StreetFest Moving Inside Raleigh Convention Center


Even the weather can't steal center stage from all the great bluegrass musicians in Raleigh this week for IBMA's World of Bluegrass, but this weekend the Raleigh Convention Center will be the physical manifestation of the proverbial "Big Tent" - it'll house more than 100 bands from around the world playing a variety of styles of bluegrass over the course of the two-day PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass festival. In addition to Wednesday's announcement that the ticketed portion of the weekend will be moved indoors to the Convention Center, organizers confirmed on Thursday morning that the main components of the StreetFest will also move indoors, including all of the music stages and the vendors from the Got to be NC, Arts Market, and Shop Local Raleigh sections of the festival. The NC Pork Council's Barbecue Experience Dinners will also be hosted inside the Convention Center.

The Dance Tent will move to Salisbury Street in front of the Convention Center - in addition to a tent over the top, the area will be walled in to help shield dancers, musicians, and audience members from the weather.

"Of course we've been watching the weather closely all week, and IBMA staff and volunteers, City staff and volunteers, artists, vendors, sponsors, and everyone involved in making this event happen has been focused on how to make the event work in a very different environment while still celebrating the music that brought us all together this week. We are particularly glad that IBMA, the City of Raleigh, and the Convention Center teams have been so flexible in helping us to ensure that all scheduled artists will still be able to perform, and we look forward to offering a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone to enjoy safely this weekend," said William Lewis, Executive Director of PineCone and the festival's producer.

The new stage locations are as follows:
City Plaza Stage: Ballroom C
Hargett St Stage: Ballroom A
Youth Stage: Convention Center Room 402
Davie St Stage: Convention Center Room 301 (Ground Floor)
Martin St Stage: Convention Center Room 302 (Ground Floor)
J.A.M. showcase stage: Convention Center Room 304 (Ground Floor)
Performance schedules will remain the same, and schedules will be posted outside the corresponding rooms in the Convention Center.

Shop Local Raleigh vendors will be placed on the Mezzanine level of the Convention Center outside the Ballrooms, and Ballroom B will house the NC Pork Council Barbecue Experience Dinners and serve as a food court. Due to the impending rain and wind, the North Carolina Pork Council announced today the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship has been postponed.

“We are disappointed for our cooks, our charitable partner the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and our attendees,” said Ann Edmondson, director of communications and marketing, NCPC. “The perfect storm of rain, cold and possible wind creates an unsafe and unviable situation for cooking pigs to perfection — which is required in a certified competition like ours.

“We are pleased that barbecue will still have a place during this weekend’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. Our well-anticipated Barbecue Experience Dinners on Friday and Saturday nights will, indeed, still take place.”

Festival attendees can enjoy North Carolina barbecue at its best in the Raleigh Convention Center, Ballroom B. Friday night’s dinner will feature Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ of NC and Saturday night’s dinner will feature Linwood Parker of White Swan BBQ. Dinner experience tickets are $15 and can be purchased prior to the event at or at the door.

The North Carolina Pork Council is working to reschedule the Championship in the coming months.

Got to Be NC Vendors will be placed in the North Halls on the ground level of the Convention Center, and Arts Market vendors will be in the South Halls on the same level.

Martin Guitar will host an acoustic stage in exhibit hall C, where IBMA's expo will be; this section will also welcome in activation areas from festival sponsors Boone, North Carolina; Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Carolina Chevy Dealers; and more; and it will remain free and open to the public.

Additional food vendors will be outside the Convention Center on Salisbury and Cabarrus streets.

As announced yesterday, the Red Hat Amphitheater programming will be moved into the Convention Center Exhibit Halls A and B. The Box Office, Will Call, and VIP check-in will be on the Convention Center's Mezzanine Level (accessed via the doors on the corner of Cabarrus & McDowell, across McDowell St from Red Hat Amphitheater).

Tickets purchased for the shows at the Red Hat Amphitheater will be valid in the Convention Center, and the process for entry will be the same: Bring your paper ticket to the exhibit hall and when you leave, you will get a wristband for re-entry.  In addition, people with reserved seats will still be guaranteed a comparable seat in the section in which their original ticket was reserved.

Friday's programs are sold out; tickets are still available for Saturday night, with a lineup including Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas presents the Earls of Leicester, The Infamous Stringdusters, the Kruger Brothers with the Kontras Quartet and special guest Branford Marsalis, The Wailin' Jennys, and more; those tickets can be purchased online via or in person at the Convention Center.

"We are grateful for our strong partnership with the City of Raleigh. It allows us to move forward with the Wide Open Bluegrass main stage performances as planned," said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association, in reference to yesterday's call to move the Red Hat Amphitheater performances indoors.

Our primary concern is for all event participants--attendees, performers, vendors, and sponsors--to be safe, and to have a jammin' good time.

Updated information will be made available via the Wide Open Bluegrass website, on the festival app, via IBMA's and various local social media channels and platforms, and on-site at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Members of the public can call 919-645-2665 with any questions about the changes to the event.

Sponsors of the Wide Open Bluegrass street festival, presented by PNC, include: Bud Light, Big Boss Brewing Company, Lone Rider Beer, Natty Greene’s Brewing Company, Great America, Ron and Nancy McFarlane, NC Arts Council, Food Lion, Move Loot, Central Carolina Chevrolet Dealers, Boone, Red Hat, WakeMed, Martin Guitar, Blue Cross, Citrix, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP, Covington Vodka, Go Ape, NC Railroad, Highwoods, GoTriangle, Pepsi, Nature’s Twist, Cheerwine, Stanley Martin Homes, Duke Energy, Link Glenwood South, Raleigh Marriott City Center, Sheraton Raleigh, Holiday Inn Downtown Raleigh and Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Raleigh. Media sponsors include: WRAL,, WTVD, WNCN, The News & Observer, and Curtis Media. ​

The Youth Stage is made possible this year by PBS from a grant awarded to UNC-TV that encourages the support of public television and the arts, Amtrak, NC Amtrak, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, 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. PNC Bank is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC ( is one of the United States' largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.


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