When the first World of Bluegrass festival came to Raleigh, no one knew exactly what to expect. What people got was an energetic, crowd-pleasing, just plain happy gathering of bluegrass fans — and families and kids with more of an interest in outdoor entertainment and people watching, etc — packing into downtown Raleigh.
Now, this week, comes year four, expected as always to be better than the last — though, sure, the last was a bit damp. Fingers are crossed for good weather and sunshine.
And while there are some ticketed events, many folks will come downtown and fill their ears with free music, and good music, too. That will mean outdoor stages, but it will be seen, and heard, in the playing of amateur pickers on street corners and in vendors’ booths and in hotel hallways — a picker, which includes fiddle players and banjo pickers and guitarists and mandolinists, isn’t deterred by late hours, don’t you know.
Chatham County Line, the great band, said it best with one of its songs: “What was born in Kentucky is living in Raleigh now.”
This week, mountain music comes down to the Piedmont, and its fans come from the four corners of the United States and many — many — from overseas. The spotlight hits Raleigh. It’s given the Capital City a flattering likeness.