Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that the organization has extended its partnership with the city of Raleigh, North Carolina to host the World of Bluegrass convention, trade show, awards show and performances through 2018. In addition, the IBMA has announced the initial lineup of performers for the related Wide Open Bluegrass Festival that takes place during the big bluegrass event.
Organizers of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event announced today that the Nashville-based bluegrass trade organization will keep its World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh through 2018, including the popular Wide Open Bluegrass festival.
Additional details about World of Bluegrass 2014, which will take place September 30 – October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina, were revealed today at a 2:00 pm press conference at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater.
An initial lineup of musicians who will perform as part of this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival was announced, including Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby, Del McCoury Band with special guests, the return of Hot Rize (one of the most influential bluegrass acts of the ‘80s, releasing their first new studio album since 1990), Gibson Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sierra Hull, and the Wide Open Jam, featuring the superstar lineup of Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton and Stuart Duncan. Additional performers for both the ticketed (paid) portions of the festival and the free Street Festival will be announced in the coming months.
Also announced at the press conference was the return of PNC as presenting sponsor for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival, and, as last year, the inclusion of the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship as part of the World of Bluegrass festivities.
The North Carolina Pork Council also announced a new addition to this year’s program: a ticketed event that brings together under one tent - for the first time - a sampling of some of the finest barbecue from the three major regions of the state: Western, Lexington and Eastern.
Speakers at the World of Bluegrass press conference were Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane; Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director of IBMA; Ann Edmondson, Director of Communications and Marketing, North Carolina Pork Council; Denny Edwards, President & CEO of Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau; William Lewis, director of PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music; Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, Vice President, Director of Client & Community Relations of PNC Bank and IBMA Board chair Jon Weisberger.
“The immense success of moving IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events to Raleigh last year had a huge impact on raising the profile of bluegrass music and the IBMA as an organization,” said IBMA’s Cardwell. “We continue to receive compliments about last year’s events, we’ve seen a 39% increase in membership during the past two years, and the support and enthusiasm of the Local Organizing Committee in Raleigh and everyone in North Carolina has been so gracious and genuine. We are thrilled to announce the extension of our partnership with Raleigh, North Carolina through 2018, and we look forward to adding even more exciting elements to World of Bluegrass Week, as we continue to facilitate connections in the bluegrass music industry and work together to introduce the best music in the world to new audiences and fans. If bluegrass music moves you, I invite you to attend the event that moves the bluegrass music world.”
"Our region saw tremendous economic success from last year's debut of Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh," said PNC’s Quinn-Wolf. "We look forward to supporting the continued contributions this festival will bring in the areas of arts and culture, economic development and education in our community."
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2, the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2, the Wide Open Bluegrass music festival, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $10 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be over 154,000, exceeding expectations for the event’s first year in Raleigh. Over 300 performances by more than 160 different artists took place during World of Bluegrass 2013.
As last year, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Greater Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.
The Wide Open Bluegrass music festival can be experienced in two ways: as ticketed shows at the Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center stages, and on the free Street Festival stages. PNC returns as the presenting sponsor for both the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass and the free Street Festival.
The free Street Festival will include 80+ bands, four music stages, a dance tent, vendors, an arts market, concessions, youth performances and activities - including programming set up by IBMA’s Youth Council, a free Exhibit Hall and a Masters Workshop Stage in the Raleigh Convention Center. The full list of performers for the Street Festival will be announced in the coming months.
Also returning this year is the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship—a weekend of bluegrass-flavored fun for the whole family.
The annual cooking championship is the culmination of a series of 15 to 20 local barbecue competitions. These qualifying cook-offs are conducted as part of community events in cities and towns across North Carolina from April to September. At the championship in Raleigh, as is the case in all the events throughout the season, the cooked barbecue is collected after judging, chopped and sold to the general public.
Spectators will be able to watch the entire aromatic cooking process in the parking area between the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The Pork Council expects to sell plates of authentic, championship North Carolina pork barbecue to around 4,000 bluegrass fans. It will be first-come, first-served in the outdoor, downtown setting.
Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, www.ibma.org. Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.