Friday, October 19, 2012

IBMA 2013 - Answers to Questions re: Raleigh #1

Next year's IBMA World of Bluegrass is being held at the Raleigh, NC Convention Center from September 24 - 28. We spent a night and parts of two days there this week. It's difficult to communicate the sense of excitement our convention has generated there. We spent time with hotel, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Convention Center people. A representative of the Convention Center told me they had been watching IBMA for five years, had bid on WofB when it came time for Nashville to re-up, and had maintained a continuing interest. She had attended WofB twice, was familiar with our programs and problems, and most eager to work with IBMA to help solve many of them.  This is the first of a series of reports that will appear during the next several months at the 2013 IBMA World of Bluegrass emerges.

The Lobby of the Convention Center

The Convention Center is filled with light, warm, and extremely flexible. I'll have more to say and show about this wonderful space in the future. 

Linda Orlomolski asked about nearby alternative opportunities for those who don't jam.  Here's a link to a downloadable pdf file showing the places to eat, shop, or enjoy other attractions within walking distance of the Convention Center. Notice, that the RLine bus, which leaves from in front of the Convention Center about every eight minutes and makes the round trip of downtown Raleigh is free and convenient.

We had supper on Wednesday evening with a friend at The Pit, a gourmet southern barbecu restaurant about two short blocks from the back of the Convention Center. It's not Demo's, but check out the menu. The City Market (H on the map) offers an area with a variety of shops, small galleries, and restaurants, the perfect place for an afternoon or evening stroll. There are also a number of free state museums, all on the route of the RLine bus. We rode the circuit, which traverses through several miles of Raleigh streets, but much of the city is really within an easy walk of the Convention Center and the nearby hotels.

Raleigh Convention Center

A couple of people asked about jamming. I talked to representatives from both the Marriott and the Sheraton, where we stayed. They both told me their plans included jamming and quiet floors. The Convention Center, reachable by underground to the Marriott and very convenient to the Sheraton, is filled with places for jam groups to set up.  Given good weather, City Plaza on Fayetteville Street might be a good place to jam outside. Request a copy of a fine guide called visit Raleigh  from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau by clicking here: Also ask for the "Map & Guide", a Complete Guide to Dining, Shopping, Entertainment & Parking in Downtown Raleigh., which you can download as a pdf file or have sent to you.

City Plaza

Billy Dunbar asked whether Raleigh was accessible by train. The short answer is "Yes." The Amtrak station as directly behind the Convention Center. There's a preliminary exploration going on right now about having a couple of jamming cars attached to a train from Boston to Raleigh to create a Bluegrass Express directly to the site. Let IBMA know of your interest here or through Bluegrass Nation, which you should consider  joining anyway.

Jim Joyce asked about availability of RV parking. There are a number a spots available next to the Convention Center for rigs which are hookups.  The best site appears to be the camping facility at the State Fairgrounds, which has 350 sites with w/e/s, but no reservation system. A confounding problem could be the N.C. State football schedule, because their stadium is across the street. If there's a home game, there probably won't be much space for RV'rs attending IBMA and traffic will be difficult.  Watch here for further developments on this.

The Immediate Vicinity
 I've posted a picture of this little map just to show the availability of lots of free or low cost parking within a couple of blocks of the hotels and convention center. You won't have any trouble finding a place to stay nearby or coming from a greater distance near town or out-of-town and parking. 

City Market

 Just a couple of pictures of the City Market entertainment area early in the morning. We're going back in January, and will try to get a better look at it when its alive and active. Meanwhile, think about your participation in IBMA, how you can benefit from it and contribute to it. I'll have much more to say about this as the year continues.