IBMA's World of Bluegrass returns to Raleigh

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The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival return to Raleigh on Friday night (WTVD)

Raleigh will host the largest urban bluegrass festival in the world this week.

The International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass is an annual homecoming for the bluegrass music community. Taking place September 27 through October 1, it consists of three separate events: the IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards, and Wide Open Bluegrass. This is its fourth year in the Capital City.

In addition to the three main events, bluegrass-related shows and attractions can be found scattered throughout Raleigh all week. A mix of free and ticketed events are available for bluegrass players and fans to expand professional networks, learn the latest about industry practices, and discover new music.

Watch footage from last year's Wide Open Bluegrass festival:
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Organizers are pleased with attendance this year

The IBMA kick-off will be held Monday evening at 7 p.m. in Market Hall in downtown Raleigh. It's free to IMBA volunteers, but will cost $10 for other attendees. The Welcome to Raleigh party features Loraine Jordon and her band, Carolina Road. Sideline, Country Grass, and the Garrett Newton Band will also perform.

Starting Monday and continuing through Friday, there will be live performances at RDU International Airport. Bands will play between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the baggage claim areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. More details can be found on the Wide Open Bluegrass community events page.

The Bluegrass Ramble, a showcase series in downtown Raleigh club venues, begins Tuesday. Venues include Lincoln Theater, The Pour House, Kings, Architect Bar, Vintage Church, and the Raleigh Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased for the entire festival or a single day.

Wide Open Bluegrass closes out the IBMA's World of Bluegrass week on Friday and Saturday. It consists of a free street festival in downtown Raleigh and ticketed main stage shows at Red Hat Amphitheater.

Free Street Festival

The PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest is produced by the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Convention Center, the Greater Raleigh Convention and visitor's Bureau, PineCone, and a host of community volunteers.

More than 100 bands are scheduled to perform on 7 stages along Fayetteville Street.

Other activities include a music expo at the Convention Center, a Whole Hog BBQ Championship, and juried art in Artsplosure's Arts Market area. Also included in this year's event is a Family Fun and Picnic area and Kids Zone in front of Memorial Auditorium.

The North Carolina Pork Council will also be hosting ticketed dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.
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ABC11's Anthony Wilson was a judge for the whole hog BBQ compeition as part of Wide Open Bluegrass

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Joel Brown spoke to a New York chef serving up some North Carolina barbecue

Friday night: NC Barbecue Experience Dinner featuring Matthew Register of Southern Smoke in Garland, NC. 5-9 p.m. at Cabarrus Crossroads. Reserve tickets for Friday night barbecue experience dinner with Matthew Register.

Saturday night: NC Barbecue Experience Dinner with Tyson Ho of New York's Arrogant Swine. 5-9 p.m. at Cabarrus Crossroads. Reserve tickets for Saturday night barbecue experience dinner with Tyson Ho.


Most events take place on street level, and roads in the areas will be closed to motor vehicles beginning Thursday night. Activities stretch more than half a mile down Fayetteville Street, so attendees should come prepared to travel. Raleigh's team of rickshaw drivers will be available to help patrons get around, and volunteers in red t-shirts will be scattered through the crowd to answer questions and offer assistance.

Ticketed Main Stage

Some of the greatest names in bluegrass will grace the stage at Red Hat Amphitheater on Friday and Saturday. Included in this year's lineup are the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, The Del McCoury Band, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers, and the Soggy Bottom Boys.

Tickets for one or both days can be purchased through IBMA's website. Up to half of the net proceeds support the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a non-profit organization helping bluegrass professionals in times of need.


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