It cannot be overestimated how big an impact IBMA has had upon Raleigh nor the degree to which Raleigh has affected IBMA and it's World of Bluegrass including the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. The actual World of Bluegrass runs from Tuesday, September 30 - Saturday, October 4, including the IBMA World of Bluegrass Business Conference from Monday - Thursday, the Awards Show and Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival and Street Fair on Friday and Saturday. It's all truly an extravaganza! Here's some evidence about the excitement being generated. Accoring to Cybergrass, a local Pop radio station has changed it's format to 24/7 bluegrass, one of the few all bluegrass FM radio stations in the country. The Mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane, and her husband are sponsoring the Plaza Stage during Wide Open Bluegrass. At a personal cost of $30,000, this is clearly not a political move, but a sign of love and respect for the music. We've been hearing about IBMA on WRAL-TV during news programs ever since we got here, and back in the Spring when we stayed here for another event. Finally, the New-Observer ran a major piece a day or so ago. Overall, it's simply overwhelming how much Raleigh has embraced Bluegrass and IBMA!
Yesterday, the local merchants on Hillsborough Street sponsored an event they called Live & Local on Hillsborough Street. Located across the street from the main campus of N.C. State University, the Hillsborough Street community is home to lots of restaurants catering to students, small comfortable parks, student housing, etc., a typical and attractive large university setting. While there were four stages within a few blocks of each other, and easy parking, we spent the afternoon at Logan Street stage adjacent to the comfortable and pretty Compegnie Park. Five bands were scheduled from 2:00 until 7:00, and of course we chose to stay where our friends Darin & Brooke Aldridge would be performing as the headliners.
Americana and bluegrass from across a pretty wide spectrum of highly listenable and enjoyable music. Mellow enough to be just right for an early Sunday afternoon.
Live and Local Bluegrass offered a successful prelude to the massive bluegrass event that follows this week. We spent a relaxed day in a more intimate environment enjoying the bands, the fun, and the setting. IBMA's World of Bluegrass followed by Wide Open Bluegrass kicks off tomorrow. It's an all involving event, so there will be little blogging. I'll try to keep up with little vignettes, if I can figure how to post from my phone, but serious photo blogging and analysis of the event will have to wait a week.