Bluegrass week kicks into high gear with Wide Open Bluegrass kicking off today.
You’ll find free shows all over downtown Raleigh Friday and Saturday at the Wide Open Bluegrass Street Fest.
Tickets are required for shows on the main stage, which features marquee names like Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Bela Fleck and cool tributes and reunions from legendary musicians.
Note that acts and times are subject to change.
▪ Main Stage: Shows are Friday and Saturday at Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St, Raleigh. Single-day tickets start at $50 for IBMA members, $60 for the general public. Two-day passes start at $80 for IBMA members and $100 for nonmembers.
▪ Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest: Free shows on stages on Fayetteville Street and around downtown Raleigh.
▪ World of Bluegrass Expo: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is where you’ll find vendors, gear and products for music fans. It’s open to the public Friday and Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center.
▪ The 32nd annual North Carolina Whole Hog Championship is this weekend, considered the state championship of barbecue in North Carolina. Around 30 teams will vie for the title, each having qualified based on their finish in one of 20 or so competitions throughout the year.
Teams will get their hogs Friday night. Those at the festival Friday night can stop by the Memorial Auditorium courtyard from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet the teams and see them start their cookers. Judges will blind taste the barbecue and announce the winners Saturday afternoon. Sandwiches go on sale at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center near the Cabarrus Street facade.
▪ In the midst of all the music, you’ll find the Boone Adventure Zone, which gives a taste of Boone on the streets of downtown Raleigh. You can mine for gemstones, slide down an inflatable slide or take selfies on a (fiberglass) horse. Head to the corner of Fayetteville and Martin streets. Activities are free.
Our picks today
The Ebony Hillbillies
This New York-based group aims to keep black stringband music alive and kicking. They educate as they entertain, ensuring you’ll have something to think about even after you’re done dancing along.
Where to see them: Wide Open Streetfest Friday, 2:30 p.m., City Plaza Stage; 7:30 p.m., Dance Tent
Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer and Sam Gleaves – Tribute to Ola Belle Reed
North Carolina’s Ola Belle Reed was a true foremother of mountain music. Her songs about life in Appalachia, including “I’ve Endured” and “High on a Mountain,” have been covered by countless bluegrass and country musicians, and are in capable hands from folk duo Fink and Marxer, joined by banjo player Sam Gleaves.
Where to see them: Wide Open Streetfest Friday, 1:30 p.m., Davie Street Stage
You’re going to want to buckle up and get ready for a ride from this energetic group from California. They pick what they want from tradition and power it forward with a rock and pop approach.
Where to see them: Wide Open Streetfest Friday, 8 p.m., Capitol Stage
Wide Open Bluegrass
Main Stage, Red Hat Amphitheater
Noon Molly Tuttle
1:15 p.m. Kruger Brothers with Kontras Quartet
3 p.m. Flatt Lonesome
4 p.m. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
5 p.m. Mark O’Connor featuring the O’Connor Band
6:30 p.m. Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
8:30 p.m. Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush tribute to the Country Gentlemen and Charlie Cushman
9:30 p.m. Wide Open Jam with Infamous Stringdusters
Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival
City Plaza Stage
1:15 p.m. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
2:30 p.m. Ebony Hillbillies
3:45 p.m. Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
9:30 p.m. Gibson Brothers
Davie Street Stage
12:15 p.m. Strictly Strings
2:45 p.m. Zoe & Cloyd
4 p.m. ShadowGrass
5:15 p.m. Darin & Brooke Aldridge
6:30 p.m. David Holt & Josh Goforth
8 p.m. Kruger Brothers
9:45 p.m. Alan Bibey and Grasstowne
Hargett Street Stage
12:30 p.m. Carolina PineCones
1:45 p.m. Chris Jones & Night Drivers
3 p.m. Dave Adkins Band
4:15 p.m. Grass Cats
5:30 p.m. Tommy Edwards & Bluegrass Experience
6:45 p.m. Missy Raines & The New Hip
8:15 p.m. Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
9:45 p.m. Volume Five
12:15 p.m. FY5
1:30 p.m. Honey Dewdrops
2:45 p.m. Irene Kelley
4 p.m. Nedski and Mojo
5:15 p.m. 10 String Symphony
6:30 p.m. Molly Tuttle Band
8 p.m. Front Country
9:45 p.m. Town Mountain
Noon Square Dance with caller Aaron Ratcliffe and Blue Ridge Broadcasters
2 p.m. Zydeco Ya Yas
3:15 p.m. Contra Dance with caller Beth Molaro and Steamshovel
5 p.m. Glorifying Vines Sisters
7:30 p.m. Ebony Hillbillies
9:30 p.m. To be announced
Junior Appalachian Musicians (J.A.M.) at Martin Street
1 p.m. Eliza Meyer & Friends
2 p.m. Ashe JAM Band
5 p.m. Strictly Strings
6 p.m. Cane Mill Road
7 p.m. ShadowGrass
9:30 p.m. Trailblazers
Youth Stage at Raleigh Convention Center Plaza
1 p.m. Michelle Canning Band
2 p.m. Circus No. 9
3 p.m. Strictly Strings
4 p.m. Sowell Family Pickers
5 p.m. Kids on Bluegrass
7 p.m. Berklee Bluegrass All Stars
7:50 p.m. Warren Wilson College
8:40 p.m. East Tennessee State University