Tuning into Raleigh
For the first time ever, the International Bluegrass Music
Association’s (IBMA) yearly convention, Wide Open Bluegrass festival and awards show, will happen
here in North Carolina.
Taking place in Raleigh Sept. 24 to 28, the IBMA World of Bluegrass event will feature everything from business meetings to music showcases to everyday bluegrass lovers from around the world jamming in the hallways all night long.
The best artists in the bluegrass world will also be there to take part in the 24th annual IBMA Awards Show and to perform for the fans. The venues featuring live music over the five days include the Raleigh Convention Center, the Red Hat Amphitheater, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and various after-hours showcases hosted at clubs around town. There will also be a free multi-stage Street Fair, where the top bands in the business will hold court over the weekend.
As a part of IBMA World of Bluegrass week, Valle Crucis’ Mast Farm Inn and the folks at MerleFest have collaborated to create the North Carolina Bluegrass Pavilion. Touting the theme of “Music from the Mountains to the Coast,” the pavilion will not only feature a wide array of roots music native to the Tar Heel State, but it will also highlight the culture and food of this part of the world.
The idea for the North Carolina Bluegrass Pavilion was hatched by Mast Farm Inn’s Henri Deschamps, Steve Johnson and Ted Hagaman, festival director of MerleFest, and is being produced by Sonic Pie Productions. The pavilion will be located in the Exhibit Hall of the Raleigh Convention Center, and it will feature displays, panels and artist interaction, as well as performances throughout the day.
“It is a fantastic convention center, one of the nicest I’ve ever been to,” Deschamps said. “Basically, there will be five sections in the pavilion. One will be an acoustic stage, where we will have over 20 bands performing over the two-and-a-half-day period during the day. Then, at night, we’ll have bands performing at the nearby Long View Center. So, all together, we will host about 45 concerts by 39 bands. Then we’ll have a media station, where the media can come and do interviews with the artists.”
A hospitality station will feature chocolates and samples from Cackalacky Sauces, Deschamps said, as well as many others with tastes of North Carolina specialty foods.
“There will be an artist station for musicians who do not have a booth at the convention, where they can meet their fans — an artist meet-and-greet place. And there will be two TVs there, with one showing music and the other showing documentaries about North Carolina. When the IBMA decided to move their convention to Raleigh, we decided to give them a big North Carolina welcome, and that is what the pavilion is about.”
One of the acts scheduled to appear at a North Carolina Bluegrass Pavilion showcase is the award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, who collectively will also host the IBMA Awards Show on Sept. 26.
Once the North Carolina Bluegrass Pavilion began to come together, many other co-sponsors and participants came onboard.
“For example, Burt’s Bees is a co-sponsor,” Deschamps said. “The Carolina Chocolate Drops have a foundation, called the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and they will be there.”
Others include Pinecastle Records, the North Carolina Museum of History, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Mast General Store, Select Registry Inns and more, he said.
As for co-hosts who will deliver presentations and panel discussions, Aaron Burdett, who won Our State magazine’s song contest with “Going Home to Carolina,” will host a presentation on songwriting, as will Mark Bumgarner. The band, Red June, will present on harmony singing, while Lou Reid will present on touring and traveling.
For more information, visit http://www.themastfarminn.com/north-carolina-bluegrass-pavilion/ and http://www.ibma.org.