It may still be spring, but the summer vibes start early in Columbia SC and this month is proof enough of that. The music-filled weeks ahead are in good company alongside amazing eats, art and outdoor events and festivals. Make your May plans now and we’ll see you soon in the Heart of SC. 

Rosewood Crawfish Festival at South Carolina State Fairgrounds | May 6

Now in its 18th year, the Rosewood Crawfish Festival is set to bring back all the elements you know and love like live music (hello, headliner Edwin McCain), Cajun-Creole food favorites, the artist village and Lil’ Crawdaddy Carnival, plus a brand-new Crawdad Corner where you can upgrade from a plate of crawfish to your very own table spread. 

Thunderfest ’23 at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College | May 6

For only $15, you can enjoy an entire afternoon of live music from The Reggie Sullivan Band, Iliana Rose Salsa Band and Station Seven under the outdoor canopy behind the theatre. Feel free to bring chairs and blankets, but we have a feeling those will end up just being for show because it won’t be long before you’re up and dancing the day away. 

Rhythm on the River at West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheatre | May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27

Let’s keep the outdoor music train rolling, but how ‘bout a change of scenery? Set against the backdrop of the Gervais Street Bridge, Congaree River and downtown Columbia skyline is the Rhythm on the River concert series, back with some spring dates. Come on out to see who’s taking the stage each Saturday this month. 

2023 Red, White and Brews at Irmo Town Park | May 11

Of course referring to red and white wine and a selection of craft beer, Red, White and Brews delivers that sense of summer on the horizon with a day in the park to include the aforementioned refreshments, plus local food vendors, live music and even laser tag!

Art Blossoms at Columbia Museum of Art | May 11 – 14 

Featuring four jam-packed days of floral-themed events, come see CMA in bloom as Art Blossoms includes such recurring favorites as Roses and Rosé, art classes and the Mother’s Day Art Blossoms Brunch, as well as new programming like Gin Blossoms: A Botanical Tasting and Demonstration, exclusive tours and flower demonstrations by professional gardeners and florists.

2023 Columbia Black Expo | May 12 – 13 (Taste of Black Columbia at SCSM)

This two-day event begins on Friday with the Taste of Black Columbia event at the South Carolina State Museum, where you can sample a diverse array of food and beverage options from community establishments. On Saturday, the Black Expo moves things over to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and allows for minority-owned businesses to showcase their products and services, as well as aims to educate, enlighten and inspire the community.

12th Annual Lexington Wine Walk at Icehouse Amphitheater | May 13

Start flexing your tasting glass arm, because with “unlimited” samples available to you, you’ll be reaching out for and sipping on all of those generously offered pours for at least a couple hours.

Incubus with Coheed and Cambria at The Township Auditorium | May 24

This one’s for all of us who were downloading music from LimeWire and burning mix CDs in high school. Grab your tickets now and let the nostalgia wash over you.

South Carolina Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at South Carolina State Fairgrounds | May 27

The pros will know the best course of action is to stake out a spot in the fairgrounds and set up camp with blankets and chairs so you have a home base between visits to the different food trucks in attendance. Stay refreshed with craft beer, make some room for the next dish by playing lawn games and listen to live music all the while.

Woodstock at Steel Hands Brewing | May 27

Take it back to the summer of ’69 at Steel Hands with a groovy lineup of local musicians slated to play the hits of that decade. Tie-dye and flares strongly encouraged.