Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on May 12, 2023.
Boonerang Music & Arts Festival (Boonerang or Boonerang Fest) is a newer annual event that started with the sesquicentennial celebration of Boone, North Carolina in 2022!
The mountain town embraced this mostly free event and continues bringing together musicians, local artists, and everyone who lived in Boone or calls it home now!
Our guide shares 10 things we love about Boonerang, with important info about when, where, and how to enjoy this festival as we have since its opening year! Whether you’re in Boone or want to visit during Boonerang, let us take you through one of our favorite summer events in NC’s coolest town.
When is Boonerang?
Answer: June 15-17, 2023.
Boonerang is held in June in the wonderful town of Boone in Western North Carolina. After feeling the effects of summer heat in Central North Carolina, a June visit to Boone and its High Country neighbors is much welcome.
Barring any extremely rare heat waves, this is one of the best times to visit the area.
One Main Location
All of Boonerang’s events and music are held in Downtown Boone, which makes it easy to bounce around and see all the stages. In case you’re wondering which venues will be hosting official Boonerang events, here’s a quick breakdown:
- Appalachian Theatre (Thursday and Saturday): The Thursday kickoff event at Appalachian Theatre (559 West King St.) is ticketed, but all Saturday events happening here are FREE admission.
- Street Stages (Friday and Saturday): The street stages on South Depot St (174 South Depot St.) and North Depot St (130 North Depot St.) are the largest of Boonerang’s stages.
- BACR/641 RPM Stage (Saturday): Boone’s favorite independent record store and community radio station sponsor a stage at Espresso News (267 Howard St.), one of our favorite coffee shops in Boone.
- Dance Lot (Saturday): Wild Craft Eatery (506 West King St.) will be the scene of Boonerang’s “Dance Stage,” where you can join the fun from noon to 6:00 pm.
- Jones House Stage (Saturday): There’s also a lawn stage at the Jones House (604 West King St.). Famous musicians like Doc Watson have played here so history alone makes this an excellent setting for watching bands and musicians play.
Spin-offs and partner shows are also happening, and (spoiler alert) that’s another thing we love about Boonerang.
Read More: The NC Tripping Events Calendar
We won’t be corny and add “Parking” as something we love but you should definitely know about it. Options include the following:
- Metered Parking Spaces on King St. and Queen St. in Downtown Boone.
- Public parking lots and parking decks on the Appalachian State University campus.
- The Watauga County Social Services/Health Department Parking Lot (132 Poplar Grove Connector).
Boonerang is Mostly Free
Back to the “things we love” portion of this guide…Thanks to the amazing sponsors and the people working hard behind the scenes, Boonerang is a mostly free festival.
As mentioned, a ticketed kickoff event is held on Thursday at the Appalachian Theatre. Otherwise, you don’t need a ticket to enjoy this festival.
However, Friday and Saturday are full of fun (and FREE) events, starting at 11 with Tie-Dye Making in the Mellow Lounge.
Emphasis on “Local”
One of my favorite things about Boonerang is the ubiquitous presence of Boone businesses, whether it’s the food trucks, local restaurants, vendors, or sponsors. Local breweries and wineries will be at each festival space’s beer garden.
The musicians playing at Boonerang also have a connection to Boone, which is a big reason why they’ve been invited.
Of course, the musicians playing at Boonerang are pretty talented, too. For 2023, they include the Wilkesboro-based Kruger Brothers, the Boone-started Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and the Appalachia-raised Larry Keel.
Local Vendor Market
The Vendor Market is a wonderful accompaniment to the entertainment at Boonerang. Local vendors and nonprofit organizations will be on hand, selling handmade arts and crafts, food products, photography, and more.
Don’t forget to stop by the many local businesses in downtown Boone that will be open throughout the festival weekend!
Fittingly, the Watauga Library is the site of the Kids Zone, a great addition to this Boone festival. The Kid-friendly fun includes face painting, a playhouse, balloon animals, music, and more.
Plenty of other fun official and partner events are happening at Boonerang.
- A Silent Disco will close the festival on Friday and Saturday, starting at 8:30 pm each night.
- Neighborhood Yoga (659 West King St.) will host wellness events on Friday and Saturday.
- On Saturday, Boone Bagelry (516 West King St.) will host the Boonerang International Festival.
- Local venues like Boone Saloon (489 West King St.) will offer an “Afterparty Series.” While it may not be officially affiliated with Boonerang, the bands and musicians playing there are still worth checking out.
Boonerang Has Community Support
With such a rich musical tradition, Boone deserves a festival like Boonerang. Based on the turnout, it looks like the town has embraced the festival.
You can support Boonerang by attending every year. If you want to help, there are volunteer opportunities available.
Business owners and generous individuals can sponsor the event, too. Contact the Town of Boone Director of Cultural Resources for more info.
Boonerang Will Keep Getting Better
After attending the first Boonerang, I was worried that this would be the only edition. Thankfully, the community’s support and the organizers’ tireless efforts have resulted in this being an annual Boone NC event.
I’ve already noticed improvements from the original and can’t wait to see where this festival goes as it grows. If you’ve attended Boonerang, let us know what you think of it and what you hope to see at the next one.
Share your thoughts in the comments or send us an email. Don’t forget to share your adventures from this festival and others in our NC Travel Facebook Group.
More Boone NC Events and Things to Do
There are many things to do in Boone, including gorgeous hikes, breathtaking waterfalls, and fun day trips to surrounding towns in the High Country. These NC travel guides cover Boone’s best attractions and places to visit nearby.