Tuck Fest is a multi-day festival that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle through nearly 150 clinics, musical performances, races, yoga practices, films, and more over four days. With its packed schedule and attendance, the weekend of April 25 through 28 warrants a little extra planning and preparation than your average weekend at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Here’s how to make the most of Tuck Fest, from parking and vendors, to food and beverage, to weekend highlights.
Plan Your Day
Tuck Fest runs Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening, with live music, races, competitions, clinics, yoga, and films stacked throughout the weekend. We recommend reviewing the schedule and map in detail to prioritize your plan. Find a printable version of the daily schedule and map on the Festival Map page.
Tickets and Add-ons
Tuck Fest is free to attend. To enjoy music, participate in clinics and land-based yoga, or peruse vendor village, the only thing you will need to pay is standard parking fees (on-site parking is $6 per day for cars and motorcycles; $18 per day for vans, RVs, and buses).
Tuck Fest isn’t just a spectator festival. If you would like to take part in one of the 35+ races or competitions, one flat fee will grant you access to every single competition over the weekend (except for the Deep Water Solo Competition – that is invite only). If you have your eye on rafting, ziplining, flatwater SUP, or any other of our activities, activity passes will be available all weekend.
If private bathrooms, a private bar, and catered meal is your speed, there are still some Terrace Access passes available for $50 which offer a premiere view of the live music and festivities.
Parking and Arrival
Arrive early. Peak traffic times are typically in the late afternoon and evening before the musical headliners; Saturday is high traffic throughout the day. Allow yourself ample time to arrive if you are planning to attend a specific event or performance. Parking can be up to a half mile walk from the main facility, so wear comfortable walking shoes. Keep in mind that as with any festival or concert of this size, there will be a significant volume of guests leaving the facility immediately following the final performance. Stick around for the encore, another beer, or to hang out with your friends while the mass exodus occurs.
We welcome the use of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing options. There will be a designated and free ridesharing drop-off point on the Parkway. From the drop-off point, it is a half mile walk to the main facility. If you would like to be dropped off at the main facility, standard parking fees ($6 per vehicle) will apply.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department controls traffic on all public roads. CMPD can exercise the right to reroute or even temporarily close access at their discretion in order to alleviate extreme traffic congestion in the surrounding areas. Pay close attention to the USNWC Facebook page, where access updates are posted as conditions change.
Food and Beverage
While there is no outside food and beverage allowed at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, there are numerous options around the facility to grab a cold beverage and a full meal or quick snack.
There will be over 100 beers on tap during Tuck Fest. While the Pump House Biergarten, The Market Bar and River’s Edge are always options, cold drinks can also be purchased in the Trail Center, Kayak Center, and Outfitters. Take advantage of pop-ups and can bars all over the festival, including at the Big Drop Tents (across the river from the River Jam stage) and the Dam Bar (across the bridge behind the River Jam stage).
For food, don’t forget about the Pit and Land Yacht on the southern side of Belmont Abbey College Island, offering Southern BBQ and Latin American fare, respectively. The Pavilion will be offering food such as burgers, hot dogs, and french fries, and the Tuck Fest Market (located at the Big Drop tents across the river from the River Jam stage) will be offering chips, wraps, and sandwiches. The Market, Trail Center, Kayak Center, and Outfitters also offer snacks such as trail mix, energy bars, and chips for a quick refuel.
View all Food and Beverage Hours of Operation on the Tuck Fest Food and Beverage page.
Tuck Fest features over 80 outdoor industry brands across numerous disciplines. Within the Vendor Villages, Tuck Fest-ers can explore new products and demo top of the line gear such as mountain bikes and whitewater kayaks.
There are four Vendor Villages spread throughout the facility. The Main Vendor Village has a little bit of everything, from brands such as Keen and Teva, to Hydro Flask and Recover. Climbing specific vendors such as Black Diamond and Petzl will be concentrated around the Deep Water Solo wall. Bike specific vendors such as BikeSource, Rockgeist, and Shimano will be on the Levee (behind the River Jam stage). Paddling vendors such as Pyranha, NRS, and Hala Gear will be around the Kayak Center. View the Tuck Fest map and full vendor list online, and leave some room in your bag for fresh gear and giveaways.
With such a packed schedule, Tuck Fest offers something for everyone, from hardcore outdoorspeople, to weekend warriors, to those who simply enjoy watching the action. Each Tuck Fest attendee has their own favorite events, but there are a few that are crowd favorites.
One of Tuck Fest’s most compelling events is the Deep Water Solo Competition. Offering a $15,000 cash purse, and drawing some of the top climbers in the world, this competition is held on the world’s first permanent Deep Water Solo wall. Check out seeding and open gym on Friday afternoon starting at 2:00pm and finals on Saturday starting at 4:30pm.
Tuck Fest would not be complete without its musical performances. This year features headlining acts Tyler Childers, The Milk Carton Kids, Fantastic Negrito, and J. Roddy Walston & The Business. Other acts include The Marcus King Band, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Caamp, and more.
Kid Friendly Events
Don’t leave the kids at home. Events are open to participants of all ages (unless stated otherwise), and Tuck Fest has numerous events created specifically for the kids…
- Kids’ Yoga
- Youth Obstacle Race
- Family Obstacle Race
- Young & Old Tandem Kayak Race
- Youth Trail Race
- Youth Short-Track Mountain Bike Race
- Grom Mob – Youth Kayaking Clinic
- Chris Clark Bicycle Stunt Show
- Native Snakes of NC
- Bike Art for Kids
- Wildlife Rescue 101
- Kid’s DIY Seed Balls
Tuck Fest is a rain or shine event. In the case of adverse weather, some events may be shifted to accommodate. In the case of precipitation, bring a rain jacket and soak it in.