Bluegrass festival adds major act to its lineup. Rhiannon Giddens will be on stage.

Rhiannon Giddens performs at a Raleigh house concert

Rhiannon Giddens and guitar player Dirk Powell perform a fiddle tune at a house concert Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 in Raleigh.
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Rhiannon Giddens and guitar player Dirk Powell perform a fiddle tune at a house concert Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 in Raleigh.

Rhiannon Giddens will be back in Raleigh for World of Bluegrass this September.

The MacArthur Fellow has been added to an all-female “Special Collaboration,” Sept. 28 at Red Hat Amphitheater. The bill, part of the outdoor Wide Open Bluegrass program, also includes Gillian Welch, Molly Tuttle and Sierra Hull.

Giddens, a native of Greensboro and co-founder of Carolina Chocolate Drops, was last year’s IBMA keynote speaker, delivering a much-acclaimed keynote address at the start of bluegrass week. She was subsequently announced as a 2017 “Genius Grant” winner by the MacArthur Foundation, worth $625,000.

This year’s festival, the sixth year in Raleigh, will be Sept. 25-29.

Giddens’ addition to the lineup is the most notable detail in the latest bluegrass announcement, which fleshes out some of the schedule. Colorado jam band Leftover Salmon was announced as ringleader for the Sept. 29 “Wide Open Jam,” with special guests to be announced later.

Also on Sept. 29, Chatham County Line & Friends will feature members of Mipso and Town Mountain along with Mike Compton and Joe Newberry. The schedule-to-date is below.

Wide Open Bluegrass is the festival-closing portion of World of Bluegrass, featuring ticketed outdoor shows at Red Hat and a free street festival. The street-festival lineup will be announced later.

Bluegrass week also includes “Bluegrass Ramble” nightclub shows, 2018 keynote speaker Jamie Dailey and the Sept. 27 IBMA Awards, hosted this year by the band Hot Rize. IBMA Award nominations are scheduled to be announced next week.

All of last year’s World of Bluegrass events — business convention, nightclub performances, awards show and Wide Open Bluegrass — drew a total estimated attendance of more than 221,000. That generated $11.7 million in direct visitor spending, according to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB).

Since 2013, World of Bluegrass has drawn more than 856,000 people, leading to almost $49 million in direct visitor spending. In May, IBMA announced it had extended its contract with the city of Raleigh to keep the event here through 2021.

American musician Rhiannon Giddens, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, delivered a powerful keynote speech at the Raleigh Convention Center to kick off IBMA's World of Bluegrass on Tuesday Sept. 26, 2017. She declared that the question toda

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi


World of Bluegrass 2018 tickets are on sale now at

Friday, Sept. 28

Special Collaboration with Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, Molly Tuttle and special guests Gillian Welch and Rhiannon Giddens

Earls of Leicester, premiering their new in-concert album “Live”

The TRUST featuring Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band, Donna Ulisse, Chris Jones & Night Drivers, Sideline, Love Cannon

Flatt Lonesome

Saturday, Sept. 29

Wide Open Jam with Leftover Salmon, special guests to be announced

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Patty Loveless

Chatham County Line & Friends with Mandolin Orange, Mipso’s Libby Rodenbough, Town Mountain’s Bobby Britt, Mike Compton & Joe Newberry

Gibson Brothers

Laurie Lewis & Friends

Volume Five

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