SMILEFEST XII: 6.2 - 6.4

Smilefest XII
June 2-4, 2006 Lake Toxaway, NC

Smilefest, one of the Southeast's most revered eclectic music and camping festivals, is slated for June 2-4, 2006, at the Gorges Music Park, in Lake Toxaway, NC. Joining headliners Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, and Sam Bush, more than thirty-five additional acts, representing the worlds of Bluegrass, Folk, Alt-Country, Americana, Jambands, World Music, Funk and Jazz, will appear on the two beautiful mountain view stages of this twelfth annual event.

Featured acts include New Monsoon, Everyone Orchestra, Herring-Rodgers-Sipe Project, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Steep Canyon Rangers, the Avett Brothers, Barefoot Manner, Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, Jeff Coffin's Mu'tet, Bill Evans' Soulgrass, Lotus, The Biscuit Burners, Hot Buttered Rum, and Acoustic Syndicate's Steve McMurry's Big Blue.

One particularly exciting highlight of the weekend's entertainment will involve an appearance by the Everyone Orchestra, featuring experimental guitar legend Adrian Belew. Created and conducted by percussionist Matt Butler, the EO is an interactive musical experience, melding active audience participation with the improvisational input of a revolving roster of all-star artists. Since the group's composition changes from event to event, each performance is a truly unique experience.

For Smilefest, the EO unit will include Butler, Belew (King Crimson, David Bowie, Tom Tom Club), keyboardist Dave McCracken (Donna the Buffalo), vocalist Tanya Shylock (Mountain of Venus), and bassist Tye North (Leftover Salmon). Joining this talented core will be guitarist Jimmy Herring (The Dead, Phil & Friends, The Allman Brothers, ARU), drummer Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, ARU, Susan Tedeschi), saxophonist Jeff Coffin (The Flecktones), fiddler Darol Anger (Psychograss), banjo hero Billy Constable (Sassagrass, Big Daddy Bluegrass Band), and mandolinist Danny Nicely (Journeyman Extraordinaire). While these particular artists have already been confirmed to appear with the Everyone Orchestra, with the high-energy appeal of this experience, there's no telling exactly how many other festival acts will choose to jump in at the last minute.

In addition to a full bill of world-class music, Smilefest 2006 will offer a robust Kids' Universe, diverse culinary offerings, a wide array of high-quality vendor merchandise, scenic waterfall exploration, beautiful hiking and biking trails, and free rustic camping. This year will also see the return of Smilefest's Festi-VOL Village, an interactive exhibit area where attendees will be introduced to worthy non-profit groups they can serve in their own communities once they return home.

Also joining the party are the Pnuma Trio, Dubconscious, Afromotive, Seepeoples, David Via and Corn Tornado, Town Mountain, Furnace Mountain, Hit and Run, Curtis Burch, Ralph Roddenberry, and Donna Hopkins.

Long known for going above and beyond to meticulously cater to the needs of artists and patrons alike, Smilefest's organizers have entered into a long-term partnership with Gorges Music Park to fully develop that site into a premier camping and performance venue. According to Event Director Bob Robertson, "For twelve years now, we've always listened to our crowd and tried our best to provide the features, activities and creature comforts they find lacking at other festival sites. To me, that's what really sets us apart, treating our attendees like family. So we're absolutely thrilled to team with the forward-thinking owners at GMP to work from the ground up to build in all the amenities our folks deserve."

While the physical move to GMP provides significantly more room for festival activities, Robertson points out that Smilefest's attractively intimate size will not quickly change. "Honestly, we'd more than likely be able to fit a ton of extra folks in this year, but we're not going to. Our people are used to our roomy camping areas and the ability to get close to their favorite artists. And that's the way we're going to keep it for them," he says.

Rounding out this year's bill are Packway Handle Band, Cyril Lance Band, Tanya Shylock, Infradig, Chuch, Dromedary Quartet, Scarecrow Collection, Green Lemon, Strut, Sugar and Spice, Irongrass, and AfterDark.

While $95 advance tickets and full festival information can be obtained at, the website provides info related to physical ticketing outlets and non-profit-supporting sales options, as well.

We are also very excited to announce that UNC Television will be showing the DVD from Smilefest 2004 on Saturday, May 27th at 6PM and 9PM, and also on Thursday June 1st at 9PM. More details can be found at

[Published on: 5/11/06]

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auster Mon 5/15/2006 10:47AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I hope they keep the boys with the night vision away...

hotmamas2cool starstarstar Thu 5/18/2006 08:42AM
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My Husband and i met at smilefest 2002 when they held it at union grove, north carolina and went back in 2003, but decided not to return. but now it's at a different location. I'm just curious if anyone had any other comments about this.

annabggg Wed 5/24/2006 04:52PM
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Yes, I heard last year referred to as "frown"fest...perhaps it is why they have relocated. But the waterfalls at new location sound sweet, the lineup looks good, and I will be in attendance. See yall there!

Head2 Wed 6/7/2006 01:15PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

smilefest 2006....Thanks for the setup Bob Robertson, Ian Moye,Gorges Park and surrounding police.Thankyou for invading our family and our rights.You abused what these events, these bands, the music, and spreading the love means to us and set us all up for tragedy. You invited us and Yonder, Keller, Sam, michael--they were all there--you simply forgot to tell us the police were also on the bill and they were presenting their new work-a sting oppereation.The cops were there in full force-serveral local and state dpartments. I have never seen cops abuse the right of power and threaten so many people We got set up and arrested with 3 Ounces of pot (only 1 is on the record) and $700 cash (NONE OF WHICH IS AT THE JAIL)Sadly we were not the only ones-there were many dreadlocks in the transylvania county jail.There is something going on here-did the production coordinators get in trouble and allow the police to do this to us to keep those sparkling records. Or did the police recognize our family of music lovers as a cash society with open minds and come in with the promise of creating revenue legally and OTHERWISE. Either way to my music loving friends-Don't go to Smilefest in NC-I do not support a festival that takes advantage of my rights, my culture, my family and you shouldn't either.THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THEY CAN TAKE FROM US Thanks smilefest for trying to bring us down, unfortunately for you no water can put out this fire.

Thelorax121 Sat 6/10/2006 09:01PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Head2 is completly right. I have never felt more insecure about the saftey of my rights than I did at this festival. The cops there were ticketing people in a systematic fashion that would make Henry Ford proud. On Friday I was convinced that smilefest was the best festival I had ever been to, but on saturday the police showed up to reap in their cash cows. I will be paying the fine along with all of you!