The North Carolina Azalea Festival has announced a new location for its headliner concerts. Starting in 2013, the Festival will hold its nationally-touring headliner concerts at Cape Fear Community College, adjacent to the Schwartz Center. Past acts for the North Carolina Azalea Festival include: Carrie Underwood, Frank Sinatra, Jessica Simpson, the Avett Brothers, Patti Labelle, Scotty McCreery, and Bill Cosby.
Cape Fear Community College has shown a great amount of support for the Festival over the years. Cape Fear Community College has partnered with the Festival to provide staging areas for the Parade and Street Fair. The Schwartz Center has also been used for past Festival events including the Shag Contest and the Cake Challenge. Each year the college also has a float in the parade with their mascot Ray the Sea Devil along with a number of their students.
The move comes as the Festival is working to attract larger known artists and celebrities, while still being able to provide citizens and guests with a desirable ticket price. The new concert venue will be able to hold an estimated 3,000 – 5,000 more guests than the previous venue. The new venue will also allow the Festival to manage food and beverage sales.
This increase in available tickets, as well as the new ability for food and beverage sales, will help allow the Festival to keep ticket prices desirable, while hopefully securing larger-known names and concert acts.
The new Festival concert venue will be held in the Front Street lot adjacent to the Cape Fear Community College’s Schwartz Center. Plans are well underway in building the concert venue to the highest quality and security standards in practice. The North Carolina Azalea Festival has worked and will continue to work diligently with Cape Fear Community College and local and state officials – as well as health and safety inspectors to ensure a pleasant and safe environment for concert goers.
The Festival has been in conversations with the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office regarding all aspects of the new venue. All groups are supportive of this change.
Concert dates and entertainment details are not established at this time. Concerts will be rain or shine events and general admission standing room. Plans are underway for a possible upgrade to “purchased seating,” and for a hospitality area for cash sponsors of the Festival. Food and beverages will be available for purchase as well. The Festival will use this concert venue during the weekend as its Street Fair “Main Stage,” where guests can enjoy local and regional artists for free or a nominal fee, depending upon the acts selected.
The Festival is making provisions for Cape Fear Community College student parking for any and all students who may be displaced during the Festival concert series, as well as making plans to further engage students in the Azalea Festival and its various events. Much like the North Carolina Azalea Festival, Cape Fear Community College touches many lives in the local area with over 30,000 students taking classes every year. The North Carolina Azalea Festival is excited about growing in its relationship with Cape Fear Community College.