Performing Arts

Summer Lights at North Carolina Arboretum

Summer Lights at North Carolina Arboretum

Outdoor events garden. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Arboretum

By Natasha Anderson

North Carolina Arboretum presents a new Summer Lights outdoor concert series and projected-light show nightly at 9 p.m. from Wednesday, August 2, through Sunday, August 6. The show, held in the Arboretum’s Outdoor Events Amphitheatre, features images projected onto the woodland forest backdrop and synchronized to music performed by the Blue Ridge Orchestra (BRO).

“BRO is honored and enthused to be part of this exceptional partnership with the Arboretum,” says conductor Milton Crotts. “The concept of an orchestra and light show collaboration is unique in my conducting experience, and is bound to be a special event that audiences of all ages will enjoy and remember for a long time.”

Summer Lights at North Carolina Arboretum

Blue Ridge Orchestra. Photo by Anthony Harden/Alt Media Pros

The orchestra will perform classical pieces, Broadway favorites and well known pop songs from artists including the Beatles and Lady Gaga. A custom light expression developed by Highland Mediaworks, a video production service in Franklin, NC, will accompany each musical piece. Summer Lights was created based on the popularity of the Arboretum’s Winter Lights holiday exhibit.

“This show is an exciting experiment, much different from Winter Lights,” says Drake Fowler, chief operating and financial officer for the Arboretum. “It is a more intimate experience, allowing the Arboretum to showcase some of Asheville’s most creative talents. While outdoor concerts may be a commodity in our area, using trees as a canvas on which to project a synchronized light show makes this really unique.”

North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. Tickets to Summer Lights must be purchased in advance online at and are date-specific. Pricing is $18 for adults and $12 for children ages 5–11. Handling fees and sales tax are not included in the ticket price. Members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society will receive a $2 discount per ticket purchased. Tickets include event admission and parking. Gates will open at 8 p.m. for ticket holders and the show will begin promptly at 9 p.m. All proceeds raised during Summer Lights will support the Arboretum’s programs, exhibits and facilities year-round.

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