College bluegrass bands at Wide Open Bluegrass 2019

Nothing highlights the explosive growth of bluegrass music among young people than the number of college programs offering instruction, and even full degree programs, in the music.

The International Bluegrass Music Association will be showcasing as many as a dozen performance groups from these programs during this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass events in September, presented through PNC.

Those who have attended Wide Open Bluegrass in years past know that it is the free music festival that follows the IBMA’s three-day business conference in Raleigh, NC each September. After the professional members of the organizations spend Tuesday through Thursday taking care of business at the Convention Center, downtown Raleigh is given over to bluegrass, with free concerts all day Friday and Saturday along Fayetteville Street, and a big stage festival in the adjacent Red Hat Amphitheater.

IBMA dedicates a stage on the weekend to Youth In Bluegrass, and nine colleges have already agreed to send their bluegrass ensembles to play.

  • Morehead State University, directed by Raymond McLain
  • Walters State Community College, directed by Chip McLain
  • Clemson University, directed by Ryan Wilson
  • East Tennessee State University, directed by Dan Boner
  • Eastern Kentucky University, directed by Pam Perry Combs
  • Glenville State College, directed by Dr. Megan Darby
  • Denison University, directed by Adam Schlenker
  • Pellissippi State Community College, directed by Dr. Larry Vincent
  • Warren Wilson College, directed by Dr. Ben Krakauer
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, directed by Russell Johnson

We understand that three other schools have been invited and are still trying to make arrangements to get their student bands to Raleigh to be a part of this.

The complete schedule for Wide Open Bluegrass will be released sometime this summer. Additional details can be found now online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.