On the Beat

Wide Open Bluegrass to bring unique sounds to Raleigh this year

Sierra Hull performs at the City Plaza Stage during Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh on October 3, 2014.
Sierra Hull performs at the City Plaza Stage during Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh on October 3, 2014. ehyman@newsobserver.com

The last piece of this year’s World of Bluegrass puzzle is in place, and it’s the biggest one of all: the schedule for the Wide Open Bluegrass free street festival, which drew most of the 180,000-plus people who attended last year’s overall event.

It happens Oct. 2-3, noon to 11 p.m. both days, with around four-dozen acts playing on six stages throughout the downtown Raleigh grid. Among this year’s highlights:

▪ “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” (9:30 p.m. Oct. 2, City Plaza Stage) – A fairly astounding take on The Who’s 1969 rock opera, performed by Missouri quintet the HillBenders.

▪ Gangstagrass (9:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Dance Tent) – A quintet that combines hip-hop with bluegrass, which should make for some right interesting dancing.

▪ Sierra Hull (9:30 p.m. Oct. 3, City Plaza Stage) – 23-year-old mandolinist is one of the brightest rising stars in bluegrass.

▪ Bobby Hicks (4:15 p.m. Oct. 3, Martin Street Stage) – In which the Marshall resident and longtime fiddler for Ricky Skaggs and father-of-bluegrass Bill Monroe leads an “and Friends” jam.

▪ Town Mountain (7:45 p.m. Oct. 2, City Plaza Stage) – Asheville group was one of last year’s nominees for emerging artist of the year.

▪ Freight Hoppers (4 p.m. Oct. 3, Dance Tent) – Old-time band from the Western North Carolina hamlet of Bryson City.

To see the complete schedule, check wideopenbluegrass.com.

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