Nashville, T.N.—At today’s 12:00 noon press conference at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, organizers of this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass announced additional details about the five-day event, which will take place September 29 – October 3.
One of the highlights of the press conference was the announcement that Alison Krauss & Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester, The Gibson Brothers, Blue Highway, and O’Connor Family Band will round out the list of performers at Red Hat Amphitheater during Wide Open Bluegrass, the weekend festival that takes place as part of the World of Bluegrass event.
Performers previously announced for Red Hat Amphitheater at this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC, include Steep Canyon Rangers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Balsam Range, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Wailin’ Jennys, The Kruger Brothers (with special guests), The Claire Lynch Band, Flatt Lonesome, Band of Ruhks, and performances from the critically acclaimed Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited project. The full Wide Open Bluegrass lineup at Red Hat Amphitheater can be found at ibma.org.
Wide Open Bluegrass includes both ticketed main stage performances at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater and the free Street Festival. Up to half of the net proceeds from the ticket sales of Red Hat Amphitheater go to the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals in the bluegrass music community in times of emergency need.
The free Street Festival will include 80+ bands, five music stages, a dance tent, vendors, an arts market, concessions, youth performances and activities – including programming set up by IBMA’s Youth Council, and programs in the Raleigh Convention Center, including free access to the Exhibit Hall, a Masters Workshop Stage, and more. The full list of performers for the Street Festival will be announced in the coming months; once announced, the free Street Festival lineup will be available at www.wideopenbluegrass.com.
Wide Open Bluegrass is part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention. World of Bluegrass also includes the IBMA Business Conference, September 29 – October 1; the 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 1, and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 29 – October 1.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $10.8 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be over 180,000. Over 100 unique sets were performed in just two days during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, and more than 80 individual acts performed in showcases, the IBMA Awards Show, and festival throughout the entire World of Bluegrass week combined.
Speakers at the World of Bluegrass press conference were Paul Schiminger, new Executive Director of IBMA; Denny Edwards, President & CEO of Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau; Ann Edmondson, Director of Communications and Marketing, North Carolina Pork Council; William Lewis, director of PineCone-The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music and Wide Open Bluegrass producer; Josh Franklin, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Chiesi USA, Inc.; Jim Hansen, Regional President, PNC Bank, and IBMA Board chair Jon Weisberger.
Also announced at the press conference was the naming of Chiesi USA, Inc. as the presenting sponsor of the World of Bluegrass event. The Cary, North Carolina-based specialty pharmaceutical company is the first presenting sponsor for the five-day event.
“As a growing global company with deep local roots, Chiesi USA is proud to join IBMA in sponsoring World of Bluegrass in our hometown,” said Josh Franklin, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development.
“An ongoing commitment to our local community is of paramount importance to Chiesi,” Franklin said. “It’s part of our corporate culture worldwide, and it’s one of the promises we make to our employees — to enhance the community in which we live and work. This is a great way for us to live up to that promise, and the entire community benefits.”
“We’re particularly proud to be working with our partners at the IBMA in this endeavor. When you join two world-class organizations together in pursuit of an extraordinary event, great things are going happen. The world is coming to our home for this exciting event, and the Chiesi family will be here to help them celebrate.”
As noted earlier, PNC returns, for the third year, as the presenting sponsor for the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival; at the press conference it was announced that the financial services company has committed to sponsoring this festival for three more years.
“We are excited to continue our involvement with IBMA and Wide Open Bluegrass for three more years, bringing unique arts and cultural experiences and economic development opportunities for our region,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president, Eastern Carolinas.
The North Carolina Pork Council announced that the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship – a weekend of bluegrass-flavored fun for the whole family – will be part of the World of Bluegrass festivities for a third year. The annual cooking championship is the culmination of a series of 20 to 25 local barbecue competitions. These qualifying cook-offs are conducted as part of community events in cities and towns across North Carolina from March to October. Spectators will be able to watch the entire aromatic cooking process in the parking area between the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The Pork Council will once again donate the authentic, championship North Carolina pork barbecue to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle who will sell it in sandwiches to around 4,000 bluegrass fans. It will be first-come, first-served in the outdoor, downtown setting.
“The interest in bluegrass is soaring across the country, as is underscored by the extraordinary success of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh,” said IBMA’s Schiminger. “This year, the IBMA and the City of Raleigh are preparing another ‘can’t miss’ experience, with an entire week of activities, events and performances celebrating and highlighting this important art form. For the business conference, we’ve added more band showcases, along with more educational and networking content for professionals to enhance their careers. We have another sparkling Awards Show planned to present the top talent in bluegrass as recognized by their peers. And finally, this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass festival at the end of the week celebrates our music by offering fans another incredible line-up of performers, including Alison Krauss & Union Station.”
“We want to thank the Local Organizing Committee in Raleigh and the entire state of North Carolina for its hospitality and energy,” Schiminger added. “IBMA deeply values our important partnership. And, we are so grateful for the support of our sponsors, including Chiesi USA, PNC, and the North Carolina Pork Council.”
“The 2015 IBMA World of Bluegrass will be an event like no other. I invite you to join us for the fun!” said Schiminger.
“The City of Raleigh is delighted to host the IBMA World of Bluegrass again this fall,” said Raleigh Mayor Pro Tem John Odom. “This event showcases Raleigh’s strengths and growing reputation as a world-class venue for festivals, conferences, and other special events revealing why we are one of the best places in the country not only to live and work but play! Thanks to the continued support from one of Raleigh’s most engaged corporate citizens – PNC – Wide Open Bluegrass will continue to be a highlight on the City’s festival calendar as it attracts thousands of local residents and visitors to downtown Raleigh.”
As last year, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Greater Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.
Single day general admission for performances at Red Hat Amphitheater during Wide Open Bluegrass starts as low as $50 for the general public and $40 for IBMA members. 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 website.
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone -The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.