On Friday afternoon, September 27, 2013, I decided to walk out of the Marriott Hotel in Raleigh, N.C., and into the free Wide Open Bluegrass street festival. It’s a sunny day and there are people everywhere in North Carolina’s capitol city, to the tune of 60,000 plus. As I wade through the crowd, I take the time to walk to the multiple stages that are featuring music and, at each one, bluegrass bands such as The Boxcars, The Honeycutters and The SteelDrivers are performing before a lot of people.
Eventually, I walk towards the beautiful Red Hat Amphitheater located next to the Raleigh Convention Center. Not far from the highly populated street festival, the 5,500-seat open-air arena is sold out. Not only is the amphitheater filled to the brim with music fans, there are folks standing in the various levels of a nearby parking garage overlooking the venue trying to take in the show. And, there are ticket scalpers outside the amphitheater as well. Yes, I just said that there were ticket scalpers at a bluegrass concert.
While there may be things that need to be tweaked in the future, the rumors and comments that you may have heard about the 2013 IBMA World of Bluegrass (WOB) are true. The people of Raleigh did what they said they were going to do, making the WOB convention and the bluegrass world, in general, the focus of their hospitality. And, they stepped up and blocked off some of the main streets of their downtown area and handed them over to bluegrass music. A true buzz was created. The word is out. Read entire article »