One highlight worth mentioning here is the live radio broadcast being conducted in Room 201 of the Raleigh Convention Center by WAMU's Bluegrass Country.org. The staff of WAMU has brought a full studio to Raleigh and will broadcast what amounts to a mini-festival from Tuesday through Friday. Broadcasts will feature six bands a day from noon until 3:00 PM. Ticketed attendees are invited to attend. You can see the details and get additional information HERE. (HINT: This is a live broadcast, so silence is requested until the hosts ask for applause. Lots of fun.)
When you click on the map, use the up and down arrows and the in and out arrows to manipulate the map and familiarize yourself with the venues. The direction below are for walking. If you plan to use the "R" bus to get to the Bluegrass Ramble venues, click the Bus button on the map.
Be sure to visit the North Carolina Pavilion, which will be located inside the Exhibit Hall and at Longview. It will include exhibits, a hospitality center, and a stage to include performances by forty bands and over thirty panels. Schedule to come.
Known as Fan Fest for some years, Wide Open Bluegrass is, at its base, a national bluegrass festival bringing together all the varieties of bluegrass for a bang-up two day event celebrating its diversity and unity while seeking to draw crowds to support the Bluegrass Trust Fund and to spread bluegrass music to all corners of the world. As such, it seeks to reach out to provide music of broad appeal to a variety of tastes, draw attention to its finest practitioners, and provide entertainment with huge impact. A very well organized and comprehensive web site presents full schedules of music events included in wide open bluegrass. A good list of Wide Open Bluegrass events for those who hold tickets is HERE. But the community, in a broad a sense of community as is imaginable is also happening in conjunction with Wide Open Bluegrass. The alternative will be to stand dithering in the middle of Salisbury Street in a state of utter confusion trying to decide what to do. (HINT: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN - use the online resources linked to here to chart your activities through all parts of the week you attend. DON"T WAIT 'TIL YOU GET THERE.) There are so many fine bluegrass artists performing at Wide Open Bluegrass that I won't even try to identify highlights. Whether you are a registrant or come only to the free events, you'll be overwhelmed with the choices available, and satisfied with the experiences you have.
Wide Open Bluegrass is a ticketed event taking place primarily in two locations: The Red Hat Amphitheater and the Raleigh Convention Center. A look at the schedule quickly confirms that the lineup satisfies a spectrum of tastes ranging from the most traditional elements of bluegrass music to performers from the more progressive branches. With the amount of music available, both ticketed and free, it's hard to imagine that every bluegrass fan won't be able to construct a personal schedule that fully satisfies. Fans wishing to expand their experience, see new approaches, and still keep close to the roots of bluegrass will have no difficulty in satisfying their needs. But it takes planning!
The Street Festival: A free Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival consisting of five parts will take place centered on Fayetteville Street, a traffic free thoroughfare in front of the Marriott and Sheraton Hotels extending down several blocks towards to State Capitol building. The street festival consists of several parts: Live Performances, Free Access to the Exhibit Hall on Friday and Saturday, The Whole Hog State Barbecue Championship, and The WOB Art Market. The live performances take place on five stages along surrounding City Square and are free, although I expect there will be a charge for the Whole Hog Barbecue. The live performances and Exhibit Hall access alone would constitute a full two day bluegrass festival by themselves.
We spent a night at the Sheraton in October and visited the Marriot. Each is a lovely hotel with all the amenities just across the street from the Raleigh Convention Center. A number of other hotels provide accommodations at a variety of prices to suit most people's ability and willingness to pay. We'll be at the campground, which will provide shuttle access to the Convention Center.