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Spring twang

Get your hip-waders ready for the festival season

Reports from various groundhogs notwithstanding, we are winding down this winter thing. One sure sign of that is the emergence of groggy publicists from their dens and subsequent e-mails and faxes on the upcoming outdoor concert and festival schedules.

As far as regular venues go, the folks at Alltel Pavilion already have released a preliminary (and country-heavy) list that includes the likes of Reba McEntire, Widespread Panic, Steven Curtis Chapman, Velvet Revolver, Hoobastank, Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson, Brooks & Dunn and Big & Rich. The amphitheater at Cary's Regency Park so far has booked in their North Carolina Symphony dates along with assorted movie nights. No word yet on what the N.C. Museum of Art, which lost some big acts to bad weather last year, plans for the season.

As far as festivals go, we are a merely a month or so from things kicking into high gear. Here's a quick look at what's on tap for spring:

April 14-17--Saxapahaw: North Carolina Redbud Bluegrass Festival (www.redbudfestival.4t.com) with Grass Cats, Steep Canyon Rangers, Hwy 61 Bluegrass Band and others.

April 21-24--Silk Hope: Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance with hosts Donna the Buffalo, of course, along with Avett Brothers, Big Fat Gap, Charles Pettee and Folk Psalm, Hobex, Jump Little Children, Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco, Mamadou Diabate, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Two Dollar Pistols and others. More information is at www.shakorihills.org.

April 28-May 1--Wilkesboro: Merlefest '05 with Allison Krause & Union Station, George Hamilton IV & V, Corey Harris, Bela Fleck, John Cowan and the usual (and stellar) list of suspects. A full rundown is at www.merlefest.org.

Music notes
Evidently, he practiced.
We've seen the results here, but now Carrboro's Greg McCallum is getting his chance to do his thing at Carnegie Hall. The pianist's New York solo debut will be in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 17. The show's a benefit for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a nonprofit organization nominated for the 2003 and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize (co-director David Portorti lives in Cary). McCallum's performance, "World Quilt for Peace," features piano music from around the world by Scarlatti, Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, Bartok, Medtner, Gottschalk and Rzewski.

If you can't make the New York show, you can catch it March 13 in Sanford at a Habitat for Humanity benefit at Trinity Lutheran Church, or April 10 at The United Church of Chapel Hill for another benefit for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

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