PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest Lineup Announcement


PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass 2016; Downtown Raleigh, Fri/Sat, noon - 11 pm, Fri/Sat, Sept. 30 & Oct. 1; with illustration of squirrel playing banjo

2016 PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest lineup

The fourth annual PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, scheduled for September 30 and October 1 in downtown Raleigh, will showcase a broad mix of local, national, and international bluegrass talent on an expanded footprint this year.

This year’s festival footprint will extend south of City Plaza toward the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.  While there will not be programs inside at the Performing Arts Center, there will be programming on Lichtin Plaza and the two surface lots out front.

The Dance Tent will take up one the two surface lots, and the other surface lot will host the NC Whole Hog Barbecue Championship on Friday, Sept. 30 and a Food Truck Rodeo on Saturday.

Lichtin Plaza will be the site of the Junior Appalachian Musicians (J.A.M.) Stage, plus a giant slide and other games and activities for kids and families. This area is envisioned as a relaxing alternative to the hustle and bustle of Fayetteville Street, with additional art and food vendors, tables, chairs, and grass (and shade) for picnic blankets, and more.

“The free StreetFest allows us to kick the doors wide open on IBMA’s week-long homecoming event and invite everyone to downtown Raleigh to experience the vitality of bluegrass today,” said William Lewis, Executive Director of PineCone and producer of Wide Open Bluegrass. “Not only will there be more than 100 performances by veteran bands, rapidly emerging stars, and promising young talent from around the globe, but also the bluegrass expo hall, the film fest, and the masters' workshop stage will still be in the Raleigh Convention Center. There will also be great food, including Carolina-style barbecue from the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue Championship and some favorite local food trucks; kids activities; unique artwork thanks to Artsplosure, North Carolina-made products thanks to Shop Local Raleigh and Got to be NC; something for everyone.”

“StreetFest is free and features the best bluegrass artists and fun activities for people of all ages,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas. “Last year’s hit, the PNC Porch, will be back on Fayetteville Street so festival goers can kick back, relax in rocking chairs and try their hand at playing music. We are looking forward to a great Wide Open Bluegrasss weekend.”

After being rained out and rescheduled last year, the North Carolina Pork Council’s Whole Hog Barbecue Championship will be part of Wide Open Bluegrass again this year as well.

“Nothing goes better with bluegrass than North Carolina barbecue. It’s the perfect combination,” said Deborah Johnson, chief executive officer of the NCPC. “Festival-goers can get their fill this year with a multitude of options that celebrate our barbecue heritage.”

Barbecue lovers will find plenty of possibilities to learn about whole hog barbecue and tempt their palates during the festival, including the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship and NC Barbecue Experience Dinners sponsored by Cheshire Pork. Festivities include:

  • Friday night: NC Barbecue Experience Dinner featuring Matthew Register of Southern Smoke in Garland, NC. 5-9 p.m. at Cabarrus Crossroads.
  • Saturday morning: Whole Hog Barbecue Championship judging. 8:45 a.m. near the Performing Arts Center.
  • Saturday afternoon: Championship barbecue sandwich sales, benefiting the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Noon at Cabarrus Crossroads and the Food Truck Rodeo.
  • Saturday night: NC Barbecue Experience Dinner with Tyson Ho of New York’s Arrogant Swine. 5-9 p.m. at Cabarrus Crossroads.

The Championship is free. Barbecue sandwiches are $5 on Cabarrus Street and at the Food Truck Rodeo from Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Tickets for the NC Barbecue Experience Dinners sponsored by Cheshire Pork are $15. For more details visit, the Whole Hog Barbecue Facebook page or the NCPC Facebook page.

The PNC-presented free Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, held in downtown Raleigh along Fayetteville Street, will feature more than 100 bands, five music stages, a dance tent, vendors and concessions.

The Youth Stage, featuring performers chosen by IBMA’s Youth Council (with youth members from across the U.S. and Ireland), will feature performances from the future stars of bluegrass in front of the Convention Center.

Also near the Convention Center, the Banjostand returns with some new enhancements, including a ramp for better accessibility and a new banjo for Sir Walter. There will be yoga at the Banjostand at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, a banjo players photo op, and more! The popular Banjostand photo contest will be held again this year thanks to the Office of Raleigh Arts, and Pokémon Go players may even find some Pokémon learning banjo from Sir Walter as part of this year’s festivities!

INSIDE the Convention Center during the festival, the Bluegrass Expo Hall will be free and open to the public, and the Masters' Workshop Stage returns to provide a platform for musicians to share tips and tricks of the trade.

“We are excited to have another amazing Wide Open Bluegrass weekend planned. In addition to the stellar lineup of artists performing on the main stage at the Red Hat Amphitheater, the StreetFest stages throughout downtown Raleigh will feature a wide array of top bluegrass artists. The partnership with Raleigh’s Local Organizing Committee - including PineCone, the Raleigh Convention Center, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Raleigh, and many others - and PNC's ongoing support have helped elevate the IBMA’s signature event and make it like no other in the bluegrass world,” said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA.

Wide Open Bluegrass brings together music fans from all around the world, and IBMA and PineCone work to provide an event that is welcoming to all participants. As part of ongoing efforts to expand the accessibility of this year’s event, organizers are working with Mobility Concepts to provide scooters and wheelchairs for rent on site, and they are also launching a pilot program to pair sighted guides with festival-goers who are blind or low vision. Community members who want to take part in this pilot program are encouraged to call PineCone-Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, at 919-664-8333, x103, or to sign up online at More information about festival accessibility is available online at

In addition to the free Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, the ticketed Main Stage performances for both days will take place at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater. Tickets for Red Hat Amphitheater are still available and can be ordered through A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales benefits the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals in the bluegrass music community in times of emergency need. This event has a history of selling out in Raleigh, and with this year’s lineup featuring the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Del McCoury Band, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers, as well as many unique collaborations like the Soggy Bottom Boys’ set and the Kruger Brothers with a 14-piece symphony, along with many other top-tier bluegrass acts on the bill, this year’s Main Stage lineup is a must-see for bluegrass fans. To purchase tickets for this portion of Wide Open Bluegrass, go to

PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass is part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s five-day World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 29-October 3. Complete information about all of IBMA’s programs in Raleigh is available on IBMA’s website:

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community.

Sponsors of the Wide Open Bluegrass street festival, presented by PNC, include: Bud Light; Big Boss; Lone Rider; Great American; Chevy; Boone; Lowes Foods; Ron and Nancy McFarlane; and Chiesi; Pepsi; Cheerwine; Mist Twist; Ovi Hydration; Martin Guitar; WakeMed; Citrix Sharefile; NC Railroad; Womble Carlyle; GoRaleigh; Champion Windows; OrderUp; Covington Vodka; Cheshire Pork; CAI; Duke Energy; Residence Inn Raleigh; Stanley Martin Homes; Campbell Law; Highwoods; the Downtown Raleigh Alliance; Raleigh Marriott City Center; and Holiday Inn Downtown Raleigh.

Media sponsors include: WRAL,, WTVD, WNCN, The News & Observer, and Curtis Media.

The Youth Stage is made possible this year thanks to Amtrak, NC Amtrak, and 919 Magazine.

The StreetFest is brought to you by collaboration among the City of Raleigh, Raleigh Convention Center, IBMA, PineCone, and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a local organizing committee.

The full schedule of artists and performance times for various stages at the free Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest is listed below. For any schedule adjustments or additions, check or download the festival app, free for iOS and Android devices.