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.
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▪ 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.