Lake Norman Publications

Outdoor concert celebrates return of live music

On-stage performances and unexpected surprises are part of the attractions at the annual Barnstock music festival. /Courtesy of Barnstock

HUNTERSVILLE — Barnstock, a highly-anticipated outdoor BYOB music festival, is returning to Huntersville after a two-year hiatus. 

The event, founded in 2009 by Davidson native Miles Brown and his siblings Daniel and Julia, began as a high school benefit concert and has since evolved into an annual music festival that has raised more than $275,000 for local and national charitable organizations. 

This year, proceeds will benefit E2D, a north Mecklenburg-based nonprofit that works to “ensure that all students have affordable access to essential at-home technology and digital literacy training to support academic success and prepare students for college, careers and beyond.” 

“From the first Barnstock in 2009, the community service aspect of Barnstock has been just as important as the music,” said Tony McLean Brown, Miles, Daniel and Julia’s dad. “Over the years, the bands, fans and sponsors have had as much fun helping others in need as they have had dancing in the downpour of rain that traditionally occurs in late summer.”

McLean said he’s particularly proud that Julia and her brothers decided on supporting E2D this year.  

“The digital divide is very real in North Carolina and E2D is on the front line of promoting digital equity for all students in our state,” he added.

E2D Founder Pat Millen said his organization continues to be inspired by the “local and grassroots nature” of Barnstock’s effort to support economic mobility for families.

“COVID-19 revealed to everyone that the need for digital inclusion could not be more important than right now,” he said. “We are privileged to work with the whole Brown family on this wonderful event.”

Barnstock Director Julia Brown said her team, which branded the comeback event as a “revival,” initially was hesitant to start the planning process, since it was uncertain what coronavirus-related precautions might be in place by the time of the concert.

“We knew we had a pretty solid formula, since Barnstock is officially outdoors,” she said. “We’re excited to hopefully have everyone come back out. We’re hoping everybody is itching to get back to live music and to be back at the barn.” 

This year’s lineup features regional artists like Tin4, Little Bird, Late Night Special and The 502s. Artists partnered with recording specialist Karl Gunther, who has worked with hundreds of local acts, will also fill the schedule with a wide variety of music styles, Tony McLean said. 

Want to go?

The gates at Barnstock, 15300 Black Farms Road, will open at 4 p.m on July 31. Music will run from 5 to 11 p.m. Tickets for those ages 21 and older are available for $40 online at Free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and overnight passes can be purchased at the event.

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