Barbecue, street festival to accompany bluegrass convention in Raleigh this fall

dmenconi@newsobserver.comMay 15, 2013 


A triangle area bluegrass group, The Grass Cats performed Wednesday, May 15, 2013 before and after a press announcement on the Red Hat Amphitheater stage in downtown Raleigh where the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced that the first of three year's of the IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass festivals would be held on the site downtown Sept. 24-28, 2013.


— This fall’s World of Bluegrass convention and concerts in Raleigh will include a free street festival and nightly shows at clubs around downtown. It also will coincide with a barbecue cook-off, organizers announced Wednesday.

The International Bluegrass Music Association chose Raleigh for its annual business conference and International Bluegrass Music Awards show. The show will take place Sept. 26 and will be hosted by the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Grammy-winning band from Brevard.

A two-day music festival – The Wide Open Bluegrass Festival – will follow, with some of the genre’s biggest names, including Steve Martin, Alison Krauss and Punch Brothers, performing at the Red Hat Amphitheater. There also will be more than 50 acts performing on one of three stages downtown and nighttime shows at the Lincoln Theatre, Kings and other downtown clubs.

The N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship will take place during the street festival, in the parking lot between the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Competitors will include cooks who qualified in local barbecue competitions across the state, and plates will be sold after the judging.

Wednesday’s announcement was made on the stage of the Red Hat Amphitheater. Local group Grass Cats opened the proceedings with a set of bluegrass music, before Mayor Nancy McFarlane pronounced herself “thrilled and honored” that Raleigh will host the IBMA event.

This is the first of three years the IBMA will be in Raleigh, after an eight-year run in Nashville. Last year’s event reportedly drew more than 13,000 people to Nashville.

Tickets for Wide Open Bluegrass go on sale to the public May 29. For details, call 888-GET-IBMA (438-4262) or visit

Menconi: 919-829-4759 or

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