If you missed the inaugural year for World of Bluegrass in Raleigh last year, you missed perhaps the best debut for a new host city of any recurring event I have been involved with. The city planners and tourism agencies in Raleigh went above and beyond, and the IBMA staff (and a host of volunteers) did a marvelous job planning and executing a three day business conference with a major awards show and broadcast, and a large outdoor festival, from 500 miles away.
Raleigh even closed the streets downtown for a free weekend festival of their own, and successfully included the local community in the fun.
It was a triumph for the city, which had been facing criticism about the lack of promised convention business following a large investment in a new convention center. For IBMA, the funds raised that week pulled them out of a deep hole and the positive press was a victory for both, with the locals getting a free party in the bargain.
So… have you planned to attend in 2014? Festivities run from September 30-October 4 and the two primary host hotels are already sold out. Accommodations are still available at a number of convenient nearby facilities, and parking downtown is widespread.
During the week, all the events are geared towards those who work in the bluegrass industry, with a transition to a more fan-oriented music festival on Friday, October 3. Shows take place both in the Raleigh Convention Center, and in the adjacent Red Hat Amphitheater, with a special youth stage and instrumental and vocal workshops scheduled throughout Friday and Saturday.
The weekend festival goes by Wide Open Bluegrass, and a ticket gets you in to all the concerts, seminars and workshops. Visit Raleigh, the city’s official tourism agency is hosting a sweepstakes called All Expenses Played which will bring two lucky bluegrass lovers to town for all the fun.
Valued at roughly $1000, the prize package contains everything you need for a fun bluegrass weekend in Raleigh:
- One (1) two-night (Oct. 3-4, 2014) hotel accommodation at a Raleigh hotel
- Two (2) general admission tickets to PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass shows on Oct. 3-4, 2014, in Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater
- Two (2) access wristbands to the 2014 Wide Open Bluegrass VIP tent
- One (1) $500 gift card to defray transportation costs
- One (1) $25 gift card to a downtown Raleigh restaurant
- Two (2) official Wide Open Bluegrass T-shirts
Entries can be made online, and are open to US residents 18 years and older (void where prohibited). August 28 is the last day for registration, and a winner will be announced on the 29th.
What are you waiting for – enter today!