This is the inaugural year for Cave Fest, a music festival held at The Caverns, home to a renowned music hall in a cave beneath the Cumberland Plateau in rural Tennessee. During the pandemic, The Caverns has built an above-ground amphitheater, which will serve as the main stage for Cave Fest. The festival lineup includes jam bands and modern bluegrass acts on the above-ground stage, with the underground room hosting various jam sessions. Headliners are Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, the Infamous String Dusters and Yonder Mountain String Band. A festival ticket includes an on-site camping spot, so fans don’t have to drive to the nearest hotels miles away from Manchester and Monteagle. For an additional fee, Dancin’ Dave’s, a festival camping company, offers complete tent setups with cots and more for those who don’t want to haul camp gear and pitch their own tents.
October 8-9. $99 and up. Dancin’ Dave’s complete camping setup $225 and up. 555 Charlie Roberts Road, Pelham, Tennessee. 931-516-9724, www.thecaverns.com.
South Carolina State Fair
For a traditional fall experience, head three hours east on I-20 to Columbia for the South Carolina State Fair. This 12-day event has a history dating back to 1869 and offers everything one would expect of a classic state fair: a downtown area with rides, kid-friendly entertainment, plenty of food vendors and of drinks selling amusement park food, a circus tent, horse shows, blue ribbon farming competitions, arts and crafts, petting zoo, carnival games and more. Take in the neon glow of the festivities from above with a slow whirl on the giant Ferris wheel or the Skyglider chairlift that soars above the length of the fairgrounds. And come hungry so you can eat lots of corn dogs, funnel cakes, candy apples, fried pies and more.
October 12-23. $20 at the door, $10 to $15 in advance. 1200 Rosewood Drive, Colombia, SC 888-444-3247, www.scstatefair.org.
Southern Book Festival
Bookworms and bibliophiles from around the world congregate at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. It is one of the oldest literary festivals in the country. After two years of virtual events due to the pandemic, this year marks the return of an in-person festival to public spaces in downtown Nashville between the Tennessee State Capitol building and the Nashville Public Library. Among the more than 200 authors on the bill for 2022 are Jami Attenberg, Rachel Kushner, Tayari Jones, Imani Perry, Diane Kruger and Silas House. Two large hotels – The Hermitage and the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown – are adjacent to the festival site.
October 14-16. Free. Legislative Plaza/War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville. 615-770-0006, softestofbooks.org.
The Get Out Festival
GO Fest for locals, Anthem Go Outside is Roanoke, Virginia’s premier outdoor event. It takes place over three days in the streets and green spaces of the city center and is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts of all types and levels, including cyclists, hikers, paddlers, climbers and hikers. fishermen. The purpose of the festival is not to watch — although you can certainly do that — but to get people moving. Have you ever tried paddleboarding? You can go to one of the temporary shallow pools set up across the street. Try out a bike, climb a rock climbing wall, learn to fly and take part in many other outdoor recreational activities. When it’s time to unwind, head to one of the beer gardens, the live music stages, or catch a film screening at a traveling version of the Banff Mountain Film Festival being held at GO Fest this year.
October 14-16. Free. Centered around Elmwood Park in the heart of downtown Roanoke, 505 Williamson Road, Roanoke, Virginia. 540-343-1550, roanokegofest.com.
Kentuck Arts Festival
Steeped in folk arts, crafts and culture, this is the 51st year of this festival in Northport, Alabama, on the north side of the Black Warrior River across from Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama . Kentuck was the name of the original settlement in the region. The festival is organized by the Kentuck Arts Center, known for its diverse programming and cross-cultural focus. The two-day festival highlights more than 270 artists selling their work in Kentuck Park. Craft demonstrations, children’s activities, live music and a stage dedicated to spoken word artists are also part of the festivities. For the first time, the Kentuck Gallery Shop will be open during festival days this year. It is located in the heart of downtown Northport, less than a mile from the festival site.
October 15-16. $10 daily, $15 weekends. 3401 5th St., Northport, Alabama. 205-758-1257, www.kentuck.org.
Forgotten Music Festival
If you love blues and the beach, Forgotten Music Fest makes a good combo of both. Held at George Core Park on St. Joseph’s Bay in the booming town of Port St. Joe, Florida, the festival brings top blues-based artists to this lesser-known location in the Florida Panhandle, which made an impressive recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Michael. in 2018. The festival stage sits in the shadow of the historic Cape San Blas lighthouse and steps from the bay’s white sand beach. The extensive lineup includes the lo-fi rockabilly of Joel DaSilva, the juke joint vibe of John Bull Trio, the energetic Cat Daddy Blues Band and the jazz-infused sounds of JP Soars Gypsy Blues Revue with Anne Harris. If country music is your thing, Port St. Joe is also home to Blast on the Bay (October 20-23) which attracts Nashville’s top songwriters.
October 8-9. $15 per day. George Core Park, 162 Miss Zola’s Drive, Port St. Joe, Florida. 850-731-1058, www.forgottenmusicfestival.com.
The barbecue party
Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Lexington considers itself the barbecue capital of the world. The city holds a massive one-day festival every October to celebrate its most famous food item. Now in its 38th year, around 200,000 people attend the Barbecue Festival to feast on a Lexington-style barbecue – a shoulder of pork cooked slowly and slowly over hickory wood, drizzled with a thin vinegar sauce and served chopped with a side of that same fine sauce. Pitmasters serve the cue from three tents spread across the festival grounds while more than 400 exhibitors sell other goodies and crafts from booths along Main Street. Other highlights are pig racing, a vintage car show, a bike stunt show, rides and games for kids, and seven live entertainment stages.
October 22. Free. Along Main Street in Uptown Lexington. Lexington Visitor Center, 114 East Center St., Lexington, NC. 866-604-2389, www.lebarbecuefestival.com.
Southeast Tiny House Festival
Anyone curious about the small house movement or interested in being a part of it can see what it’s all about this fall at the Southeastern Small House Festival in the small town of Danville, central Georgia. A partnership between the Atlanta-based nonprofit MicroLife Institute and Hummingbird Tiny Home Rentals, the festival will feature more than 20 tiny homes open for tours and a speaker showcase featuring experts in sustainability, urban planning and micro-living. The keynote speaker will be Zack Giffin, co-host of the A&E reality series “Tiny House Nation.” The bucolic setting of the event site contains a pumpkin patch and petting zoo. Take a hay ride in the pasture and try your hand at ax throwing between visits to small houses.
October 22-23. $20 daily, $35 weekend, $30 in advance. 3662 Old Macon Road, Danville. TinyhouseFestival.com.