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The Nerve’s 2021 Guide to Summer Events in Charlotte

Queen City Nerve’s 2021 Summer Guide is presented by Swirl, Charlotte’s made-to-order cupcake shop.

Around this time last year, Charlotte’s food, art and music scenes were in line to take a huge hit. Some found ways to pivot their events into a virtual experience while others weren’t so lucky, as Charlotte began to come to terms with “the new normal.” As of mid-May, music venues, sporting events, restaurants and bars were able to operate at full capacity and the mask mandate was no longer a requirement, but a suggestion for the people who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

Though everything is not entirely back to normal, with more folks getting vaccinated, we’re getting pretty close. It’ll probably take some time to get used to being elbow-to-elbow with strangers at a bar or concert, but as long as we stay cautious and look out for each other, Charlotte’s got a great summer to look forward to. Cue the packed patios, crushing beers at the pool and, finally, the return of live music after a year of virtual shows and livestreams.


This past year without live music had us nostalgic for the most mundane and troubling aspects of being in a music venue –– like waiting in line to use a bathroom with no toilet paper and a barely working sink or paying $6 for a PBR. What was once the subject of complaints is the familiarity many Charlotte musicians and concert-goers are yearning for. Live music is finally back. Virtual shows were fine for a time but we’re ready to get back out there, and performers are too.

Neighborhood Theatre

511 E. 36th St.

June 30: Emily Sage
July 10: Greyson Chance
July 19: Jimbo Mathus and the Dial Back Sound
August 5: Boys of Summer Tour – Summer Edition
August 13: New Potato Caboose
September 12: Reckless Kelly with Will Hoge
September 21: Jon McLaughlin w/ Striking Matches

Emily Sage records a Hear & Now episode with Queen City Nerve. (Photo by Jayme Johnson)

The Evening Muse

3227 N. Davidson St.

June 25: Brit Drozda
June 25: Three Star Revival and Deaf Andrews
June 26: Colleen Orender
July 8: George Banda
July 10: Mike Farris
July 17: Kevin Daniel & The Bottom Line
July 21: Justin Wells with Adam Lee
July 22: Nathan Angelo
July 23: Temple Underground
July 24: The Cancellations and Thirsty Curses
July 29: JoDavi Album Release
July 30: Sam Lewis
August 5: Grizzly Goat
August 6: Steel Blossoms
August 12: The Lucky Losers
August 13: Clem Snide
August 14: Carolina Story
August 31: Jake Blount
September 10: Lyn Avenue

The Milestone Club

3400 Tuckaseegee Rd

July 9: Cuzco, Pet Bug, and Pretty Baby
July 10: Andy the Doorbum, Nerve Endings and The Emotron 
July 11: Home for the Day, Atticus Lane, Deaf Andrews, A War to Win and Duckbeak
July 15: Space Daddy and the Galactic Go-Gos, The Phantom Friends, Maxwell Willams
July 16: Flight Risks, Van Huskins, Something Went Wrong, and King Thing
July 17: Bob Flemmings & The Cambria Iron Co., Knowne Ghost, Motel Glory, and Ryan Lockhart
July 18: San Hain and Tetanus 
July 19: Grocer, Ol’ Sport, and Monachopsis
July 22: The Vampire Dust Bunnies and Bonedryver 
July 23: Fear until Fury, The Reticent, Stellar Circuits, and Venus Invictus 
July 24: Blackwater Drowning, Faithful Annie, B-Villainous, and Tÿger 
July 25: 2YR Degree 
July 27: Hopeless Otis, The Bleeps, and Evergone 
July 29: Wilma, Added Color, Sunday Boxing, and Ink Swell 
July 30: Annabell Lee, Raviner, The Silencing Machine, and Strike the Tower
July 31: Digital Noir and DJ Spider
August 3: Hickoids 
August 6: Anchor Detail, Witch Motel and Stormwatchers 
August 7: Proxima, Downside Dead, The Lowdown Dirty, Inferior Design, and Alteredvision
August 8: Rough Dreams
August 10: Left to Suffer and Haymaker
August 11: Harriet RIP 
August 12: Waterworks, Parker Smith, and Carolina Vibes 
August 13: Aloha Brothers, Plastic Flamingos, Sibannac, and Cardboard Box Company 
August 14: The Penitentials and Flame Tides 
August 20: Rocket 77, Queen City Rejects, Orphan Riot, and The Hooligans
August 21: Digital Noir and DJ Spider 
August 27: The Fill Ins, Silver Tongue Devils, and Stop Talking  
August 28: East Vierdian, Fault Union, and Refect//Refine 
September 4: Written in Gray 
September 5: Rickolus, True Lilith, and Maxwell Williams 
September 10: Demon Waffle, The Emotron, MC Homeless and The Bleeps
September 11: Kill The Imposter, Savage Empire, and Mafia
September 17: The Phantom Friends, Lil Skirtt, and The Dirty Lowdown
September 18: Digital Noir and DJ SpiderSeptember 19: Bad Idols with Heckdang and 2YR Degree 

Visulite Theatre

1615 Elizabeth Ave.

June 4: Cosmic Charlie
July 9: Unspoken Tradition & Aaron Burdett
June 12: Abbey Road Live! – Beatles Tribute
June 26: Flamingo Review presents Rising
July 16: Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute
July 23: Siamese Dream & Glide
July 24: HEY JOHNNY PARK (Foo Fighters Tribute)
August 14: Josh Daniel
August 28: Harvest Moon – Neil Young Tribute
September 9: Town Mountain
September 23: Son Volt
The Fillmore
820 Hamilton Street;
July 16: Rumors – Fleetwood Mac Tribute
July 18: Pooh Shiesty
September 9: Theory of a Deadman

Snug Harbor

1228 Gordon St. 

June 24: Shiprocked!
June 25: Amigo w/ Brut Beat
June 26: Junior Astronomers w/ 2 Slices

Junior Astronomers

The Underground

820 Hamilton Street

June 18: ATLiens
July 2: Ja Rule
July 21: Palaye Royale: The Bastards Tour
July 24: Lucii
August 12: The Steel Woods
September 9: George Watsky

Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

1000 NC Music Factory Boulevard

July 17: Jamey Johnson
July 20: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
August 4: Rise Against
August 5: Louis the Child
August 15: Blackberry Smoke
August 26: Brothers Osborne
August 27: My Morning Jacket
September 4: Glass Animals

Glass Animals
Glass Animals. (Photo by Pooneh Ghana)

PNC Music Pavilion

707 Pavilion Boulevard

June 19: Halsey
June 29: Chicago
July 17: Megadeth and Lamb of God
July 24: Dave Matthews Band
August 10: Kings of Leon
August 12: Chris Stapleton
August 20: Jason Aldean
August 21: Alanis Morissette w/ Garbage and Liz Phair
September 10: The Black Crowes
September 13: Judas Priest
September 17: Maroon 5
September 18: Dierks Bentley
September 19: Willie Nelson presents Outlaw Music Festival featuring Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Margo Price and more.

Bojangles Coliseum

2700 E. Independence Blvd.

August 21: Three 6 Mafia, No Limit Soldiers, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
August 27: Fonseca & Cepeda

summer events in Charlotte
Three 6 Mafia reunites this summer. (Photo by Jay West)

U.S. National Whitewater Center

5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

The U.S. Whitewater Center’s River Jam takes place in an outdoor stage every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. running from May to September. Other activities include yoga, open-water swims on Thursday, and rafting down the rapids. Food and drinks at various USNWC locations are also available, and admission is free.

Bank of America Stadium

800 S. Mint St.

June 28: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

The Unknown Brewing Co.

1327 S. Mint St.

July 24: RiFF RAFF w/ Nige Hood

Hodges Family Farm

3900 Rocky River Road

Hodges Farm Concert Series (every Thursday night)

July 15: Chad Andrew Harris & The Blue Herons
July 22: Todd Johnson
July 29: Uwade & Duo Animato
August 5: Will Easter
August 12: Emanuel Wynter & George Banda
August 19: Josh Daniel
August 26: XOXOK

July 17: Stargazer Music Fest
Night market, stargazing and live music from Space Ballet, Phoenix Down, Spacepants, and Spatial Forces.

McGlohon Theater

130 N. Tryon St

July 23: Keiko Matsui
August 14: The Spongetones 40th Anniversary Reboot
August 19: Colin Hay
September 4: Todd Snider

Belk Theater

130 N. Tryon St.

July 9: The Fab Four – Beatles Tribute
July 10: Tosco Music Beatles Tribute
August 20: Village People

Booth Playhouse

130 N. Tryon St.

July 31: Aoife O’Donovan
September 1: Meshell Ndegeocello

Stage Door Theater

155 N. College St.

July 23: Mike Ramsey & The 5 Ensemble

Knight Theater

430 S. Tryon St.

July 16: Boney James
August 27: The Righteous Brothers


Ovens Auditorium

2700 E. Independence Blvd.

September 8-Oct. 3: Wicked
The iconic Broadway musical is coming back to Charlotte, and brings back the story of Oz before Dorothy paid a visit.
More: $40 and up; times vary

summer events in Charlotte
Talia Suskaer as Elphaba in ‘Wicked.’ (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Knight Theater

430 S. Tryon St.

July 17: Leanne Morgan
Bringing southern charm and a scathing wit, Leanne Morgan’s Big Pan Party Comedy Tour is stopping by Charlotte this July.
More: $32 and up; 7 p.m.

September 7: Colin Mochrie’s Hyprov
From the minds of improv comedy legend Colin Mochrie and master hypnotist Asad Mecci comes a mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, side-splitting show.
More: $24.50 and up; 7:30 p.m.

September 11: Nikki Glaser
One of the top comedians in the country visits the Queen City for a night of laughs.
More: $24.50 and up; 7 p.m.

Knight Gallery at Spirit Square

345 N. College St.

June 18/August 20: SlamCharlotte Poetry Slam
Charlotte’s monthly Poetry Slam event is hosted by SlamCharlotte, whose goal is to build a stronger community between poets and the community though spoken word.
More: Free; 8 p.m.

McGlohon Theater

345 N. College St.

September 9: Bob the Drag Queen
The Ru Paul’s Drag Race winner and comedy queen is coming to Charlotte, and bringing her talents with her.
More: $24.50 and up; 7:30 p.m.

September 11: The Chris and Paul Show
Chris O’Neill and Paul Valenti hail from Connecticut and formed The Chris and Paul Show back in 2000, then moved together to a studio apartment in NYC, where they honed the uncanny ability to take seemingly predictable situations and attack audiences with twists that leave them in shock.
More: $20 and up; Time TBD

Belk Theater

130 N. Tryon St.

September 16-19: Opera Carolina’s I Dream
Opera Carolina starts its 2021-2022 season with I Dream, a story of how two men changed the Civil Rights Movement.
More: $22 and up; times vary

Charlotte theatre, summer events in Charlotte
Opera Carolina had to cancel its revised run of ‘I Dream’ when the pandemic hit. (Photo by Mitchell Kearney)

Booth Playhouse

130 N. Tyron St.

August 19-September 12: Charlotte Squawks 16: Going Viral!
The SNL-meets-Broadway cast of Charlotte performers is back and ready to tackle politics, sports, and pop culture in the Queen City.
More: $24.50 and up; dates and times vary

Stage Door Theater

155 N. College St.

July 10: House Full of Secrets
From William Alexander, a new play about a family confronting earth-shattering secrets.
More: $20; 7 p.m.

Duke Energy Theater

345 N. College St.

July 3: The Awakening
A gospel, rap and prophesy concert.
More: $10; 8 p.m.

August 11-22: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The riveting story of music and race, August Wilson’s play is not one to be missed.
More: $28; dates and times vary

Food, Drinks & Cultural Events

Sistine Chapel Exhibit

May-July 31 | Savona Mill | $13-$19.50

Instead of going to Rome to see the ceiling’s frescoes 44 feet away from the Sistine Chapel floor below, patrons can see them up close. The paintings cemented Michelangelo’s reputation, but the sculptor never wanted the job in the first place, and insisted he was wrong for the task. In the 1560s Pope Pius IV had the genitals of the artist’s nudes figures painted over, but modern restorers stripped away the fig leaves.

Carolina Thread Trails National Trails Day

June 5 | Catawba Riverfront Greenway and Tuckaseegee Park | Free

Celebrated every year on the first Saturday of June, the Carolina Thread Trails celebrate National Trails Day with vendors and a series of outdoor activities. A great way to kick off the summer, the nationwide events are used to promote and celebrate the importance of trails to communities.

African American Heritage Festival

June 7-12 | Charlotte Museum of History | Free

Combining virtual and in-person events, the Charlotte Museum of History explores dance, visual art, and the history of African-American people that have lived in Charlotte throughout all of its existence. Tickets are limited to uphold social distancing and must be held in advance.

Charlotte Black Film Festival

June 16-20 | Online | Sold out

Celebrating African-American voices in film as well as independent filmmakers, the Charlotte Black Film Festival is going on its 11th year of uplifting those voices. Going virtual this year, the film festival boasts student films, feature-length films, short films, and documentaries in its line-up.

Immersive Van Gogh

June 17-September 25 | Ford Building, Camp North End | $25-$40

The art of the impressionist master Van Gogh is coming to Camp North End June 17th. With more than 5,000 feet of projections animating the art of Van Gogh, visitors are invited to fully immerse themselves in the paintings.

Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte, summer events in Charlotte
Media members preview the Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte exhibit at Camp North End. (Photo by Jayme Johnson)

Party in the Park

June 27/July 25/August 29 | Mint Museum Randolph | Free

Spend the last Sunday of each month in the park at the Mint Museum Randolph and enjoy the food and art Charlotte has to offer. Free admission to the museum, food trucks, and a cash bar are all available for the outdoor event.

Matthews Alive

September 3-6 | Matthews | Free with some tickets required

The annual Labor Day festival returns with rides, shag dancing, live music, lots of eats and more.

Yiasou Greek Festival

September 5-8 | Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral | $3

The Yiasou Greek Festival is back after it’s cancellation in 2020, featuring authentic Greek food, music, art and dancing. It is the time of year that anyone can be Greek.

SHOUT! Festival

September 17 – October 3 | Center City Charlotte | Free

Featuring large-scale installations throughout Uptown, SHOUT! festival highlights the diversity of art in Charlotte, and brings together all the city has to offer in one festival. From food, to dance, to music, to art, SHOUT! weaves the talents of the city into one event.

summer events in Charlotte
“About Us” arial performance in the 2019 SHOUT! Festival (Curtsey of SHOUT! & Patrick Schneider)


June 20 | Lenny Boy Brewing | 1 p.m. | Free

The MAKRS Society hosts a monthly pop-up featuring a rotating selection of 25+ local makers.

Nebels Alley Night Market

June 19/July 17/August 21/September 18 | The Design Center | 3-9 p.m. | Free

This monthly event features more than 30 handmade arts, crafts, and food vendors, live music, free caricatures, and lantern-lit walkways, in addition to a few surprises.

Ballantyne Wine Festival

June 26 | Blackfinn Ameripub | 2 p.m. | $30-$45

If the closest vineyard seems like an unlikely destination, keep it in the neighborhood with samples of wine from local, regional and national vineyards.

Front Porch Sundays

July 4/August 1/September 5 | Sycamore Brewing | 11 a.m. | Free

From the same team behind the Nebels Alley market, another monthly chance for open-air shopping, tasting and entertainment in South End.

Joedance Film Festival

August 5-7 | Online | Times vary | $30

This 12-year-old fundraising benefit for Levine Children’s Hospital will remain virtual as a safety precaution, so you can check out some good flicks while supporting from your couch.

BLKTECHCLT Afrofuturism Fest

August 12-14 | Locations and times vary | Free-$25

BLKTECHCLT hosts a unique innovative convening with a cross-sectional aggregation of present and future Black creatives, techies, makers, designers and scientists.

summer events in Charlotte
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

July 24 | Bank of America Stadium | 2 p.m. | $29-$75

Variety is the spice of life, especially when that means a range of beer, bourbon, barbecue, biscuits, bluegrass, and “smoked beasts.” Experience over 60 beers, 40 bourbons and enough barbecue to feed all of Charlotte.

Restaurant Openings

Babe & Butcher

Camp North End
When Babe & Butcher opens in Camp North End this summer, expect build-your-own charcuterie boards of as much meat, cheese, fruits and jams as your hearts desire.

BOCADO Bar + Diner

South End, Atheron Mill
This Atlanta-based sushi joint will be moving into the Atherton Mill space that now holds Big Ben British Restaurant & Pub.

Emmy Squared Pizza

Plaza Midwood
It’s in the name. Fluffy in the center and crisp edges, Emmy’s square NY-style pizza –– the kicker? This pizza joint actually originated in New York.

Broken Promises

South End
Unlike its sister concept Lost & Found, Broken Promise will be more of an intimate cocktail bar. The owners described it as the place you go to before the party.

Ace No. 3

Myers Park
The Belmont burger joint is opening its second and third locations, one in the Myers Park area and the other in Concord.

Brewery Openings

Burial Beer Co.

Plaza Midwood
Asheville-based Burial Beer Co. makes its Charlotte debut this summer. The latest spot is set to take over Boris & Natasha’s former location in Plaza Midwood. Expect a 2,600-square-foot taproom and bottle shop along with a rooftop patio and outdoor space for a beer garden.


summer events in Charlotte
A Knights game at Truist Field. (Photo by Laura Wolff)

Charlotte Knights

Truist Field, 324 S. Mint St.
Be sure to check out the website for promotional nights ranging from Bark in the Park to playing catch on the game before the game. Per usual, Friday nights at home are always wrapped up with a firework display.

June 15-20 vs. Jacksonville
June 29-July 6 vs. Norfolk
July 13-18 vs. Gwinnett
July 27-August 1 vs. Jacksonville
August 17-22 vs. Norfolk
August 24-29 vs. Durham
September 14-19 vs. Durham

Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium, 800 S. Mint St.
August 21: vs. Baltimore Ravens
August 27: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Regular season
September 12: vs. New York Jets
September 19: vs. New Orleans Saints

Also at Bank of America Stadium
September 2: Duke’s Mayo Classic; Appalachian State vs. East Carolina
September 4: Duke’s Mayo Classic; Clemson vs. Georgia

summer events in Charlotte
(Photo by Brandon Todd/Carolina Panthers)

Charlotte Independence

After three games in Matthews, where the Independence have been playing while Memorial Stadium has been undergoing a complete rebuild, the team comes home to the Queen City.

Sportsplex at Matthews
2425 Sports Parkway, Matthews;
*all games start at 7 p.m.

June 5: Tampa Bay Rowdies
June 13: Hartford Athletic
June 23: Charleston Battery

Independence Moves to American Legion Memorial Stadium
310 N. Kings Drive

July 7: New York Red Bulls II
July 10: Phoenix Rising FC
July 31: Tampa Bay Rowdies
August 14: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
August 21: Colorado Springs Switchbacks
September 4: Miami FC
September 11: Hartford Athletic
September 18: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
September 22: The Miami FC

summer events in Charlotte
Circle K Monster Truck Bash. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Motor Speedway)

Charlotte Motor Speedway

5555 Concord Pkwy. S
June 6: Xtreme World Wrestling Presents Mega-Mayhem Live Xtream Warfare; $15 and up
July 17-18: Carolina Sizzler; $15 and up
August 14: Circle K Monster Truck Bash

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  1. I’m sure all of these bands have people who LOVE them. But how can we be seeing all of these bands and all of these venues without a single Beach Band to be found in Charlotte. Is it the number of young people who don’t care for that type of music? I find that hard to believe. Romar Bearden Park proved that if you have Beach Music ‘They Will Come’. Bring Beach Music to Charlotte!!!

  2. Beach Bands are not easily found in Charlotte anymore. That crowd has aged out and most are likely afraid of covid.

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