If you’ve been to the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, NC, you know that the city does bluegrass proud. In addition to serving as warm and welcoming hosts for the assembled grassers from all over the world, they also put on a free, first-rate street festival for the locals that coincides with the ticketed Wide Open Bluegrass festival at the Red Hat Amphitheater, which adjoins their new convention center.
There is also a free bluegrass festival the weekend before IBMA hits downtown, also primarily for the benefit of full-time residents of the City of Oaks, but anyone who blows into town early for World of Bluegrass is likewise invited to attend.
Billed as Live & Local Bluegrass 2016, the festival is held on Saturday, September 24 at the Louise Stephenson Amphitheater at the Raleigh Little Theater, and on Sunday, September 25 at the city’s Compienge Park and at 106 Chamberlain Street. There is no charge to attend any of the shows, and there will be food trucks, vendors of every sort, and children’s activities scheduled each day.
True to the name, all the bluegrass acts set to perform are native to the Raleigh area, many of them nationally touring groups. Included will be sets by Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, Sideline, The Moore Brothers, Diamond Creek, Jenni Lyn Gardner, and many others.
A lot of World of Bluegrass attendees like to get into town a day or two early, get their sea legs under them, and get themselves settled before the hectic schedule of IBMA functions and activities begin on the 27th. Should you elect to hit town by the 24th, you can get your bluegrass on all weekend, only a few miles from the convention center and host hotels.
Of course, if you live nearby, you can spend time at Live & Local Bluegrass, hear some great music, and sleep in your own bed at night! The festival is run by the Hillsborough Street Community Service organization.
Full details about the 2016 World of Bluegrass, Bluegrass Ramble, the International Bluegrass Music Awards, and Wide Open Bluegrass can be found online, including the recently-published convention schedule.