Review of Eno Festival


by: James Rockefeller Gray

The new phrase that’s sweeping this city is “Durham, where you can find your cool.”1 It describes the endless possibilities to explore here if you open your mind, and it stands true on 4th of July.

This year I found my cool early in the day with the annual July 4th FESTIVAL for the ENO, where over the years they have raised tremendous funds to support the Eno River. The festival lasted until July 5th, a full eight hours, from 10am- 6pm, both days. I attended the festival with my friend Jordan Dupree (from the band Jordan and the Sphinx) who took the pictures.

I was originally ecstatic to attend the festival. I had never been, which embarrasses me because I’m a native of this town and the festival is thirty-five years old. The idea of a music festival on the 4th of July intrigued me, until I researched the bands that were playing. After clicking on music links and hearing African drum, women howling, or instrumental Celtic music, I knew I was only going to one of the two days of this festival. Sure, there were some standout local performers, such as ‘The Beast,’ ‘Lila,’ ‘Emily Mussolino’, and ‘Dark Water Rising’, but it wasn’t enough to truly excite the veteran music goer in me. Regardless, I went on the actual holiday and skipped Saturday, and ultimately really wished ‘The Beast’ played on the day I attended.


The best part of the festival was by far the food. Jordan and I stuffed our faces, and I have to give a shout out to the vendors who helped make this holiday special. Captain Pancho’s Food Truck was my favorite food vendor that came. The owner was very friendly, and she made us two chicken burritos.  You could taste the fresh authentic ingredients. I took a picture with the owner after she told me ten times she didn’t want to. [At least we didn’t publish it.-ed.Jamaica, Jamaica! was amazing, too. The owner gave Jordan and me a free piece of Jerk Chicken. We also ate a crab cake sandwich from Liv’s Food Truck and a deep fried Milky Way. Sweetwater Brewing, famous for their 420, came in full force with other Sweet Water brands. Between great beer and food, I was a happy camper.

Bands I would recommend to the festival for next year- The Chit Nasty Band, Cracker and the Doctor, Jordan and the Sphinx, Spider Bags, The Beauty Operators, and The Gravy Boys. These bands will make sure the festival rocks throughout the whole day.


James Rockefeller Gray 


James Rockefeller Gray is a promoter, writer,  and native of Durham, NC.  He’s an alumni of the University North Carolina School of the Arts, and has also studied acting at S.U.N.Y. Purchase College. A socialite and local celebrant in his own way, James Rockefeller Gray plays a major role in the city’s night life and music scene.  His recent work includes bringing Reality TV star and Bounce Music legend, Big Freedia to Durham, both for PRIDE 2012 at MOTORCO and at THE PINHOOK in November 2013. James has also helped promote interest in and awareness of the local BURLESQUE community by creating, and promoting a series of BURLESQUE DANCE PARTIES with DJ SHAHZAD and MISS BLISS.

Follow James Rockefeller Gray on Facebook.



1Ed. note or something like that in the vernacular.

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