, keyboardist Andriu Yanovski, and drummer Trenton O’Neal. The group fuses iconic New Orleans funk in the vein of The Meters and The Neville Brothers—but updated, modern and vibrant befitting the next generation—with electrifying brass and the singular visual splendor of the Black Masking carnival tradition.
Funk'n Around is Asheville's newest band featuring King Garfield on trombone, Lenny Pettinelli on keys, Datrian Johnson on vocals and a rotating cast of Asheville's finest players. When Garfield Brogan, previously of the legendary Stooges Brass Band, moved to Asheville from New Orleans to take a job with LEAF Global, he immediately started searching for his new band. He found them pretty quickly and started putting together an all star lineup. Inspired by New Orleans funk, Funk'n Around is bringing a fresh sound to Asheville with an energy you can't compete with.
Friday, August 18:
Asheville All Stars
The All Stars show has quickly become a favorite of the season, featuring some of AVL’s best artists making music together. Curated by local musician and producer, Josh Blake, the All Stars offer a little something for everyone – from rock to hip hop, originals to covers.
Asheville Rock Academy
The Rock Academy is an Asheville Music School that teaches Year-Round Rock Band Performance Classes to students 7-17. Students learn to perform a wide variety of musical styles and songs of various genres including blues, classic rock, hard rock, punk, surf, and more. Their music students grow into real musicians and take their skills “on the road” to play in front of live audiences at some of the top venues in the area.
Friday, September 15:
The Sensational Barnes Brothers
The Sensational Barnes Brothers are a melting pot of the old and the new. Family was and is a huge part of the creation of the band, the family carried on as musical collaborators for years and still play and sing together, even with their father gone. In 2015, the family released an album, Family Tree before Chris and Courtney began The Sensational Barnes Brothers as a duo. The brothers recorded their first album inspired by their shared past, fueled by harmonies that resonate with both their blood and their kindred souls. The Sensational Barnes Brothers see themselves singing, playing, and dancing for a long time to come.
Alex Krug Combo
Life is at its very core about exploring. We can remain stagnant and rooted in place, or we can take a page out of Alex Krug Combo’s playbook and dive headfirst. The thrill of adventure looms ahead of this band. Their Psychedelic Smoky Mountain Americana strikes a stunningly evocative chord about life, being an outsider and the kind of heartache and healing that transforms your soul.
Beer & Food
Lots of local beers and hard ciders on tap from Pisgah Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville Brewing Company, Catawba Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Green Man Brewery, and Bold Rock Cider, as well as beers from Western North Carolina and regional and national brands. Wine, soda, and water are also available for purchase. Enjoy cuisine from the area's top food trucks including Cecelia’s Kitchen, Cooking with Comedy, Funnel King, Bears BBQ, Kernel Mike’s Kettle Corn, Ben and Jerry’s, Tin Can Pizzeria, and Simply Hot Dogs.
No pets or bikes are allowed. Bring your chair, but no coolers or tents. The Asheville Downtown Association partners with five local nonprofits to sell wristbands at the event, giving each a $2,000 grant.
Just a few blocks away is the Friday night Drum Circle. See more things to do in Downtown Asheville.
During the day, downtown Asheville bustles with shoppers browsing more than 200 galleries, antique shops and local boutiques. Each evening, enjoy street entertainers, restaurants, breweries,… read more
During the day, downtown Asheville bustles with shoppers browsing more than 200 galleries, antique shops and local boutiques. Each evening, enjoy street entertainers, restaurants, breweries, festivals and music. Walk the Urban Trail and tour historic sites. See our Top 25 things to do downtown.