Friday, October 4, 2013

IBMA World of Bluegrass - Wide Open Bluegrass: Review

Fayettville Street

Red Hat Amphitheater

Center Stage

Three venues epitomize the range of vision and activity represented by Wide Open Bluegrass, the bluegrass happening that's replaced what was once called Fan Fest at previous IBMA conventions in Ownesboro and Lousiville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Produced by Craig Ferguson, promoter of the huge Telluride and Rocky Grass festivals in Colorado, and William Lewis of Pine Cone Productions in Raleigh, the event exceeded all expectations for musical quality, variety, and crowd response. Preliminary estimates of more than 50,000 people in the streets for the StreetFest elements suggest local support that succeeded in introducing bluegrass music from its most traditional roots to its edgier descendants. Meanwhile, the ticketed events at the Red Hat Amphitheater and in the Raleigh Convention Center's Ballroom Stage were packed. The Red Hat Amphitheater sold out for both Friday and Saturday nights, repairing the coffers of the Bluegrass Trust Fund, created "for individuals and their immediate families within the bluegrass community in times of emergency need" and supported primarily from proceeds of what was once called Fan Fest. The scope of these events was too large for any two people to provide comprehensive coverage. Extensive coverage in Bluegrass Today and Bluegrass Nation in addition to many FaceBook entries and other sources available through a simple Google search of Wide Open Bluegrass will yield further information and pictures for those interested. Meanwhile, what follows here is a largely impressionistic picture of the events of the two days of Wide Open Bluegrass.

WAMU's Bluegrass Country
Missy Raines & the New Hip 

The team from Bluegrass Country continued it's four day presentation of live radio broadcasts from room 201 in the Raleigh Convention Center. Having transported an entire radio studio to Raleigh, Bluegrass Country presented six bands a day for four days. I lost my wife to the staff for the entire period, where she served as staff photographer.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge Perform
with Erin Stamper at the Board

Lee Michael Demsey on Air
 Jim Beaver & Dick Spottswood
outside the Bluegrass Country Studio

The Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall was always bubbling with activity during the three days it was open. Note the tent in the back right above. The North Carolina Pavilion alone presented thirty bands, without amplification on a small stage within the pavilion as well as representing North Carolina's contributions to food, and the roots of NASCAR found in the back roads of the rural western mountains. 

Eddie Rose & Highway 40
at the North Carolina Pavilion 

The Earl Scruggs Center
to open in Shelby in January 

Murphy Henry's Booth
Founder of the Murphy Method 
and author of

 D'Addario Strings

Elderly Instruments

The  Workshop Stage - Banjo Masters
Joe Dean, Mark Johnson, Bill Evans & Jens Kruger

Joe Dean Looks on...

as Jens Kruger Plays from his 
Concerto for Banjo

Della Mae Drops in for a Jam
with Kids on Bluegrass 

Holds Demo Jam Class in a Workshop

At the Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom
Blue Highway

Rob Ickes

Center Stage on Fayetteville Street
The Spinney Brothers

Gary Dalrymple (The Spinney Brothers) & Friend

Newton & Daniels on Center Stage

Guitar Workshop
Jim Hurst, Clay Hess & Tim Stafford

Jamming in the Exhibit Hall

Trisha Tubbs (Wintergrass) & Louisa Branscomb (Song Writer)

Epic Collaboration at Red Hat Amphitheater
Jason Carter, Bela Fleck, Del McCoury
Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas & Tony Rice

Del McCoury

Jerry Douglas

Tony Rice
 Whole Hog Barbecue

The North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue was held in a parking lot beside the Marriott Hotel where the contestants cooked all Friday night. Their work was judged on Saturday morning at 8:00 AM and then the results were distributed as a fund raiser at a booth on Fayettville Street benefiting a local food pantry.

Sir Walter Raleigh Sniffs the Aroma
While Welcoming Visitors to 
Wide Open Bluegrass 

In the Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom
Nu-Blu - Carolyn & Daniel Routh

Backstage - the Convention Center Kitchen

Audie Blaylock

Dale Ann Bradley Warming Up

 Backstage - The Shoes Tell the Story
Becky Buller, Brooke Aldridge & Missy Armstrong

Dale Ann Bradley

Dale Ann Bradley & Steve Gulley

Phil Leadbetter is Back
and Healthy 

Center Stage on Fayetteville Street
Flatt Lonesome

There were five stages stretched out along Fayetteville Street - Center Stage (pictured here), the Martin Street Stage, the Hargett Street Stage, the Dance Tent, and the Youth Stage. All the stages featured major touring bands as well as bands with a more local focus. They played everything from old-time through traditional and progressive bluegrass to acoustic jazz. The entire event on Fayetteville Street plus the Exhibit Hall and Workshop Stage in the Raleigh Convention Center were free and open to the public. The Bluegrass Ramble presented showcases at somewhat more remote venues during the early part of the week from 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM, continuing on Friday and Saturday. The Ramble events were free to registered attendees and open on an individual admission ticket on the weekend, too.

Mark Brinkman & Niall Tone
Singer/Songwriters Sharing a Quiet Moment 

The Crowd at the Red Hat Amphitheater
for the 
Gibson Brothers 

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson & Mike Barber

Jesse Brock

Clayton Campbell

Journalist David Morse Getting Shorn
by Tim Finch to Benefit John Miller 

Della Mae on Stage at the
Red Hat Amphitheater 

Peter Rowan & Friends
in the Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom

Peter Rowan

Mike Munford
2013 Banjo Player of the Year 

The Kruger Brothers & the Kontras Quartet
Appalachian Concerto

Jens Kruger
 2013 Steve Martin Award Winner 

  Kids on Bluegrass

The link below will take you to a portfolio of nearly 90 photos from Kids on Bluegrass. Feel free to download this pictures, reproduce them, and use them for whatever you wish.

 Kim & Erin Fox with
Kids on Bluegrass

Vickie Vaughn Band at the Youth Stage

 The Evening at Red Hat Amphitheater

Jason Carter, Bela Fleck, Ron McCoury, Alan Bartram, Danny Paisley

 Jason Carter
2013 IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year

Bela Fleck

Ron McCoury & Danny Paisley

Alan Bartram

 Danny Paisley

Ron McCoury

Emcee Abigail Washburn (Fleck) & Juno

Seldom Scene

 Ben Eldridge - Only Remaining Original Member

Lou Reid

Fred Travers

Ronnie Simpkins

Dudley Connell

Christy Reid & Trevor Watson - Watching

Darwin Davidson - Observing

 The Infamous Stringdusters

Andy Falco

Jeremy Garrett

Chris Pandolfi

Travis Book

Andy Hall

The Infamous Stringdusters

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
 The final performance of Wide Open Bluegrass featured Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers. Tickets to this show around the country sell at Stub Hub for prices between $86.00 and $159.00. People purchasing tickets to Wide Open Bluegrass bought a full performance for this acclaimed tour plus dozens of other bands for $40 - $70 dollars a day, depending on seat location and IBMA membership status. That included two days of headliner concerts at the Red Hat Amphitheater. The performance was filled with fine music and great good humor. What a way to end a great five day event!

Steve Martin

Edie Brickell

Woody Platt

Mike Guggino

Charles Humphrey III

Nicky Sanders

The Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin

Bela Fleck Stepped In, too


Steve Martin