The Orange Peel Review in Asheville, North Carolina
Local Business Reviews,  Attractions

The Orange Peel Review: The OG Place for Live Music

Live music fanatics, the average showgoer, the groupie, or anyone who has walked by this monumental building on a Saturday night in the summer all know one thing: The Orange Peel is the OG place for live music in Asheville. 

On the corner of Biltmore and Hillard, the brick building, adorned with orange-painted bubbles and a nostalgic orange marquee front and center, is nearly impossible to miss. The once skating rink turned R&B soul club, The Orange Peel has been recognized nationwide as one of the most unique and best places to see live music in the southeast. 

Known for their variety of acts, featuring everyone from up-and-coming performers to legendary artists, the small 1,100-capacity music venue is worth staking out a ticket to get inside and experience an intimate music experience in this growing age of amphitheaters and mega-concerts. 

I admittedly didn’t know The Orange Peel was once a skating rink, but having attended concerts there, I have yelled my sentiments on it looking like one over the din of the music. The large rustic wood floors just scream vintage. 

Without much indoor lobby space, the majority of the waiting to get in is exactly that – outside, rain or shine. Lines have been seen to wrap around the block, with concertgoers usually lined up with tallboys in hand, excitement present as they all anxiously wait. 

Asheville Live Music the Orange Peel
All images courtesy of The Orange Peel

My personal tip is to step over next door to Wicked Weed and grab yourself a pre-game beer and burger. The Orange Peel has very limited seating, with it mostly being reserved on the outskirts of the standing area for their “Peel Insiders Fan Club.” I need to save all my standing for the actual show. 

Being able to read the previous headliners and marquee of upcoming events is always a cool moment for me. Some huge acts have been to The Orange Peel over the years – Bob Dylan, Jack White, The Smashing Pumpkins, Post Malone, and the Beastie Boys, to name a few. 

The awe of these headliners in this tiny space in downtown makes you feel lucky to have gotten a ticket, like you are allowed into a coveted secret club that others have tried and failed to obtain membership to. Speaking of secrets, The Orange Peel has a semi-secret of their own, a speakeasy. 

Located below the main floor lies PULP. The bourbon lounge and speakeasy is open to showgoers of drinking age and houses over 400 types of bourbon. It’s a cozy space that changes its menu of crafted cocktails seasonally and live streams the concert upstairs. 

So if you want to check it out before the show, or during a reprieve, you won’t miss a beat. PULP also opens the space to various local comedians and musicians, so definitely check out their Instagram page to follow along. 

The Orange Peel Asheville,NC

Last time I was able to attend a show at The Orange Peel, it was for an act I have been a big fan of for the last few years. Sierra Ferrell, a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, is an eccentric newgrass type of musician that transcends multiple genres and eras. And the crowd was a true reflection of that. 

There was an equal representation of your underage hip Gen Xers, millennials like myself in basic denim shorts and Birkenstocks, and the old-school bluegrass lovers that were smart enough to get the few sparse chairs in the concert space. It was a refreshing surprise, and filled my hippy heart to see music bringing people from all walks of life together. 

The sold-out show didn’t feel too suffocating. Giant (I mean really massive) overhead fans adorned the ceiling, cooling off even the sweatiest of patrons. I spent a good bit underneath them, thankful for their breeze in the oppressive heat of stranger’s bodies. 

When Sierra and her bandmates came on, the space erupted. Donned in a floral dress and floral headpiece, she would have looked equally in place at a music festival or sweeping off the front porch. 

The Orange Peel Live Music

The notes of Sierra’s violin danced in harmony with the other violins, banjo, and guitars. The space carried the music perfectly, and no matter where I stood, I was able to hear everything with perfect clarity and no distortion. 

The atmosphere was nothing but positivity and uninhibited joy. Hours spent dancing, stomping, and yelling let me forget about all my responsibilities, if just for a few hours, and just have fun. Not to mention, it was a fantastic show. 

The Orange Peel, while putting on a variety of concerts of all different types of music, does more than just your traditional shows. Comedians, local and far, do a fair amount of stand-up shows, as well as local mic nights. 

There are kids winter dance parties that give kids of all ages a chance to dance, run, and get hype with a DJ spinning kid-approved jams. These events are held midday and have The Hop ice cream to supply all the sugar needed.  

The “Color Me Goodwill” fashion show is a fully seated, popular yearly event that showcases aspiring designers. The space is also available to rent out for weddings, receptions, or just a killer party for you and your closest 250 friends. The Orange Peel is super flexible on these private events, too. Adaptable to seating needs, catering, alcohol, and sound. 

The Orange Peel Review

If you’re a frequent concertgoer, then their loyalty program would be one worth looking into. For just $99/year, you and a guest receive a variety of perks, such as skipping the line, reserved seating, and access to presale tickets. 

If you’re looking for the best live music venues in Asheville, don’t forget to check out Rabbit Rabbit, too. The newest place for live music in town is a collaboration between The Orange Peel and Asheville Brewing Company, creating an outdoor space in downtown Asheville on Coxe Avenue that’s packed with live music and outdoor events. 

The Orange Peel’s website and socials are updated regularly, with all their shows listed. If you see something you’re interested in, snatch it up quickly, because shows tend to sell out fast! 

You can buy tickets online, over the phone, in person on show days, or at Harvest Records in West Asheville. More questions? Their website has an FAQ with just about anything you could want to know to prepare you for an awesome show. 

So, if seeing more live music is on your bucket list for the year, The Orange Peel is definitely a venue worth checking out to experience a piece of Asheville.  

Location: 101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville.

There you have it! Our review of The Orange Peel in Asheville. Have you been to The Orange Peel? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Ashley Reid is a freelance writer who feels blessed to have called Asheville home for the last five years. Born in the suburbs of Detroit, she spent her 20s living coastal in South Carolina before the Blue Ridge Mountains called her home. Ashley is a homeschooling mother to her two daughters, married to her high school sweetheart, and always looking to the horizon for her next adventure. Ashley moved to Western North Carolina after years of visiting on vacations and realized this place was way too beautiful to leave behind. The Pisgah National Forest, abundance of waterfalls, Blue Ridge Parkway, and plethora of tasty eats in the area won her over to the Tarheel State. She is happiest when she is riverside and is vehement about keeping herself and her children outdoors as much as possible. Ashley is a woman never short of a hobby or new interest. She writes for various publications and companies. She is a voracious reader, aspiring author, sewist, gardener, and amateur homesteader. She loves working with her hands and being with her kids. She has never considered being called weird an insult and has no problem telling strangers about her love of opossums or a new podcast episode. Ashley is always on the hunt for the best burger and coffee in town. She is passionate about wellness, kindness, and keeping childhood wild.

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