Piggin’ and Grinnin’: Celebrating BBQ and Bluegrass

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 9:00am to 10:00pm

Bluegrass and folk bands from around North Carolina and across the country will come together for a celebration of food and music this September during the inaugural Piggin’ and Grinnin’ festival at Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s first capitol. Held on the picturesque Tryon Palace South Lawn, Piggin’ and Grinnin’ offers a full lineup of bands, including the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sierra Hull, Chatham County Line, Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith, Balsam Range, Blind Boy Paxton, Merchant’s Road, and Strung Together. Enjoy the tunes and the views with cold drinks, craft vendors, and a food truck rodeo with plenty of piggin’ going on. 

Participating food trucks include the Tiny Tornado, Funky Fresh, Poor Piggy's, JJ Texas BBQ Express, Kings BBQ, Kona Ice, American Nitro Beverage, Sunshine Girls Lemonade, and Crystal Coast Kettle Corn.

Piggin' & Grinnin' FAQs

Piggin' & Grinnin' Map


VIP tickets are sold out, but tickets are still available for General Admission. 

*Tickets will be available for purchase online until Friday, Sept. 1 11:59 p.m. Ticket purchases made on Saturday, Sept. 2 must be made at the Ticket Office in the North Carolina History Center. 


Main Stage on South Lawn

11:15 am-Noon Blind Boy Paxton
12:30-1:45pm Summer Brooke & Mountain Faith
2:15–3:45pm Sierra Hull
4:15-5:45pm Chatham County Line
6:15–7:30pm Balsam Range
8 –9:30pm Steep Canyon Rangers

History Center Stage on Bate Commons

9:30 – 10:15am Merchant's Road
10:45–11:30am Strung Together
Noon – 12:45 pm Merchant's Road
1:45  – 2:30 pm Blind Boy Paxton
3:30  – 4:15pm Strung Together

Music workshops in Cullman Performance Hall in the North Carolina History Center 

(A limited number of seats & instruments available. Please bring your own instrument, if able.)

Call 1-800-767-1560 to make your workshop reservation. 


Bluegrass-Style Banjo Workshop” with Danny Batten of Merchants Road; limit: 20 people – Danny will discuss the up-picking approach to banjo playing and teach us a few notes. North Carolina banjo player Earl Scruggs is largely responsible for creating the bluegrass banjo style, bringing it to national attention in the late 1940s and early 1950s.



“Clawhammer-Style Banjo Workshop” with George Oliver of Strung Together; limit 20 people –  George Oliver will introduce us to the down-picking approach to banjo playing. Clawhammer is an older technique of playing the banjo, with historical roots that can be traced back several centuries to the African ancestry of the banjo.



“Blues Harmonica Workshop” with Danny Batten of Merchant’s Road; limit: 20 people – Developed in Europe in the early 19th-century, today the harmonica is used world-wide and across many music genres. In this workshop, attendees learn the basics of blues harmonica and hear about its vital role in bluegrass music. 



“African Banjo Music” with Blind Boy Paxton; limit: 40 people - While the banjo is typically associated with traditional bluegrass, country and even jazz, the string instrument has roots that stretch all the way back to Africa. During this 45-minute workshop, artist Jerron “Blind Boy Paxton” will share the history and evolution of the banjo during its journey from continent to continent.


Jam Sessions in Mattocks Hall – Bring your own instrument

Jam Sessions will take place in Mattocks Hall between 9 AM and 5 PM. Let the music move you. 


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Steep Canyon Rangers

GRAMMY® Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers unveil their highly anticipated ninth studio album, RADIO, a project that further illustrates the band’s dynamic songwriting, instrumental virtuosity and high-energy performance. Members Woody Platt (guitar), Graham Sharp (banjo), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Nicky Sanders (fiddle) and Mike Ashworth (box kit) are also known for collaborations with actor/comedian and respected banjo player Steve Martin and esteemed singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. The Steep Canyon Rangers’ RADIO was produced by fourteen-time GRAMMY® winner, Jerry Douglas (John Oates, Alison Krauss, Del McCoury Band) and recorded at Asheville, NC’s Echo Mountain Recording Studio. The album’s twelve all-original bluegrass/ Americana tracks were written by Sharp, Humphrey, Platt and Guggino in varying degrees, including a few co-writes with fellow musicians such as Phil Barker of the Carolina bluegrass band Town Mountain. RADIO follows Steep Canyon Rangers’ 2013 release, Tell the Ones I Love, which Bluegrass Today praised as “…a great mixture of today’s bluegrass styles, excellent harmonies, and a few surprises…an excellent album…”

Sierra Hull 

Sierra Hull has been recognized from age 11 as a virtuoso mandolin-player, astonishing audiences and fellow-musicians alike. Now a seasoned touring musician nearing her mid-20s, Hull has delivered her most inspired, accomplished, and mature recorded work to date; no small feat. Weighted Mind is a landmark achievement, not just in Sierra Hull's career, but in the world of folk-pop, bluegrass, and acoustic music overall. With instrumentation comprised largely of mandolin, bass, and vocals, this is genre-transcending music at its best, with production by Béla Fleck and special harmony vocal guests Alison Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Rhiannon Giddens adding to the luster. Hull speaks eloquently, in her challenging and sensitive originals, her heartfelt vocals, and once again breaks new ground on the mandolin. Béla Fleck special guests on banjo on two tracks and duo partner, Ethan Jodziewicz, not only anchors the record on bass, but introduces us to a major new instrumental voice.

Chatham County Line 

Based on looks alone, Chatham County Line conjures a sepia-toned timelessness by huddling around a single microphone on stage, playing traditional string band instrumentation while clad in suits and ties. But for nearly two decades, the Raleigh, NC-based outfit has consistently crafted top-notch, original modern acoustic music that draws upon American roots forefathers like bluegrass inventor Bill Monroe and folk innovator John Hartford while acknowledging its own members’ backgrounds in rock ‘n’ roll.

Characterized by poignant songwriting and inventive arrangements, Chatham County Line’s latest album, Autumn, sees the quartet working comfortably in its sweet spot:  Built around songwriter/guitarist Dave Wilson’s clever lines and compelling vignettes, the record is a treasure trove of the wistful balladry and dynamic toe-tappers that’ve become the band hallmarks. John Teer (mandolin/fiddle), Chandler Holt (banjo), and Greg Readling (bass) add stellar three- and four- harmonies for vocal highlights, while their impeccable yet unconventional picking—rooted in bluegrass but informed by a wealth of other influences—impresses without overshadowing Wilson’s rich storytelling.

From elegant European concert halls to large American folk festivals, Chatham County Line has become a fixture on both sides of the Atlantic, where the musical relationships fostered by its consistent line-up are apparent through an unspoken chemistry that allows the freedom for improvisational flashes that seem as polished as the rest of its set. For a veteran ensemble that’s long made music on its own terms, perhaps its toughest task is now choosing which of the many gems from its seven albums get to shine in a given performance.

Balsam Range

To encapsulate, Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing. Tim also plays bass most of the time, and he will occasionally move his talents to the resonator guitar. His presentations are spontaneous, polished and professional. Buddy Melton is one of the most gifted tenor voices in bluegrass and Americana today. His range and tones largely give BALSAM RANGE its identifying sound, and his stellar fiddle playing supports the band’s programs equally. Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” His envied unique guitar style pairs perfectly with his energetic power singing. Caleb also delivers ballads with a perfectly toned, believable tenderness. Darren Nicholson is one of the most gifted mandolins players and harmony singers ever to come from the Southern Mountains. Darren’s studied, energetic performances rival those of the classic old guard performers, and his enthusiasm for American heritage music styles has no bounds. Marc Pruett plays traditional three finger banjo in intuitive and powerful ways that blend and compliment the influences in the band of jazz and bluegrass…country and gospel…and swing and old-time. Marc adds a credible entertainment experience of over 40 years to this fresh, unique Southern band…BALSAM RANGE.

Summer Brooke and Mountain Faith 

Since the year 2000, The Mountain Faith Band has performed their unique brand of Americana / Roots music to audiences from coast to coast at Fairs, Festivals, Colleges, Universities, Performing Arts Centers, Corporate Events, and Churches.

When their tour schedule allows, you may find the band performing a prepared program to promote literacy and character education at elementary and high schools along their route. Visiting hospitals to bring joy and entertainment to those who could use a lift is something MFB loves to do. Getting to know MFB is easy; their humility, kindness and love of community shines through on stage and casual conversation. Above all else, MFB is thankful for the opportunities God has provided them through music.

Blind Boy Paxton 

Although only in his 20s, Jerron "Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good. Paxton may be one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists that you have not heard of. Yet. And time is getting short, fast.
Paxton performed to a sold out audience for the Lead Belly Tribute at Carnegie Hall on February 4, 2016 along with the likes of Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Dom Flemons, Tom Paley, and other stars. It is no exaggeration to say that Paxton impressed.

Merchant's Road

Local New Bern band Merchant's Road has been playing around Eastern North Carolina and will bring its brand of bluegrass to Piggin' & Grinnin'. 

Strung Together 

Strung Together plays a variety of types of music.  The common thread for us is that they are all songs that they love.  Folk, old-timey, Americana, spirituals, a bit of bluegrass and a dash of country…each of these songs tells a story, and they have each become part of the Strung Together story as we have learned to play them together and put our own spin on each one.
A local New Bern family band, Strung Together was started by parents George and Dare Oliver to give their three musically-inclined children an outlet for their talents. Now, George, Dare, Catherine, Abigail, and Mason enjoy bringing their unique sound to Eastern North Carolina. 


Tryon Palace

Event Price

General Admission $35 Tryon Palace Foundation Members: GA $30 All VIP tickets have sold out for this event.
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