The NCMA presents Nickel Creek with Special Guest Aoife O’Donovan

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About Nickel Creek
Nickel Creek is the platinum-selling, internationally renowned roots trio of mandolinist Chris Thile, violinist Sara Watkins, and guitarist Sean Watkins. The Grammy-winning band has revolutionized folk and roots music since first performing together as children at a pizza parlor in San Diego in 1989 and signing to acclaimed roots label Sugar Hill Records after wowing the bluegrass circuit for a decade.

Nickel Creek quickly broke through in 2000 with their Grammy-nominated, Alison Krauss–produced self-titled LP, which showcased not just their instrumental virtuosity but their burgeoning songwriting prowess. The trio quickly followed that effort with the Krauss-produced This Side, a landmark release that earned Nickel Creek the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and brought their progressive take on acoustic music to a broader audience, greatly influencing the sound and trajectory of roots music in the process. The 2005 Grammy-nominated Why Should the Fire Die? found the trio pushing genre boundaries even further, incorporating elements of alt-rock and indie pop into their singular brand of acoustic music. Nickel Creek’s most recent album, 2014’s critically acclaimed and joyously received A Dotted Line, ended a seven-year recording and touring hiatus for the band, during which members explored other musical and creative avenues.

Each member of Nickel Creek has taken part in many outside projects over the years. Chris Thile is a 2012 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and served as the host of the American radio variety show Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) from 2016 to 2020. Over the course of Nickel Creek’s career, Thile has released collaborative albums alongside world-renowned musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Brad Mehldau, and Stuart Duncan. His Grammy-winning band Punch Brothers has released six studio albums, the most recent being 2022’s Hell on Church Street, a reimagining of the beloved 1983 Tony Rice album Church Street Blues.

Sean Watkins has kept busy outside of Nickel Creek, too, co-founding Watkins Family Hour alongside Sara Watkins, releasing three albums with the collective, and maintaining the long-running collaborative show in Los Angeles for a decade. Sean has also released a string of solo albums, most recently 2020’s This Is Who We Are with the Bee Eaters. Sara’s extracurricular projects include the aforementioned Watkins Family Hour band as well as co-founding the Grammy-winning roots trio I’m with Her alongside Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz. Sara has released four studio albums, most recently 2021’s Under the Pepper Tree. She has contributed fiddle to recordings by artists like Phoebe Bridgers, the Killers, and John Mayer.

About Aoife O’Donovan

Grammy Award–winning artist Aoife O’Donovan operates in a thrilling musical world beyond genre. Deemed “a vocalist of unerring instinct” by the New York Times, she has released three critically acclaimed and boundary-blurring solo albums, including her most recent record, 2022’s boldly orchestrated and literarily crafted Age of Apathy. Written by O’Donovan and recorded with acclaimed producer Joe Henry, Age of Apathy is “stunning” (Rolling Stone) and “taps into the propulsion of prime Joni Mitchell” (Pitchfork). The album received three nominations at the 2023 Grammy Awards, including one for Best Folk Album. The song “B61” was Folk Alliance International’s 2022 Song of the Year.

A savvy and generous collaborator, O’Donovan is one third of the group I’m with Her with bandmates Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. The trio’s debut album, See You Around, was hailed as “willfully open-hearted” by NPR Music. I’m with Her earned an Americana Music Association Award in 2019 for Duo/Group of the Year, and a Grammy in 2020 for Best American Roots Song. O’Donovan spent the preceding decade as cofounder and front woman of the string band Crooked Still and is the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, the album released by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. She has appeared as a featured vocalist with over a dozen symphonies, including the National Symphony Orchestra; written for Alison Krauss; performed with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas; and spent a decade as a regular contributor to the radio variety shows Live From Here and A Prairie Home Companion.


  • One Reserved Seat -or- GA Pit ticket with early entry
  • Access to private pre-show performance by Nickel Creek
  • Access to private Q&A with Nickel Creek
  • Limited edition poster signed by the band
  • Celebrants Club enamel pin
  • Early entry to venue
  • Crowd-free merchandise shopping
  • On-site event host

*Limited availability. You will receive an email from the VIP experience team in the days prior to the performance date with day of show instructions. For questions related to your VIP purchase, please email contact@100xhospitality.com. 

Musician Photo and Recording Policy
No flash or professional photography allowed. No video or audio recording of any kind allowed.

No smoking allowed inside venue gates.

Do you or a family member need a general accommodation for your visit? Contact the visitor experience team at help@ncmuseum.org.

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Presented by

Photo of Nickel Creek: Josh Goleman

Photo of Aoife O’Donovan: Courtesy of the artist

Picnic in the Park
Preorder picnic boxes for Park Theater events. Picnics are individual boxes filled with sandwiches, salads, sides, and bottled water. Additional beverages, including beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks, and kombucha, are available on-site for purchase. Members save 10% on applicable food and beverage items with code MEMBER.

No time to order? No worries! We have a full concession menu in the Park Theater featuring a variety of hot and cold items. Cold drinks, beer, wine, snacks, and popcorn are also available.

Picnic boxes are ready for pickup on-site when gates open for concerts and films.



Jul 21, 2023


8:00 PM


Tickets starting from $41 Members, $45 Nonmembers general admission (before taxes and fees), limit 6 per purchase, VIP tickets from $154 (details in description)


Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park

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Special Instructions:
Gates open at 7:00 pm, show starts at 8:00 pm
For More Information:
(919) 715-5923
Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm
Special Instructions:
Gates open at 7:00 pm, show starts at 8:00 pm
For More Information:
(919) 715-5923
Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm
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