Raleigh's William Lewis grew up in a small Southern farming community, where his father entertained the family by playing guitar and singing somber folk tunes and old country ballads like Shady Grove and Long Black Veil. William fell in love with the oral history of the music, the idea that people once shared news through song.
In college he studied applied anthropology, later earning a master's degree in folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill. Today, he serves on the board of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and is a speaker at national and international conferences.
He enjoys listening to Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show, which he says have added a new energy to folk music. With the most live venues in North Carolina in Raleigh, William says there's no better time to be part of the music scene here. The sound is diverse and vibrant, reasons insiders named it one of the best music scenes in the country.
Tap into Raleigh's resources
"There is great collaboration and partnership that is the nature of this city. Everybody is talking and thinking out loud. That always leads to great things."
William preserves and protects blues, bluegrass and other forms of traditional music. And that's not all. He helps nonprofits like IBMA make the most out of meetings and events. Raleigh's passionate locals maximize resources to create events that hit all the right notes, helping draw more than 140,000 fans to IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2013 (its first year held in Raleigh)... and more than 200,000 fans to IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2016. You can tap into smart resources such as William by working with the Greater Raleigh CVB's Sales Department.
For meeting organizers, the idea is to make your job easier and expand your outreach opportunities, harnessing local subject matter experts to create a meaningful, multi-dimensional event-scape that extends far beyond the four walls of a given Raleigh venue. Consider how a smart city's pipeline of experts and leaders can help you connect, collaborate and coordinate while impressing your most savvy attendees. Think Raleigh... contact the CVB sales manager representing your market or submit an RFP online.
"Through music you're going to learn something about the person, about the community and get a window into that life.”
PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass photos: Garrett Poulos