The 2018 Midtown Bluegrass Series kicks off with the power-house bluegrass band The Lil Smokies (4:30-6 p.m.) and North Carolina’s own Big Fat Gap (3-4 p.m.)! Before the music gets started on stage, youth musicians ages 18 and under are invited to jam together beginning at 2 p.m. with Jef Walter and members of the Carolina PineCones. Note: The jam tent area will be set up near Chuy’s, on the far end of the lawn from the concert stage.
The Lil Smokies perform a unique blend of excellent songwriting, bluegrass roots and the sheer raw energy of a rock band. They weave seamlessly through genres, leaving behind melodies you’ll be singing to yourself for days. When people see The Lil Smokies setting up their acoustic instruments, they’re often unprepared for the electric energy they generate. The band captures that same dynamic presence on their new album, Changing Shades, delivering their exceptional songwriting and bluegrass roots with the punch of a rock band. They cut Changing Shades in a lighthearted, week-long session at SnowGhost Music in Whitefish, Montana with engineer Brett Allen (The Avett Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Béla Fleck) and co-producer Rob Gordon (Elephant Revival). The first incarnation of The Lil Smokies got together in Missoula, Montana, during the winter of 2009. Through the years, the band transformed and settled into the current lineup – Scott Parker on bass; Jake Simpson on fiddle; Matt Rieger on guitar; Matt Cornette on banjo; and Andy Dunnigan on dobro. Dunnigan is also the lead songwriter and vocalist for the band. The band won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Band competition and took home the 2016 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year award. They’re also festival favorites, wowing fans from coast to coast at the High Sierra, FreshGrass, Telluride Bluegrass, Grey Fox, Del Fest, Floyd Fest, and String Summit festivals, to name a few.
Big Fat Gap is a back porch bluegrass band that has no plans to take Nashville by storm. Some of them even have day jobs. They just like to pick, they like each other, and it shows in their performances, which are known to be excellent for those who enjoy sweet three-part harmonies, smoking solos, and captivating stage dynamics. They got their name from one of the few remaining stands of old growth virgin forest in western North Carolina, located in the Big Fat Gap in Graham County near the Tennessee border. Their debut album, Shackled and Chained, was produced by their frequent collaborator Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange. The core band members are: Miles Andrews on lead vocals and bass, Jeff Stickley on guitar, and Chris Roszell on banjo; and you never know who might join them on stage as special guests!
Midtown Events is a division of Kane Realty Corp. They plan, produce, and manage all outdoor events at North Hills. Their mission is to build community and to create memorable experiences in Midtown Raleigh. All of their events are free to the public.
Presented by PNC, with additional support from Larceny Bourbon and Clancy & Theys.
A Special Note about Inclement Weather
In the interest of everyone’s safety and comfort, we have secured a rain location for this Sunday’s concert with The Lil Smokies and special guests Big Fat Gap – the Renaissance Hotel in North Hills!
Seating in the ballroom is limited to 300. So, we request that anyone planning on attending Sunday’s concert regardless of weather, please RSVP and reserve a seat for the concert. These free tickets are first-come, first-served, and seating in the ballroom will be general admission.
If the concert is outdoors, all are welcome as normal (no ticket required). If the concert is indoors, a ticket will be required.
If you reserve seats and end up not being able to attend the event, please help your fellow concert-goers by releasing your tickets so someone else can RSVP. A waiting list is set up for this event via Eventbrite.
With your help, we will do all that we can to ensure that everyone who wants to attend this concert will be able to participate and enjoy the show.
****A final announcement will be made by 10 a.m. Sunday (via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter) about whether the show will be indoors or outdoors. We need to make the call in the morning in order to ensure ample load-in and sound check time at either venue so the performers can put on the best possible concert for you!*****
If the show is called for OUTDOORS, then simply go to the original location at the Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park, located behind Chuy’s. No ticket required. Please note:
- No outside coolers or alcohol permitted – beverages will be available for purchase on-site
- One sealed water bottle per person, and children’s juice boxes, are allowed.
- ALL bags, backpacks, strollers, and folding chairs will be checked upon entry.
- Leashed pets are welcome – please clean up after your pets!
If the show is called for INDOORS, then, those of you who RSVP’d, report directly to the Renaissance Hotel ballroom. Tickets required. Please note:
- No outside food or beverages are permitted in the hotel ballroom.
- Pets are not allowed in the hotel.
The Renaissance Hotel address is: 4100 Main St at North Hills, Raleigh, 27609. There is complementary self parking both next to the hotel and in the two covered decks below the hotel. Additional information about the Renaissance Hotel
Unfortunately, if the event moves indoors, we will have to cancel the youth jam. If we are able to hold the event outdoors, look for the youth jam tent near Chuy’s at the far end of the lawn from the amphitheater stage.