IBMA announces lineup for free Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest on Sept. 28-29, 2018, in downtown Raleigh, N.C.

By Lisa Snedeker

Bluegrass fans listen up: The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass announced today an amazing lineup of more than 100 bands that will perform on seven stages set up throughout downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and inside the Raleigh Convention Center on Sept. 25-29 as part of Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest. Best of all for music lovers, all the performances are free!

There will also be a dance tent, local artisans, food trucks, youth performances, and the Master’s Workshop Stage inside Raleigh Convention Center.  And there’s always plenty of free jamming to stumble upon for your listening pleasure.

Among just a few of the acts I am looking forward to hearing are Cane Mill Road, Fireside Collective, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Alison Brown Band, Hank, Pattie and the Current, the Kruger Brothers, Zoe & Cloyd, Town Mountain, Balsam Range, Front Country, Love Canon, ShadowGrass, Jim Lauderdale, Tim O’Brien, Dori Freeman and Flatt Lonesome.

Who are you looking most forward to seeing?

From the good folks at IBMA:

Organizers of this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass, sponsored by Chiesi USA and taking place Sept. 25-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina, announced the performers and performance schedule for PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest as part of the largest urban bluegrass festival anywhere.

The free StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces the music to thousands of new fans every year, with more than 100 performers on seven stages along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Performers include a broad mix of local, national, and international talent. Stages include the Youth Music Stage – situated on the outdoor plaza at the Convention Center – and the Dance Tent, which features clogging performances, participatory square and contra dances, and late-night open dancing Friday and Saturday nights. A free festival app, sponsored by the NC Department of Transportation, available via iTunes or Google Store  (search for Wide Open Bluegrass) will offer a comprehensive guide to the festival.

In addition to StreetFest, Wide Open Bluegrass also includes ticketed performances at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater on the Wide Open Main Stage; a list of those performers can be found at the Wide Open Bluegrass website.

“In addition to being one of the largest economic drivers for the Triangle, Wide Open Bluegrass has become an iconic event for Raleigh,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president of Eastern Carolinas. “For the sixth year, PNC Bank is pleased to help bring great music and fun family-friendly activities to our community. There’s something for everyone, and we hope you will join us in this bluegrass celebration.”

Some StreetFest highlights include:

  • Celebrate the music legacy of North Carolina on the Davie Street Stage. Hear masters of old-time and bluegrass music still played in the mountains and beyond. Help us kick off North Carolina’s statewide Year of Music celebration in 2019 at http://www.NCArts.orgBrought to you by the NC Arts Council and the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
  • Youth Stages: Bands chosen through a juried process by IBMA’s Youth Council will perform in front of the Convention Center, followed by college program ensembles; additional youth bands affiliated with the Junior Appalachian Musicians program will perform on the Junior Appalachian Musicians Stage on Martin Street. Don’t miss these future stars of bluegrass!
  • There is even a “Youth Only” Zone – Meeting Room 203 in the Convention Center – both days, which include “Youth Workshop with Lonesome River Band: Arranging New Material” (Friday, 11:00 am) and “Youth Jam with Ricky Skaggs” (Saturday, 11:00 am)  – complete listings will be available in the app.
  • And Rhonda Vincent will join in the fun at Wide Open, too! Fans will have a chance to meet Rhonda at 11 am on both Friday and Saturday (with a few other surprises planned – bring your instruments!) – just head for the distinctive Rhonda Vincent tour bus, across from the Dance Tent.
  • The Wide Open Expo, inside the Convention Center, features more than 100 vendors, including instruments, gear, accessories, and much more! Also inside the Convention Center, you’ll find the Masters’ Workshop Stage; and more! Workshops this year include: Pete Wernick’s Bluegrass Jam Class Friday and Saturday mornings; free bourbon tasting sponsored by Larceny Bourbon; Tony Williamson’s Vintage Instrument Tasting, and more. Complete listings will be available in the app.
  • Also near the Convention Center, the Banjostand is back, offering great photo opportunities for attendees. The popular Banjostand photo contest will be held again this year thanks to the Office of Raleigh Arts.
  • Accessibility: People who are blind or low vision can request to be accompanied through the festival by trained volunteer sighted guides – contact PineCone at 919-664-8333 x4. Scooters and wheelchairs will also be available to rent at the festival, and quiet spaces will be available to those who need a low-sensory break from all the activity. New this year: Recovery Communities of North Carolina will host a Wide Open for Recovery tent on the festival footprint! Learn more:
  • On Saturday, be sure to check out the North Carolina Pork Council’s Whole Hog Barbecue Championship, where the best whole hog barbecue chefs in North Carolina square off to become state champion. At lunch, grab your stretchy pants and buy a wristband to sample directly from 28 competitors and vote for the People’s Choice Winner–new this year!. The Whole Hog Barbecue Championship is the culmination of a qualifying series that includes more than 25 N.C. Pork Council-certified local whole hog barbecue competitions statewide. Proceeds from the wristband sales will be donated to the InterFaith Food Shuttle and the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to bluegrass professionals experiencing financial emergencies. For advance tickets and more information:

StreetFest performers announced today include:




12:00-12:45 Cane Mill Road

1:15-2:00 Fireside Collective

2:30-3:15 Jeff Scroggins & Colorado

3:45-4:30 Mile Twelve

5:00-5:45 Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

6:15-7:15 Sister Sadie

7:45-9:00 Special Consensus

9:30-11:00 Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen


12:00-12:45 Danny Paisley & Southern Grass

1:15-2:00 The Davidson Brothers

2:30-3:15 Kids on Bluegrass

3:45-4:30 Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive

5:00-5:45 Kenny & Amanda Smith

6:15-7:15 Darin & Brooke Aldridge

7:45-9:00 The Lonely Heartstring Band

9:30-11:00 Alison Brown Band




12:15-1:00 Piney Woods Boys

1:30-2:15 Kinney Rorrer & The New North Carolina Ramblers

2:45-3:30 Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

4:00-4:45 Hank, Pattie & The Current

5:15-6:00 Riley Baugus

6:30-7:30 ShadowGrass

8:00-9:15 Tony Williamson & Friends

9:45-11:00pm The Kruger Brothers


12:15-1:00 Zoe & Cloyd

1:30-2:15 The Burnett Sisters

2:45-3:30 Dewey & Leslie Brown & The Carolina Gentlemen

4:00-4:45 Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass

5:15 – 6:00 Jeff Little Trio

6:30 – 7:30 Strictly Clean & Decent

8:00-9:15 Carolina Blue Band

9:45-11:00pm The Harris Brothers




12:30-1:15 Kristy Cox

1:45-2:30 Bill and The Belles

3:00-3:45 Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons

4:15-5:00 FY5

5:30-6:15 Jim Lauderdale

6:45-7:45 Donna Ulisse

8:15-9:15 Chris Jones & The Night Drivers

9:45-11:00 Town Mountain


12:30-1:15 The Carolina PineCones

1:45-2:30 Diamond Creek

3:00-3:45 Loose Strings Band

4:15-5:00 Tommy Edwards & The Bluegrass Experience

5:30-6:15 ClayBank

6:45-7:45 Sideline

8:15-9:15 Wood & Wire

9:45-11:00 Alan Bibey & Grasstowne




12:15-1:00 Amanda Cook

1:30-2:15 Johnny & Jeanette Williams

2:45-3:30 Compton & Newberry

4:00-4:45 Tim O’Brien with Jan Fabricius

5:15-6:00 Nick Forster

6:30-7:30 Amythyst Kiah

8:00-9:15 Lonesome River Band

9:45-11:00 Balsam Range


12:15-1:00 The McLain Family Band

1:30-2:15 Nu-Blu

2:45-3:30 David Davis & The Warrior River Boys

4:00-4:45 Tatiana Hargreaves with Hoot & Holler

5:15-6:00 Nefesh Mountain

6:30-7:30 Hubby Jenkins

8:00-9:15 Front Country

9:45-11:00 Unspoken Tradition




12:00-1:30 Square Dance with Hoot & Holler

Rodney Sutton calling

2:00-2:45 Dwight Hawkins & Piedmont Highballers

3:15-4:30 Contra Dance with Steamshovel

Beth Molaro calling

5:00-5:45 Clogging Workshop with Hoot & Holler

Rodney Sutton calling

6:15 – 7:00 Clogging with The Apple Chill Cloggers

Music by Patrick Walsh & Friends

7:30-9:00 Open Dance with Che Apalache

9:30-11:00 Open Dance with The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys


12:00-2:00 Family Square Dance with Hogs & Dawgs

Ruth Pershing calling

2:30-3:45 Clogging (performance and workshop) with Green Grass

Cloggers, Music by Little Stony Nighthawks

4:15-5:45 Contra Dance with Steamshovel

Beth Molaro calling

6:15-7:00 Clogging with the Cane Creek Cloggers

Music by Deep Valley Drifters

7:30-9:00 Contra Dance with Rip the Calico

Kyle Johnston calling

9:30-11:00 Open Dance with Love Canon




12:00 – 12:45 The Baker Family

1:00 – 1:45 Southern Strings

2:00 – 3:45 Kids on Bluegrass

4:00 – 4:45 The Arcadian Wild

5:00 – 5:45 Blue Js

6:00 – 6:45 Salt and Light

7:00 — 7:35 Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette “Vermilion Express”

7:45 — 8:15 EKU Bluegrass Ensemble

8:25 — 9:00 Clemson Bluegrass Ensemble
9:10 — 9:45 Mountain Music Ambassadors (The Kentucky Center for Traditional
Music at Morehead State University)

9:55 — 10:30 Glenville College


12:00 – 12:45 That Dalton Gang

1:00 – 1:45 Crying Uncle

2:00 – 2:45 Cane Mill Road

3:00 – 3:45 Dixie Jubilee

4:00 – 4:45 ShadowGrass

5:00 – 5:35 Carolina Bluegrass – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5:45 – 6:20 Mountain Music Ambassadors (The Kentucky Center for Traditional
Music at Morehead State University)

6:30 – 7:05 Colorado College

7:15 – 7:45 Warren Wilson College Bluegrass Band

7:55 – 8:25 Walters State Community College, The High Lonesome Senate

8:35 – 9:10 East Tennessee State University “Bluegrass Pride Band”

9:20 – 9:35 Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music




12:00 – 12:45 Eliza Meyer
1:00 – 1:45 Blackberry Jam
2:00 – 2:45 Sweet Potato Pie Kids
3:00 – 3:45 Henderson JAM Kids
4:00 – 4:45 ShadowGrass
5:00 – 5:45 Ella & Mary
6:00 – 6:45 Burnett Sisters
7:00 – 7:45 Cane Mill Road


11:00 – 11:45 Ashe JAM Band
12:00 – 12:45 One Fret Over
1:00 – 1:45 Junior Appalachian Musicians Band
2:00 – 2:45 Possum on a Whale
3:00 – 3:45 Karlie Keepfer & Smokey Holler
4:00 – 4:45 Carl Johnson & JAM Allstars, featuring Jonah Graves
5:00 – 5:45 Carolina PineCones
6:00 – 6:45 Cane Mill Road
7:00 – 7:45 ShadowGrass




12:00 Jim Lauderdale & Dori Freeman – Art of Songwriting
1:00 Clawhammer Banjo – Jens Kruger, Uwe Kruger, Joe Newberry             and Joel Landsberg

2:00 The Bakers – Practicing as a Family Band (Main Lobby Stage)

2:00 Loose Strings – Sustaining Traditions
3:00 Mandolin Workshop – Alan Bibey, Nick Dumas and Aaron Ramsey

4:00 Bass Workshop – Dan Eubanks, Edgar Loudermilk and Zac

5:00 Vocal Workshop – Johnny & Jeanette Williams
6:00 Bluegrass Karoake with Flatt Lonesome –  Want to sing a song with Flatt Lonesome as your back up band? Sign up, pick a song of your choice, name the key and be ready!


12:00 Banjo – Greg Cahill, Alison Brown, Russ Carson
1:00 Guitar –  Rick Faris, Kenny Smith, Stephen Mougin, Jeff Autrey
2:00 Dobro – Brad Hudson, Logan Hembree
3:00 #MASHTAG 2018 –  Featuring Wyatt Harman, Maddie Denton, Zach Top, Zion Napier and Calib Smith
4:00 Love Cannon: Transforming Music – One Genre to the Next
5:00 Fiddle –  Mike Barnett, Hunter Berry, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes

PNC returns, for the sixth year, as the presenting sponsor for the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival.

For the fourth year, Chiesi USA, Inc.- the Cary, North Carolina-based specialty pharmaceutical company – is the principal sponsor of the World of Bluegrass event.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass events generated $11.7 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 221,000 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.

Sponsors of the Wide Open Bluegrass street festival, presented by PNC, include: Stella Artois; Lone Rider; Ron and Nancy McFarlane; NC Arts Council; NC Education Lottery; NC Department of Transportation; Central Carolina Chevrolet Dealers; WakeMed; Carvana; Boone; Lowes Foods; Thompson Automotive Group; Pepsi Bottling Ventures, LLC; Cheerwine; Sparkling Oh!; Martin Guitar; Carolina Hurricanes; Parker Poe Law Firm; Leaf Filter; Stanley Martin Homes; Camp Gladiator; and Our State Magazine.

Media sponsors include: WRAL;; CBS 17; WTVD; 94.7 QDR; 96.1 BBB; WPTF News Radio 680; KIX 102.9; Just Right Radio; and 919 Magazine.The Youth Stage is made possible this year thanks to Buckstove; North Carolina 4-H; NC by Train; and 919 Magazine.

The StreetFest is brought to you by collaboration among the City of Raleigh, Raleigh Convention Center, IBMA, PineCone, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a local organizing committee.

Single day general admission for performances at Red Hat Amphitheater during Wide Open Bluegrass are still available, and start as low as $60 for the general public and $50 for IBMA members, with children under 12 attending for free when accompanied by an adult. Wide Open Bluegrass is the principal fundraiser for the Bluegrass Trust Fund, which provides direct financial assistance to bluegrass artists and other industry professionals in times of emergency need. (To date, the Trust Fund has given more than $800,000 in direct aid.)

Additional details and pricing information – including member discounts – for Red Hat Amphitheater performances, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations are available at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass website,

More info about World of Bluegrass and the Wide Open Festival

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, whose principal sponsor is Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention. World of Bluegrass encompasses four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 25-27; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 25-27 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center; the 29th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 27; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 28-29, a two-day festival. The ticketed Wide Open Main Stage features the best of the best in bluegrass today, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists bluegrass professionals during financial emergencies. The free Wide Open StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces the music to thousands of new fans every year. 

As in years past, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.

About IBMA
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the nonprofit professional organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s nine-year run in Raleigh is the product of their successful partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors BureauThe Raleigh Convention CenterPineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Musicthe City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.