Wide Open Bluegrass now a free event!

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced this morning that their Wide Open Bluegrass event, held each year at the Red Hat Ampitheater in Raleigh, NC, will become a free festival starting in 2019.

Not just the Wide Open Street Festival, held along Fayetteville Street downtown, which has been open to the public from its inception, but the big main stage show in the Red Hat is now free. Wide Open, even.

Attendees who want to ensure that they get premium seats up front can still purchase tickets, but sections behind that and the grassy area behind the seats will be available at no charge until the venue reaches its capacity. That means six hours of the top bluegrass acts on the scene are up for grabs on a first come, first served basis.

IBMA Executive Director, Paul Schiminger, says that they are delighted to be able to make this change, and throw open the doors to all comers in Raleigh.

“With the help of our Raleigh partners and key sponsors, IBMA is transitioning our festival to a free, mission-forward event – taking bluegrass to the masses by reducing all barriers to participation. All are welcome to come hear the best in bluegrass music today.” 

Wide Open Bluegrass takes place each year at the end of IBMA’s signature business conference in Raleigh, World Of Bluegrass, held September 24-26 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Bluegrass professionals gather from all over the world to check out new acts, bolster their understanding of industry trends, talk and do business, and enjoy each other’s company. Then, on Thursday night, the organization will present its International Bluegrass Music Awards at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

More information about the performers for 2019 will be announced throughout the spring. Wide Open Bluegrass will continue to serve as a fundraiser for the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund, a most worthy effort of the association which provides financial assistance to bluegrass folks who are down on their luck. To date, the Fund has distributed more than $800,000 in aid, primarily to people experiencing medical difficulties. Donations to the Trust Fund are always welcome.

Reserved seats for Wide Open Bluegrass will go on sale to IBMA members on April 9. Any remaining seats will be offered to non-members on April 23.

You can find all the information about bluegrass week in Raleigh at the World Of Bluegrass web site.

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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.