Raleigh announces sponsor, new acts for Bluegrass festival - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Raleigh announces sponsor, new acts for Bluegrass festival

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Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane unveils the Wide Open Bluegrass festival poster. (Jake Seaton, WNCN) Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane unveils the Wide Open Bluegrass festival poster. (Jake Seaton, WNCN)
Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, with PNC, talks about PNC's commitment to the arts and community. (Jake Seaton, WNCN) Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, with PNC, talks about PNC's commitment to the arts and community. (Jake Seaton, WNCN)
The Grass Cats perform at an event to announce PNC as the presenting sponsor of Wide Open Bluegrass. (Jake Seaton, WNCN) The Grass Cats perform at an event to announce PNC as the presenting sponsor of Wide Open Bluegrass. (Jake Seaton, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane announced Wednesday that PNC would be the presenting sponsor for the up-coming International Bluegrass Music Association's Wide Open Bluegrass festival.

PNC will be the presenting sponsor for both the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass as well as the free street festival.

"PNC has a long-standing commitment to investing in the arts because we know that the arts are vital to the social and economic fabric of our communities. We understand that a thriving arts community is a crucial piece to our collective economic success," said Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, with PNC.

"Wide Open Bluegrass will not only be a significant economic driver for our region, but will also drive more visitors downtown to experience what this great city has to offer."

Wide Open Bluegrass is a two-day music festival that is a part of the larger IBMA's World of Bluegrass event, which also includes the annual International Bluegrass Music Awards and a three-day Business Conference.

World of Bluegrass 2013 is scheduled to take place all over downtown Raleigh Sept. 24-28. Tickets for the event go on sale beginning May 29 for between $40 and $70 for each day. North Carolina's Steep Canyon Rangers will co-host the 24th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards on Sept. 26 at Duke Energy Center.

"The primary goals of Wide Open Bluegrass ... are two-fold," explained William Lewis, with the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. "For IBMA, it really ties back into their mission. And their mission is to promote a greater appreciation for bluegrass music to the widest audience possible. So we really do think we're going to accomplish that here."

He continued, "For the City of Raleigh and Wake County, it's important for our citizens and our visitors to be able to participate in an event of this caliber at no cost."

The free portion of Wide Open Bluegrass will include more than 50 bands performing on three stages in downtown Raleigh. The ticketed portion will be held at the Red Hat Amphitheater and the Raleigh Convention Center, and features the likes of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell and Punch Brothers.

In addition to the previously announced Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell and Punch Brothers, festival organizers also announced The Gibson Brothers, The Seldom Scene, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range with The Boxcars, The Infamous Stringdusters, Dale Ann Bradley, The Claire Lynch Band, Blue Highway, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Della Mae, The Kruger Brothers with the Kontras Quartet performing "Appalachian Concerto," Druha Trava, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, The SteelDrivers, Rob Ickes & Jim Hurst, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Kickin' Grass Band, The Grass Cats, The Spinney Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass and Detour.

There will also be an all-star collaboration featuring bluegrass greats Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Dela Fleck, Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, Tony Rice and Mark Schatz.

Around the officially sanctioned World of Bluegrass activities, venues throughout downtown Raleigh will take part in a Bluegrass Ramble, inviting fans to "ramble" around the city for five nights. The Raleigh Convention Center, Lincoln Theater, Longview Center, The Pour House Music Hall, Tir Na Nog, The Architect and Kings Barcade will each take part in the ramble.

And of course, what's bluegrass without barbecue?

Raleigh will host the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship the weekend of Wide Open Bluegrass. The event is the culmination of between 15 and 20 local barbecue competitions to be held across the state.

"No doubt there's a rich heritage in whole-hog cooking, just like there's a rich heritage in bluegrass music. Barbecue, like bluegrass, is synonymous with down-home celebrations," said Deborah Johnson, with North Carolina Pork Council.

World of Bluegrass will be in Raleigh for three years, beginning this year, as Raleigh continues to push to host events downtown. The event had previously been held in Nashville, Tenn.

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