Family Sowell at Wide Open Bluegrass 2019 – photo © Tara Linhardt
Saturday was a jam-packed day at Wide Open Bluegrass, full of all sorts of great music from bluegrass legends, to hot new acts on the scene, and young soon-to-be rising stars. There were also some fun, family-friendly activities downtown. I noticed for the first time this year, people rappelling down the side of a 30 story building. It turns out they have been doing that for the last ten years, but I just noticed it this time. The rappelling took place Saturday down the Wells Fargo Center skyscraper in the downtown area, just down the street a bit from the Capital Stage. This is a fund raiser called Over The Edge for Special Olympics of North Carolina, which was estimated to raise around $120,000 for the cause. Already overwhelmed with so many great bands, and cool people to meet and jam sessions popping up, looking up to see people scaling down a huge building added to that exciting carnival feel. I wonder how many festival-goers ever looked up and noticed…
IBMA is a wonderful event pulling in bluegrass professionals, amateurs, and fans from all over the world. Some of the magic happens on the stages, some in the educational conferences and seminars, or in the Exhibit Hall, but also a lot of it occurs with the friends and connections that are made in every hallway, room, or sidewalk. The combination of all these elements is what can draw people from Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and all parts of the US.
World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass are definitely seminal events for a bluegrass calendar, offering so much to so many, all in one place in a single week.
Here are just a few sites and sounds.
Crying Uncle performing EMD
Mountain Highway performing Ruby
Doing My Time by ShadowGrass
Green Grass Cloggers