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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.
The Banjostand sculpture that surrounds the Sir Walter Raleigh statue every bluegrass week will have one last hurrah this year.
But after this year’s World of Bluegrass, it will be dismantled and live on as a reconfigured permanent art installation inside the Raleigh Convention Center.
The Banjostand, designed by Wyoming-based artist Bland Hoke, is a stage fashioned of cast-off instrument parts donated by the Deering Banjo Co. It debuted at the 2014 World of Bluegrass and has been on display every year outside the convention center, enveloping the Bruno Lucchesi sculpture, since then.
The Banjostand has become a popular landmark, and backdrop for everything from sunrise yoga sessions to selfie shots. Made at the behest of Raleigh Arts Commission on a $25,000 budget, it started out as a three-year project before being extended for two more years.
World of Bluegrass, now in its sixth year, kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 25, with the International Bluegrass Music Association convention, awards ceremony and nightclub shows. Free and ticketed concerts are Sept. 28-29.
As Hoke has in years past, he will arrive in Raleigh this weekend. He is seeking volunteers to help with sorting, cleaning and assembling banjo parts.
If all goes according to schedule, the Banjostand will be in place by Monday, the day before the International Bluegrass Music Association’s convention starts. And after bluegrass week wraps up next weekend, the Banjostand won’t go back into storage.
Instead, Hoke will move it indoors to reconfigure as a mobile display. Titled “Flying Feathers,” it will hang from the convention center ceiling directly behind the Sir Walter statue.
“All along, the plan has been to eventually upcycle or repurpose the work,” Hoke said. “I am thrilled that the convention center was open to doing this.”
The schedule calls for Hoke to take down the Banjostand on Sunday, Sept. 30. He’ll then spend the following week inside the convention center, reassembling it and getting the piece into place by Oct. 6.
“It will hang really long and go three floors,” said Kelly McChesney of the Raleigh Arts Commission. “And he’ll use all of the pieces, too. Bland is very big on reuse.”
To volunteer this weekend, sign up for a time slot at Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources at https://bit.ly/2Da1Uee.