Earth Day Jam Salisbury

BY JERRY FRIEND Spring has arrived in the Carolinas and it's time to make some plans to enjoy the outdoors. As a transplant to North ...


Spring has arrived in the Carolinas and it's time to make some plans to enjoy the outdoors. As a transplant to North Carolina, but one who's been living here more than twenty years, one of my favorite things to do has been to use my free time mostly on weekends to take some day trips traveling around the Piedmont exploring new places. I really enjoy finding local flavors at new restaurants, learning about the history of the places we visit, and meeting new people. There's something fun about letting go of the familiar and setting out on the road to have an adventure in strange places and having new conversations with strangers that create new friendships.

During my travels, one of the favorite places that I have found and continue to visit is historic Salisbury, North Carolina. Located conviently off of Interstate 85, between Charlotte and the Greensboro and Winston Salem areas, travel to Salisbury is a breeze. As a bonus, Amtrak stops in the heart of downtown with plenty of places to stay nearby.


Salisbury has a beautiful downtown with a classic Main Street America appeal filled with lots of shops and restaurants. Located nearby you can visit the NC Transportation museum. A 60-acre park once home to Southern Railway's largest steam locamotive repair facilty in the Southeast. For more than just train enthusiasts both young and old this facility features all types of transportation history - railroading, automotive, aviation, and more. Salisbury is also the birthplace of the popular cherry soda, Cheerwine. Downtown also offers a city block sized Bell Tower Green Park which allows the community to share common green space in the middle of town.

In just a couple of weeks the park will host a free to the public celebration called Earth Day Jam 2024. This incredibly well organized event is hosted by a local non-profit called "Happy Roots" a unique farm to festival benefit concert event is dedicated to not only celebrating our planet but it is also has become a way to help bring attention to the non-profits' mission to gather the funds they need to continue with their school and community garden projects.

Earth Day Jam 2024 is a fun-filled event featuring two stages, with some incredible, local, regional and national touring musical artists. There will be over 70 vendors and educators showcasing unique artisians, eco-friendly products, health and wellness, environmental education, services, and resources. There's also local foods, wine and craft brews for a true farm-to-festival experience that includes, kid-friendly activities, and free family fun for all ages, as well as incentives for festival goers who bring their own reusable refillable water bootles and help contribute to the festival's zero waste goals by recycling and composting.

This year Earth Day Jam takes place on Saturday, April 20th, from 11am until 10pm. The event is free to the public. A downtown trolley will be available to shuttle festival goers, and the Salisbury Train Station is just a few blocks away from the park making it easy to travel using NC By Train. There is also Destination Stay & Play packages available through the Rowan Tourism Authority. A link to purchase and book lodging is available through the festival's website as well as a show schedule, a vendor map, and a parking and trolley stop map can be found there too.

Devon Gilfillian
Photo Credit: Emmanuel Afolabi

Happy Roots would like to thank the Rowan Arts Council whose generous support has allowed them to bring an incredible lineup of artists to help with their fundraising efforts at this year's event. Headlining the festival is National touring artist, Fantasy Records, Grammy nominated Devon Gilfillian, known for his soulful sound and powerful stage presence. Devon rose through the Nashville ranks and has performed on television shows including Kelly Clarkson, Stephen Colbert, as well as several appearnces on Jimmy Kimmel, CBS, and has ejoyed sold out national tours.

Infamous Weekend

Other artists performing live include Four time Grammy nominated Ralegh based band YARN, Asheville based artists, NC's brass-funk-rock band Empire Strikes Brass with Grammy award winning Debrissa McKinney and Abby Bryant a powerful femal vocalist, and rising singer songwriter.There Bluegras's sensational Carolina Detour as well as a second stage with local performers including the Webster Family Jam, Tripp Edwards, The Stokes, Vess and The Fidgets, with CJ Sunshine and many more, so pack up your folding chairs, a cooler and even a picnic if you want to come join me for a day filled with fun where you can discover, new places, music and friends.
Jerry Friend has spent most of his life chasing the joy that live music brings. Originally from Florida, he’s been in North Carolina the last 23 years after he settled in Burlington, NC. A systems administrator by day. In his free time, he enjoys photographing live performances by artists at clubs, concerts and festivals. His goal is to try to capture those experiences through his lens and be able to share these images with others. As a fan of artists that span diverse music genres, you might find him at shows that include Bluegrass to Jazz, Jam bands, Alternative Country to Electronic Dance Music, Rock and even Pop music. He loves to travel to festivals, in the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic. He also enjoys collecting show posters and vinyl records.

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Strange Carolinas is the Travelogue Of The Offbeat, a wry look at the interesting, unique, and offbeat roadside attractions, people, music, art, food, and festivals in North and South Carolina.


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