Every year, Shakori Hills has a lot to offer, from returning favorites to fresh new faces. Here are our top five picks from the year’s festivities.

Danay Suarez

(Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Meadow Stage): Satisfying Shakori’s global musical mission, Cuba’s Danay Suarez offers activist-minded hip-hop infused with R&B. She recently performed at UNC through the performing arts programming; Shakori Hills’ casual will let you get up and dance.

Punch Brothers

(Saturday, 8 p.m., Meadow Stage): The pickers of Punch Brothers are masters of a singular craft—writing impeccable songs that transform classical, contemporary, and traditional styles into dizzying new arrangements. Really, it’s the band’s quiet precision that makes its sets so compelling. It’ll be interesting to see how that fares in a big dirt field.

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

(Friday, 5:45 p.m., Dance Tent): With her band of Disarmers in tow, Pittsboro’s Sarah Shook is a much-needed force in the dude-dominated field of gritty twang. Shook’s Sidelong, released last fall, is a properly rowdy and immensely satisfying country kicker.

Big Fat Gap

(Sunday, 1 p.m., Carson’s Grove): With bluegrass, Big Fat Gap doesn’t want to fix what isn’t broken. Sticking to the basics, the band delivered some great new bluegrass—not newgrass, mind you—on its 2014 album, Shackled & Chained.


(Saturday, 11 p.m., Cabaret Tent): If you get sick of strummin’, head to the DISHOOM dance party for a bumping late-night set of Bollywood and bhangra jams. Dancers regularly pack The Pinhook for sets like these from DJ Rang; this is a thrilling way to close out your Saturday. —Allison Hussey