Governor Declares 2019 the Year of Music

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed 2019 “The Year of Music” to recognize North Carolina’s influence on America’s most important musical genres and to celebrate, support and sustain the state’s strong music heritage.

“From bluegrass to the blues, from gospel to funk, from beach music to indie and hip hop, North Carolina has been the birthplace of musical styles and iconic performers,” Cooper said in a news release. “The Year of Music is a celebration of our state’s arts and culture and the thousands of musicians who call North Carolina home.”

Activities will include a N.C. musicians’ stage at the second annual N.C. Folk Festival from Sept. 6 to 8 in downtown Greensboro.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in partnership with the N.C. Arts Council have developed The Year of Music to create greater visibility for the music and the musicians of the state and for the people who are important to understanding, preserving and promoting the state’s music story.

The proclamation was announced Monday by First Lady Kristin Cooper at the North Carolina Executive Mansion in conjunction with the release of the Oxford American’s annual Southern music issue on North Carolina.

Throughout 2019, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will celebrate all aspects of our state’s music industry from the composers, the musicians, the venues, listeners, and the communities that nurture and preserve the state’s richest music traditions.

“Music is universal in North Carolina, regardless of where you live in the state,” Susi H. Hamilton, secretary for the department, said in the news release. “North Carolinians are the heroes of many musical genres in America, reflecting our rich cultural heritage, our innovative spirit and the collaborative nature of our musical communities.”

The year-long celebration features:

• Daily posts of North Carolina multimedia music stories at

• Exclusive monthly live streams of performances.

• Commissioned North Carolina artist pairings.

• Curated “Tiny” concert films.

• North Carolina musician stages at the N.C. Folk Festival in Greensboro, MerleFest in Wilkesboro, Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh, and at other major festivals around the state.

• Educational programming and performances.

North Carolina is home to the first state-supported orchestra in the nation, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina and the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina are among the first cultural tourism projects that focus on music in the country.

North Carolina has long been an innovator of musical institutions.

“Musicians from North Carolina, both past and present, have made brilliant, often groundbreaking, contributions to many of America’s most important musical genres,” Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, said in the news release.  “It is now time to embrace our music for its key role in the creative economy and for its importance in shaping the cultural identity of the people and communities of our state.”

Year of Music