As expected, the International Bluegrass Music Association and the City of Raleigh, NC, jointly announced this morning that they had extended their agreement to host the organization’s annual convention, World Of Bluegrass, in Raleigh for three more years.
The Raleigh Convention Center has been home to the event since moving from Nashville in 2013, which has seen a revitalization in attendance and a tremendous amount of interest in the convention in regional and national media. Associated performances are held in a number of clubs and theaters in the immediate vicinity, and the Marriott and Sheraton hotels downtown also host music and business functions associated with IBMA’s visit.
The 2018 events will run from September 25-29, to include a three-day, mid-week business conference in the convention center, followed by a huge music festival downtown that weekend. Two days of concerts will be held in the Red Hat Amphitheater adjacent to the convention center, billed as Wide Open Bluegrass, as well as a free street festival with music, food, crafts, and drinks available on Fayetteville Street which will be closed to vehicular traffic.
IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger says that they have a solid partner in Raleigh.
“We couldn’t be more excited to announce our agreement to hold IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh through 2021. As we renew our amazing partnership with the City, we find new ways to celebrate bluegrass music we didn’t know were possible until being embraced by this community. World of Bluegrass is our genre’s biggest annual event, where we help our professionals connect and learn, where we shine a bright light on our best, and where we share our great music with so many new and lifelong fans! Our deepest gratitude goes out to the City of Raleigh, Mayor McFarlane, the City Council, the Local Organizing Committee and PineCone, along with Wake County and its Commission, and to the people of Raleigh for the exuberant welcome we have received here.”
And William Lewis, Executive Director of the Raleigh-based non-profit PineCone, co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee, and IBMA Board Member, applauded the way that area organizations work with them to support World Of Bluegrass.
“Most business conventions are insular events, but IBMA works with the Local Organizing Committee to engage the public in many parts of World of Bluegrass, including the Bluegrass Ramble showcases, Awards programs, Music Expo, and of course the Wide Open Bluegrass festival. They also work with us and other community partners to put bluegrass bands in Wake County Public Schools, RDU airport, and other venues throughout the region. And the community has embraced IBMA and bluegrass and looks forward to the whole week of events each year, no doubt contributing to Raleigh’s growing reputation as a leading live music destination here in the Southeast. Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Raleigh for this event and take home lasting memories from their experiences here each year. IBMA members call World of Bluegrass a ‘homecoming,’ and we’re glad they all consider Raleigh a second home.”
Also announced this morning were additional details about Wide Open Bluegrass, which is the primary funding source for the Bluegrass Trust Fund. This Fund is used to offer support to members of the bluegrass industry in need, with more than $800,000 distributed to date, all done anonymously.
The two days at the Red Hat will include performances by top bluegrass artists like Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, with a guest appearance by Patty Loveless, The Earls Of Leicester, an all-star, all-gal band featuring Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, and Becky Buller, plus the cast of an upcoming Mountain Home Music album, The Trust, proceeds from which will be donated to the Bluegrass Trust Fund. New original tracks have been recorded by Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and others to further this cause.
Lawson says that he feels honored to contribute to The Trust, and to perform in support at Wide Open Bluegrass.
“The IBMA Trust Fund has been an invaluable resource to so many bluegrass professionals in need over the years. I’m proud to be a part of the special performance on the Wide Open Bluegrass Main Stage and the upcoming album release by Mountain Home Music to help raise awareness and money for the Trust Fund.”
Additional performers will be announced in the coming months.
Tickets for all these aspects of World Of Bluegrass are available now online. You can get them for just the Business Conference, just for Wide Open Bluegrass, or just for the evening showcase performances during the week. Raleigh really rolls out the red carpet for bluegrass, and you could hardly imagine a more genuine welcome.
Congratulations to IBMA and the City of Raleigh for agreeing to continue this very positive arrangement.