This annual grassroots festival has grown steadily from a one night benefit party on the banks of the French Broad to an all weekend festival featuring some of the best music in the area and a number of outdoor events in celebration of this beautiful river and setting.
Date: May 4- May 6, 2012
Location: The festival takes place at the Hot Springs Campground & Spa, just 45 minutes north of Asheville, and sits on the edge of this historic town that is surrounded by national forest and is a crossroads of the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River.
Music / entertainment: The Gourds, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Balsam Range, Sol Driven Train, The Legendary Singing Stars, Eyes of the Elders, Darren Nicholsen Band, Kung Fu Dynamite, American Anodyne, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and more! This festival always has a few surprises such as a juggling fire show, kid’s parade, trapeze artists, fireworks, late night acoustic jams, and watch out for flying marshmallows.
Outdoor events: You can enjoy the outdoors by participating in the raft race, a 9 mile whitewater race that finishes at the festival, paddling “with the pros”, or the 25 mile mountain bike race. And if you’re not feeling too competitive, you can take a nice hike on the AT or just hang out by the river, listening to the music.
The Raft Race will be held on Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 am. The biggest mass start whitewater raft race in the southeast. The race begins in Barnard , North Carolina and ends at the festival in beautiful Hot Springs , NC. During the 9 mile race, you will experience Class 1-4 whitewater excitement, as well as bumping boats, crazy people, and a lot of heckling. See website for details to pre-register for a spot on a raft with guide.
The Mountain Bike Race will take place Saturday, May 5 at 10 am. Registration fees are $15 for non-festival participants, and free for folks attending the festival. There will be prizes for the top finishers. Please plan to arrive at 9 am for pre-race registration and route information. For more info regarding the race and pre- registration, check out www.frenchbroadriverfestival.com.
Paddle with the Pros! Space is limited so sign up early! Saturday, May 5 offers a chance to paddle with an Open Canoe legend. Three time World Champion, Eli Helbert, will be leading a canoe clinic for folks with their own boat and gear. This will be great for boaters ofall skill levels. Sign up for Paddle with the Pros at the festival information booth on Friday afternoon or evening. Space will be limited, so get there early!
.Bring the Kids! Kids 11 and under are free and The Kid’s Village sponsored by Families Together has a terrific line up of fun activities including inflatables and Becky the Balloon Lady making costumes and fun balloon shapes for the Annual FBRF Kid’s Parade. Becky brings an entourage of fun folks that juggle, play with fire, and love to create an entertaining atmosphere for kids of all ages! Kid’s parade on Saturday led by Sol Driven Train, and a kid’s bike race around the campground on Saturday as well.
Food, prizes and more: There are plenty of food vendors or you can dine out in one of Hot Springs restaurants. See lots of outdoor gear and win some of it in the raffle and silent auction. Kids area. Sand volleyball. Spa. River. Mountains. Sleeping is optional.
Good Cause: Over the years, The French Broad River Festival has donated over $100,000 to designated local charities such as Manna Food Bank, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of WNC, Eliada Home, Homeward Bound of Asheville, and American Whitewater. Proceeds in 2011 will be donated to the Hot Springs Community Learning Center, Homeward Bound and American Whitewater.
Tickets include camping, music, registration fees for whitewater and biking events (if you have your own boat/ bike), one raffle ticket, festival schwag, and good times.
~ $70 plus Ticketweb fees if bought online before April 20th. ~ After 4/20 price increases. Gate admission will be $80. Saturday only passes at gate $45 ~Children under 11 get in free.
Rafting plus Admission:
For those without boats but who would like to participate in the race, a limited number of tickets are available. These include a spot in a raft for the raft race with a guide, plus everything the general admission ticket offers. Check the website for more details. Tickets are on sale now at www.frenchbroadriverfestival.com.
French Broad River Festival celebrates river / outdoors
Have you ever floated down Section 9 of the French Broad River? In my experience there are few better ways to get away from the fast pace of modern life and to see this beautiful part of the world the way the Cherokees saw it, who actually called this section of the river Tahkeyostee (“where they race”). After several hours on the river, you arrive in the little town of Hot Springs, where throughout the 19th century a stream of wealthy visitors came via railroad to “take the waters” and enjoy the entertainments provided by a series of luxury hotels built adjacent to the thermal springs, along the banks of the French Broad. Today the Appalachian Trail runs right down Main St. and the surrounding area offers abundant recreational opportunities including hiking, fishing and mountain biking.
15 years ago a couple of friends thought it would be fun to “race” down Section 9 of the French Broad River and then have a party on it’s banks in Hot Springs, with any proceeds from the party going to charity. Well, as you can imagine a good time was had by all and the “party” has grown exponentially to a weekend outdoor and family music festival encompassing the entire Hot Springs Campground with national and local recording artists on 2 stages, a mountain bike race, a kid’s village, arts and craft vendors, outdoor vendors, and great food. In 2011 the organizers held another event on the Fall Solstice, and the 1st annual French Broad Fall Fest was a big success. In addition, over $100,000 has been donated to charities including American Whitewater, Big Brother/Big Sisters of WNC, Caring for Children, Eliada Home, Hot Springs Community Learning Center and more.
The 15th annual festival is set for May 4 – May 6, 2012 where the French Broad River meets the Appalachian Trail at the beautiful Hot Springs Campground & Spa. Festival begins at 4:00 on Friday, May 4 and ends Sunday, May 6. Early Bird tickets are $70 online (www.FrenchBroadRiverFestival.com) prior to 4/20/12. After 4/20/12, tickets will be $80 online or at the gate. See website details or call 828-230-4054.
Musical acts include The Gourds, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Balsam Range, Sol Driven Train, The Legendary Singing Stars, Eyes of the Elders, Darren Nicholson Band, American Anodyne, Kung Fu Dynamite, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and more. This festival always has a few surprises such as a juggling fire show, kid’s parade, trapeze artists, fireworks, late night acoustic jams, and watch out for flying marshmallows! Proceeds from this year’s festival will be donated to American Whitewater and the Hot Springs Community Learning Center.