FAQ: PineCone Produced Festival Coming in 2025

There will be a new look to the Bluegrass Festival in 2025. PineCone and the City of Raleigh will create an event that continues the tradition of Wide Open Bluegrass and IBMA Bluegrass Live powered by PNC. The 2025 version of the festival that locals simply call “Bluegrass” will include all of the things we love about Downtown Raleigh’s signature event plus a few new surprises.

WHAT’S CHANGING?

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced on September 27th that 2024 will be its final year in Raleigh and that it will be seeking a new location for World of Bluegrass (WOB). That’s the weeklong event that includes a private business conference, industry showcase performances and the awards show. The City of Raleigh put together a competitive bid proposal to keep WOB in Raleigh but the terms of an agreement could not be reached. So the branding for the festival in downtown Raleigh will be changing in 2025 but the fun will continue.

“I would have loved to see IBMA stay, but another part of me thinks it’s going to be really exciting,” says PineCone Executive Director David Brower.
“Because I think we can broaden out beyond the industry definition of bluegrass and really put something together … that reflects the diversity of the city that has supported us all these years.”

AXIOS 09/27/23

IS THIS ABOUT MONEY?

In part, yes, but not entirely. The current contract with the IBMA covers 2022, 2023 and 2024. As in years past, another extension was proposed and negotiated by the City of Raleigh in good faith. It’s a business deal which of course includes financial details like hotel room rates, facility rental fees and revenue sharing. But this relationship has always been about much more than dollars and cents. The IBMA came to Raleigh to build the audience for Bluegrass. By that measurement the partnership has been successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The festival is fun, popular, culturally enriching and generated millions in direct economic impact to Wake County. That’s why local organizers are strongly committed not only to keeping the festival going but to take steps that will make it even better than before. 

“While it is always sad to see a wonderful era end, we eagerly anticipate what our great city has planned for 2025 and beyond,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “We’re grateful to our friends at the IBMA for expanding the roots and branches of bluegrass in Raleigh, and I look forward to a reimagined festival run by PineCone, with a continued focus on diversity and inclusion.”

PRESS RELEASE 09/27/23

THIS IS MY FAVORITE WEEKEND OF THE YEAR – IS IT OVER?

Not at all! There will be a festival September 27-28, 2024 produced by PineCone and the City of Raleigh in partnership with IBMA under the current agreement. That will be followed by a newly reimagined festival beginning in 2025. PineCone and the City of Raleigh are firmly committed to continuing to produce a world-class event that celebrates bluegrass and other musical genres rooted in community.

 “The weekend festival has always been an activation of the Local Organizing Committee,” said Loren Gold of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re excited to put all we have learned over this past decade together to create a new homegrown festival. We’re going to work with our local partners to reimagine a new festival. It’s going to keep growing and getting even better.”

Press release 09/27/23

WHERE IS IBMA GOING?

IBMA has not selected a new host city for the business conference.

WHAT IS THE NEW FESTIVAL?

It will have all the elements that everybody loves about Bluegrass now. There will be stages, jamming, art, food and some of the best musicians and entertainers in the country. The new festival model will continue to support PineCone’s mission to present, preserve and promote traditional music that’s rooted in this region. But beyond that we’re still very much in the planning process. Again, we have another festival in the current model scheduled for September 27-28, 2024.

“What’s really exciting is that we’re keeping all the best elements of the festival that the city has grown to know and love,” said Brower. “We’ll still be filling the streets with joyful music played from the heart.”

WRAL NEWS 09/27/23

IS THERE A NAME FOR RALEIGH’S NEW FESTIVAL?

Not yet, but we welcome your ideas and suggestions, please let us know.

WHEN IS THE NEW FESTIVAL?

The dates for the next festival are September 27-28, 2024 and we are busy working to make that event one for the ages. Dates and details for 2025 and beyond are still to come.

“We can broaden our cultural palate,” said Brower. “We still love bluegrass and will be fully committed, but it’s not going to be all that. We’re going to branch out…”

News & observer 09/27/23