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Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush to perform at bluegrass festival

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Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell

When the International Bluegrass Music Association comes to downtown Raleigh this September, some of today's top names in bluegrass will make their ways to the City of Oaks.

Set for Sept. 27 and 28, the Wide Open Bluegrass festival -- previously known as the World of Bluegrass -- Fan Fest will bring bluegrass greats Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Alison Krauss, Del McCoury and Tony Rice the Raleigh Convention Center and the Red Hat Amphitheater.

On Sept. 28, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, and the Punch Brothers are set to perform during the event.

Ticket information for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival -- as well as the full slate of performers -- will be announced at a press conference in Raleigh on May 15.

[LINK] Wide Open Bluegrass Fan Fest
[LINK] International Bluegrass Music Association
[LINK] IBMA Awards
[LINK] IBMA Business Conference

The Wide Open Bluegrass Fan Fest is part of a week-long event that also includes a four-day business conference and the International Bluegrass Music Awards.

The event was previously held in Nashville, Tenn., but will relocate to Raleigh Sept. 23-29, 2013.

IBMA board member and Kneedeep in Bluegrass radio host Cindy Baucom says Raleigh was a logical choice for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival because of North Carolina's bluegrass heritage that reaches far beyond the contemporary bluegrass music of the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Grass Cats, Jim Mills and David Holt.

"Some argue Bill Monroe might not have made it to the Opry to unveil this new genre of music had it not been for Raleigh, N.C.," Baucom said. "That's the place where he and his brother Charlie famously parted ways in 1938, which started a chain of events that would lead the younger brother, Bill Monroe, to form the Blue Grass Boys."

Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, says it is expected it will generate a direct economic impact of more than $9.9 million per year in Wake County. Along with that, he says the event will bring more 16,000 visitors to Raleigh, with more 8,500 from out of town.

"IBMA currently has blocked eight hotels just for the convention delegates alone, which will generate over 5,900 total room nights per year," Edwards said.

In addition to highlighting the City and the accomplishments of former mayor Charles Meeker, McFarlane says the event will be an opportunity to showcase the arts and culture of the region.

"The rest of the world is going to start to discover what an incredible local music scene we have," McFarlane said. "We have so much richness in arts and culture here, and so much of that is organic."

IBMA Interim Executive Director Nancy Cardwell says the World of Bluegrass's move to downtown Raleigh does not mean a complete move from Nashville. "The IBMA offices will continue to be located in Nashville, Tenn.," she said.


It's official: World of Bluegrass event coming to Raleigh in 2013

The International Bluegrass Music Association will bring its week-long 'World of Bluegrass' event to downtown Raleigh in 2013.

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