Raleigh, N.C. (September 21, 2014) - Following the success of last year's first World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, community leaders in North Carolina reconvened to make this year's event even better. This year, as part of the five-day World of Bluegrass event, Sept. 30-Oct.4, regional organizations and businesses are presenting blue-grass themed activities in addition to the activities presented by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). From the "PNC Porch"- where PNC Bank will provide a place for fans to relax in rocking chairs, play games, win prizes and take pictures of themselves playing bluegrass instruments on a staged porch  - to the North Carolina Pork Council's Whole Hog Barbecue Championship and some new offerings, opportunities abound for fans to explore this versatile, home-grown style of music in the days ahead!

"PNC's goal in our sponsorship of Wide Open Bluegrass is to offer public access to unique art forms to which individuals may not have previously been exposed," said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president, Eastern Carolinas. "The PNC Porch will provide festival-goers a fun and relaxing hands-on bluegrass experience right in the heart of downtown Raleigh."

The increased synergy between the local community and the IBMA is the result of the continuing work of the Local Organizing Committee, whose members continue to assist the bluegrass organization in connecting with local, regional, and state resources and help the local community welcome IBMA members and bluegrass fans from around the world.

Below is a listing of many of the components of ancillary events not to be missed - a comprehensive listing of events can be found at wideopenbluegrass.com:

  • BanjoStand: Bland Hoke, a Wyoming-based artist specializing in site-specific temporary art, was commissioned to build this temporary art installation, which he is creating out of actual banjo parts. The installation process will take place Sept. 28 & 29 at the Raleigh Convention Center. His artwork for World of Bluegrass 2014 will enhance the area surrounding the iconic Bruno Lucchesi Sir Walter Raleigh sculpture, located in front of the Raleigh Convention Center. The City of Raleigh Arts Commission spearheaded the selection process that led to Hoke's selection; Hoke was selected from 30 applicants from across the U.S. based on his experience creating innovative site-integrated artwork using reclaimed and recycled materials.
  • Bluegrass in the Schools: The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County will put performances or master classes in 12 Wake County schools the week of World of Bluegrass, ensuring that future generations learn to appreciate bluegrass music's intricacies and rich history. Six elementary schools will have performances; students from six middle schools with orchestras and/or strings programs will participate in master classes with bluegrass bands. These presentations are made possible by the County of Wake. 
  • This year's Wide Open Bluegrass also coincides with Raleigh's monthly First Friday celebration. Local art galleries, art studios, alternative art venues, and museums stay open late the first Friday of every month to welcome thousands of art-seeking enthusiasts downtown. The event runs from 6 pm-9 pm, but some venue hours may vary. Attendees may also take advantage of First Friday specials offered by participating restaurants and retailers. Many First Friday venues will offer programs or exhibits that connect to the bluegrass theme, including Deco (19 W Hargett St), which will also be selling a limited number of this year's World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass posters. As part of First Friday, Deco will host Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins playing in their parklet on Salisbury Street on October 3. And Tim Lee, official illustrator of 2014 World of Bluegrass art, will be signing posters there from 6-8 pm.
  • NC Museum of History: Make time to check out downtown Raleigh's museum campus, including the Museum's rotating exhibit of bluegrass exhibits and artifacts! During World of Bluegrass, they'll have a guitar that was custom-made by Carl McIntyre for Doc Watson and a banjo that was played by Earl Scruggs. On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the Museum will host a special reunion concert featuring the original members of the Raleigh-based New Deal String Band from 5-7 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 2, stop by the Museum for a special pre-Awards show bluegrass jam from 5-7 p.m.
  • Raleigh's Block Gallery will host a special reception for their Carolina Folkways exhibit on Monday, Sept. 29 from 5-7 pm. In addition to live music from Hank Smith & Lindsey Tims, the free reception will include food and drinks. Carolina Folkways features photography by Titus Brooks Heagins and Michael Schwalbe, who have documented North Carolina craft and music traditions. Block Gallery is located at 222 W. Hargett St in Downtown Raleigh. Their regular hours are Mon-Fri 8:15 am-5:00 pm.
  • Adding to the excitement of the StreetFest again this year is the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship-a weekend of bluegrass-flavored fun for the whole family. The North Carolina Pork Council and the farm families that make up NC's pork industry are proud to host this year's Whole Hog Barbecue Championship in the heart of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival in downtown Raleigh and sponsored by IBMA media partner WTVD. The N.C. Pork Council will also be hosting special ticketed events on Friday and Saturday nights on Cabarrus Street, where attendees will be able to sample barbecue from across the state and witness cooking demonstrations by some of North Carolina's finest chefs. More information on ticketing will be available soon.  For all the yummy details, go to the newly launched http://www.wholehogbarbecue.com/ 
  • Live and Local: Bluegrass on Hillsborough Street: Sept. 28, 2014
    Darin and Brooke Aldridge will headline a family-friendly day of bluegrass and gospel on Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Hillsborough Street district. This free event will feature four stages with local and national bluegrass and gospel acts from 2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. The Logan Court Beer Garden will feature craft beers from North Carolina, including a special Bluegrass Pale Ale from Raleigh Brewing Company, an event sponsor. The Kids Zone will feature bouncy houses and crafts for children of all ages. Bring your instrument so you can jump into a picking circle or a camping chair so you can sit and enjoy the joyful sounds.
  • Town of Cary: The Town of Cary has been presenting their Pickin' in the Pines bluegrass series at Booth Amphitheatre for three years - this year, locals can take in some bluegrass a few days before World of Bluegrass begins - September 24 - Acoustic Manner with Special Guests Victoria Lee & The New Ground; October 1 - Charles Pettee & The Iron Mountain Messengers.
    Also, during Wide Open Bluegrass weekend, folks who want to enjoy some bluegrass with a smaller crowd can stop by the new Cary Theater (122 E Chatham Street), for films AND music:  October 2, 7 & 9:30 pm, O Brother Where Art Thou?; October 3, 7 & 9:30 pm, Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart; October 4, 8:00 pm, Flatt Lonesome; October 5, 2:00 pm, O Brother Where Art Thou? 
  • Town of Apex is hosting David Holt and Josh Goforth in a free performance at their new Nature Park Amphitheatre, 2600 Evans Road, on October 3 at 7 pm. Call 919-249-1120 for additional information.
  • Beericana at Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs: Sept. 27, 2014
    An event featuring local beers and four NC roots/Americana bands: The Honeycutters, Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins, Dark Water Rising, and Skinny Bag of Sugar. Proceeds benefit the Meg's Smile Foundation and the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Presented by 919 Beer, a group of enthusiasts committed to building, engaging, educating and resourcing the local craft beer community.
  • Raleigh Chamber Music Guild (RCMG) presents The Happy Valley Pals at the North Carolina Museum of Art - Sept. 28, 2014
    RCMG's Sights & Sounds season opens with NC's own Happy Valley Pals, an old-time string band. This concert will explore the interaction of African-American and Anglo-American musicians, dancers, and listeners as portrayed in two paintings from the Museum's permanent collection. Through this exploration, the Pals create their own portrait of a segment of 19th-century America, where dynamic social interplay gave rise to new musical traditions.
  • PineCone Bluegrass Jam @ Busy Bee Café - Sept. 29
    PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, is a Raleigh-based nonprofit that presents bluegrass and roots music concerts and programs year-round in Wake County and beyond. PineCone is the official Local Host for IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, and the producers of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival. One of PineCone's regular programs is a bluegrass jam at the Busy Bee Café in downtown Raleigh on the second and fourth Monday of each month. This month, the Busy Bee will host an additional jam on Monday, Sept. 29, the night before World of Bluegrass officially kicks off in downtown Raleigh!
  • City of Raleigh Museum (220 Fayetteville St) just opened an exhibit titled Face of Folk: 30 Years of PineCone. This exhibit celebrates PineCone with a retrospective on the organization's 30 years of preserving, presenting and promoting roots music through the lens of such questions as: When it comes to music, what's the difference between traditional and folk? What is traditional in Raleigh?
  • Marbles Kids Museum will offer Old Time Play Day featuring toe-tapping music, classic games and folk art fun, Saturday and Sunday, October 4-5, 9 am - 5 pm. Featuring toe-tapping music, classic games and folk art fun.

    Additionally, there are a few aspects of IBMA's World of Bluegrass that are new this year - and are sure to please bluegrass fans:

  • Celebrity Jams: IBMA has brought back the popular Celebrity Jams - these will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to jam with some of your favorite bluegrass stars! On Friday afternoon (Oct. 3), you can jam with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out from 3:30-4:30 in the Convention Center, and on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 4) from 3:30-4:30, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper will be the celebrity jam leaders! There will also be a variety of workshops on the workshop stage in the Convention Center on Friday and Saturday, from Monroe style mandolin to a families harmonies workshop, and many more! The full schedule is available on IBMA's website, or on the WOB app!

  • World of Bluegrass Film Festival: A new component of this year's World of Bluegrass, the festival is comprised of two feature films that will be screened during the IBMA's World of Bluegrass Business Conference (Tues.-Thurs.), and six festival films that will be screened during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival (Fri.-Sat.). Featured film screenings will include an introduction and post-screening Q&A session with the filmmaker or a representative during the Business Conference. All eight films (feature and festival) will be shown twice during the weekend.

  • Sustainability is part of this year's World of Bluegrass, too. The IBMA is focusing this year on reducing its carbon footprint, reducing waste, and improving attendees' experience at World of Bluegrass by partnering with the LEED certified Raleigh Convention Center, local food caterer Centerplate, Zimride (an online ride share platform) and the City of Raleigh. Plus, more recycling and composting receptacles will be available inside the Convention Center during the Business Conference and outside during the street festival.

  • There is a Wide Open Bluegrass app again this year! This year's app is actually split in two: there is a festival app for anyone interested in Wide Open Bluegrass, and a separate app for those attending the World of Bluegrass Business Conference. Both apps are free and available for iPhone and Android devices.

IBMA's World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 - October 2; the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2; Wide Open Bluegrass, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 - October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Those wishing to obtain Award Show tickets, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, tickets for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages) and hotel reservations should go to IBMA's website, ibma.org. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.

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