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Bluegrass Festival reveals first performers for 2018 while future in Raleigh isn’t confirmed

Bluegrass Festival 2017: Raleigh’s streets and venues filled with record crowds and fabulous music

Drone footage and highlights from Raleigh’s Wide Open Bluegrass festival featuring clawhammer guitar by Molly Tuttle Saturday, September 30, 2017.
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Drone footage and highlights from Raleigh’s Wide Open Bluegrass festival featuring clawhammer guitar by Molly Tuttle Saturday, September 30, 2017.

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World of Bluegrass 2018

The International Bluegrass Music Association conference, awards ceremony, Bluegrass Ramble and World of Bluegrass is in Raleigh, NC, Sept. 25-29, 2018. Find our stories here.

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We have our first World of Bluegrass announcement for 2018 — the lineup for the Bluegrass Ramble Showcase concerts in local clubs — with bigger news still to come.

The International Bluegrass Music Association's annual convention — in Raleigh for the sixth year — is Sept. 25-29, and the IBMA has released the artist lineup for the early-week nightclub shows. The complete list is below.

But the most significant announcement will be whether the convention and World of Bluegrass stay in Raleigh beyond 2018.

This is the final year of IBMA's contract with the city, and city leaders have said they would like the event to stay in Raleigh given the event's success the past five years. It has become a signature event for the area and the largest event of the year.

As the convention ended in 2017, IBMA executive director Paul Schiminger said he was "hoping we can pull things together later in the fall" to extend the deal.

Representatives for both the city and IBMA declined to comment.

Last year's World of Bluegrass set another record with a total attendance of 221,000, up slightly from 2016’s then-record total of more than 217,000, according to figures released by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The total direct economic impact also rose to $11.7 million, up from 2016's $11.5 million, according to the bureau.

Last year's event saw marquee acts like Steve Martin and Bela Fleck on the bill, plus a speech from Rhiannon Giddens.

The economic impact comes from new money coming into the local economy and doesn’t include local resident spending.

Travelers waiting at the baggage claim at Raleigh Durham International Airport in February 2018 were greeted by DryBread Road, a bluegrass duo.

As for this year, future announcements will include the Wide Open Bluegrass weekend program of outdoor shows at Red Hat Amphitheater and on the streets of downtown Raleigh; nominees for IBMA Awards; the convention's keynote speaker and more.

A glance at the Bluegrass Ramble lineup shows fewer acts with North Carolina connections. Last year, they made up more than a quarter of the field (eight of 30 acts), there are only two this year: the Trailblazers, from Wilkesboro; and Barefoot Movement, a band that is based in Tennessee but first formed in Oxford.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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2018 Bluegrass Ramble acts

The International Bluegrass Music Association's annual convention is Sept. 25-29. On Sept. 25 and 26, bands will perform in downtown Raleigh venues. Here are the acts schedule to perform.

Amanda Cook (Jay, Fla.)

Appalachian Road Show (Ellijay, Ga.)

Ashleigh Caudill (Nashville)

Band of Kelleys (Spring Hill, Tenn.)

Barefoot Movement (Hendersonville, Tenn. — by way of Oxford, NC)

Bill and the Belles (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Cedar Hill (Hillsboro, Mo.)

Charm City Junction (Baltimore)

Circus No. 9 (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Colebrook Road (Harrisburg, Pa.)

David Davis & The Warrior River Boys (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

Davidson Brothers (Bendigo, Victoria - Australia)

Flats and Sharps (Brighton, Cornwall - U.K.)

Hawktail (Nashville)

Honey Dewdrops (Baltimore)

Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers (Stockdale, Pa.)

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado (Parker, Colo.)

JigJam (Fermoy, Cork, Ireland)

John Reischman and the Jaybirds (New Westminster, B.C. - Canada)

Kim Robins and the 40 Years Late (Bloomington, Ind.)

Kristi Stanley & Running Blind (Bristol, Tenn.)

Lonesome Ace Stringband (Toronto, Ontario - Canada)

Man About a Horse (Philadelphia)

Plate Scrapers (Hagerstown, Md.)

Missy Raines (Nashville)

Rebekah Long (Nashville)

Special Consensus (Oak Lawn, Ill.)

Trailblazers (Wilkesboro)

Wooks (Lexington, Ky.)

Wood & Wire (Dripping Springs, Texas)

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