Presented by the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce, the Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival is considered one of the most popular sanctioned barbecue competitions in the United States. All proceeds benefit the Chamber's operating budget and help fund the Carolina Foothills Chamber Foundation.
But it's far more than that. There's something fun for everyone here.
Remember: For your health and safety, NO pets or coolers allowed. NO BACKPACKS. ALL bags are subject to inspection.
The 2015 Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. The Festival is held each year at Harmon Field in Tryon, N.C.
Admission is FREE for everyone on Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. All other times, adult tickets are $8, with children 12 and under admitted free.
FREE – we have lots of signs to direct you to ample field parking. Buses run continuously between the Main Gate and parking area to carry you quickly and conveniently back and forth. Spacious for all your purchases and handicap accessible, this free service is just another way for us to thank you for visiting us!
You must convert your dollars to BBQ Bucks. You can purchase food ONLY with BBQ bucks. Your cash and credit cards are good only at the gate, the merchandise tent and the craft fair. There is an ATM machine on the grounds for your convenience. There are several BBQ Bucks booths, so if you see a long line at one booth, look for another
Festival Entertainment - Music on Two Stages!
Located right in the heart of the festival, the Main Stage hosts the big acts and headliners. There’s lots of space to dance in front of the stage and, when the sun goes down, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on! The Riverside Stage, located in an idyllic spot along the Pacolet River, is a more intimate venue. It features a variety of entertainment including some Main Stage performers who enjoy being closer to their audiences, some “Up-and-Comers,” just trying out their wings, and also the occasional specialty act - like a magic show aimed at the children, for instance.
For more information on the Festival's entertainment schedule and lineup, visit our Festival Music page. This year's lineup hasn’t yet been announced, but you can get the flavor by reading about last year’s entertainers.
Foothills Craft Fair
Bring your canvas shopping bag and prepare to be delighted by the fine items in the Foothills Crafts Fair. Dotted along the Pacolet River, many of our artisans demonstrate their skills and enjoy chatting with you about their craft. We know of one of our guests who comes back year after year to accomplish most of her holiday shopping at the Fair! If you’d like to participate, visit the Crafts page and download an application.
All food vendors are located in the infield area on the big oval in front of the main stage, and all food is purchased with BBQ Bucks, so look for the booths that sell the bucks first.
If you like your food cooked low & slow, then step right up and order some of our BBQ. The folks selling you your ‘Q in the infield area are also competing for prizes and championship status in our contest, so you know you’re getting the best of the best! We only invite a small handful of our cookers— most of whom are also professional restaurateurs and caterers—to vend to our festival goers.
What would a food event be without delicious sweets and treats? Every year we invite many different food vendors to apply and then we cull the cream of the crop to offer you all of your favorites and maybe a few new delights, too! Thirsty? You can find exotic beers as well as wine by the glass in the Beergarden/Vineyard Tent. Our BBQ vendors have tea, and please check out our Non-BBQ Food Vendors for other beverages such as fresh-squeezed lemonade. The festival also sells bottled water, sodas and beer throughout the infield area; perfect for a fine summer day!
Vendors, be sure and visit the Vendors page.
The heart and the soul of the Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival is where our competition cook teams set up their rigs to vie for prestige, cash prizes and awards in this, the North Carolina State Barbecue Championship. The top ranking team from North Carolina also wins the coveted Governor’s Trophy. Teams must compete in all four Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned categories; Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork and Beef Brisket to be considered for Grand Champion. The judging for the main event is on Saturday afternoon and awards are announced in the late afternoon in the Open Air Gym area.
Judging is by KCBS certified judges and we use a double blind system to ensure a fair and equal contest. Although the smell of sweet and spicy smoke will make your mouth water in anticipation, there is no food sold to the public in the competition area—only in the infield area.
On Friday, the teams that wish may compete in our annual “Anything But” and “Dessert” events (Anything But refers to any entrees other than the four categories required in the Main event—chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket). Celebrity judges (special friends of the Festival) are invited to participate under the direction of KCBS certified judges. These events take place in the Open Air Gym late Friday afternoon.
Cookers, be sure and visit Cookers page.
Many of our cook teams offer their sauces and rubs to you through our Cooker Store. Come, pick out your favorites to take home—and pick up a few extras to give as gifts, too. Cooker Store is located alongside the BBQ Merchandise Tent.
Rides & Games
Kids of all ages will enjoy the Kids Fun Park, with age appropriate rides and amusements. Unlimited ride bracelets are available for each ride session. There are two sessions each day— from opening until 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. We’ll post the 2015 info as soon as it is available.
Come browse our Main Street vendors for a diverse offering of goods and services. For information on becoming a Main Street Vendor, visit the Vendors page.
Stroll of Fame
As you enter the Festival grounds, just beyond Main Street, notice the colorful and informative banners hanging on the fence. These banners represent dozens of local businesses who support the Festival. If you would like to become a Banner Sponsor, visit our Sponsors page and download a Sponsor Brochure or banner application.
Special Events (SATURDAY ONLY)
- Hawg Run - This is a Poker Run originating in Greenville and terminating at the Festival on Saturday. There will be a prize for the best poker hand. Visit the Hawg Run page to learn more and to enter.
- Classic Car Show, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance - Come enjoy a stroll back in time as antique car owners share their lovingly restored/maintained cars. Great fun for the whole family! To learn more, of if you have a car you'd like to display, visit the Car Show page.
Going Green – Our Recycling Initiative
We set a goal, starting with Festival 2006 to reduce our landfill waste by 75% in three years. We fell only slightly short of that substantial goal in 2008, and in 2009 did succeed in an 80% reduction insofar as the festival goers were concerned. Great cooperation all around.
Finding the Festival
The Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival is held each year at Harmon Field in Tryon, N.C. Use Google Maps to plot a course from any address to the Festival grounds or click here for more directions.