Main Stage World of Bluegrass Performers Announced

RALEIGH, N.C. — Organizers of the 2019 International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass, sponsored by Chiesi USA and taking place Sept. 24-28 in Raleigh, announced a new round of performers for PNC Presents Wide Open Bluegrass. Wide Open Bluegrass is the free weekend festival that takes place at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater and on seven additional stages in downtown Raleigh Sept. 27-28.

I'm With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, & Aoife O'Donovan), Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range, Sister Sadie, and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen join previously announced Del McCoury and special guests, and Molly Tuttle for Main Stage performances at Red Hat Amphitheater for this year’s festival, with additional performers announced in the coming weeks. Performances at Red Hat Amphitheater will begin at 5 pm each night, and will feature premier bluegrass acts for six hours.

Beginning this year, the performances at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater will be open to the public for free, subject to venue capacity. A limited number of reserved seats in prime sections of the venue are available for purchase to ensure admittance for every performance.

I’m With Her is a band rooted in a rare alchemy: three celebrated songwriters coming together to create music that reveals entirely new possibilities in their distinct and deep-seated talents. Since forming in 2014, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan have imbued their songs with a sharply detailed lyricism, graceful musicianship, and—perhaps most powerfully—mesmerizing harmonies that endlessly reflect their extraordinary chemistry. In 2019, I’m With Her has been awarded Artist of the Year by the International Folk Music Awards and has been nominated for Duo/Group of the Year by the Americana Music Association.

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member Doyle Lawson is one of the most important architects of the bluegrass genre. The critically acclaimed artist, recipient of numerous music awards over the course of his impressive, influential 56-year career, is one of the most respected - and revered - performers in bluegrass today. Many consider DLQ as the Ivy League of bluegrass, with Lawson as the dean of students; perhaps no other band leader has mentored more student-musicians who have gone on to become major players in the bluegrass industry and beyond.

The 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range, has become one of the genre’s most award-winning acts. Since forming in 2007, the group has garnered 13 IBMA awards on the heels of 9 critically-acclaimed albums. The band's latest album, Aeonic, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart and features several #1 bluegrass radio songs.

The all-female group Sister Sadie has had a huge year, gaining notoriety in multiple music circles. With their latest Pinecastle Records project, Sister Sadie II, the all-star band consisting of bluegrass favorites Dale Ann Bradley (5-time IBMA "Female Vocalist of the Year" winner), Tina Adair (fronted her own band for 20 years), Deanie Richardson (ACM nominated fiddle player), and Gena Britt (played banjo with several critically acclaimed bands over the years), secured rave reviews in such prestigious outlets as Rolling Stone, NPR, and Parade Magazine, and earned a "Best Bluegrass Album" Grammy nomination. The group received a standing ovation when they made their Grand Ole Opry debut this spring.

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen released You Can’t Stand The Heat on Jan. 25, 2019 on Compass Records. The new 10-song collection, co-produced by Grammy-winning banjoist and Compass co-founder Alison Brown, offers a vibrant mix of songs, including the traditional "Lena" featuring the mid-Atlantic bluegrass vocals of Danny Paisley and Dudley Connell, the neo-old timey "Crooked Eye John," with the inimitable fiddling of label mate Michael Cleveland, and the compelling lead-off track "Crave," co-written by Frank and Becky Buller and showcasing the guitar prowess of Chris Luquette. The new album also delivers a compelling rendition of Steely Dan’s “Rikki” with lead vocals from Jeremy Middleton, the catchy “Be Sure” written by Frank Solivan, and the red-hot instrumental "Crack of Noon" penned by banjoist Mike Munford.

Wide Open Bluegrass will continue to be a fundraising vehicle for the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund, which provides direct financial assistance to bluegrass artists and other industry professionals in times of emergency need. (To date, the Trust Fund has given more than $800,000 in direct aid.)

Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA, said,“Today we are excited to announce more of this year’s incredible Red Hat Amphitheater Main Stage performers. When it is all said and done, bluegrass fans will get to enjoy artists ranging from Hall of Famers to award winning rising stars to special collaborations with amazing guests. This stage is the festival’s crescendo each day, and this year we are so pleased to offer free and open admission for more than half of the seats, while still giving the most devoted fans a chance to reserve prime seating both days. Don’t miss the world’s biggest bluegrass celebration!”

“This year, we are raising the bar on our ‘wide open’ brand of bluegrass in Raleigh,” says William Lewis, executive director of PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, and producer of Wide Open Bluegrass. “The new model in Red Hat Amphitheater — coupled with seven other stages of free musical performances and a wide array of accessibility services — is an intentional effort to take bluegrass to the masses by reducing barriers to participation. All are welcome. We sincerely appreciate our sponsors for helping make this dream a reality.”

PNC returns, for the seventh year, as the presenting sponsor for the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival. “For two days, downtown Raleigh hums with this great art form and the people who celebrate it,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president of Eastern Carolinas. “As presenting sponsor of the festival, it reflects PNC’s mission to make art and cultural events accessible to all. We hope everyone comes out this year to enjoy the sights and sounds.”

For the fifth year, Chiesi USA, Inc. — the Cary-based specialty pharmaceutical company — is the principal sponsor of the World of Bluegrass event. “This year, we’re especially proud that Chiesi’s principal sponsorship of World of Bluegrass will help make possible the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, providing free access to this truly American art form for thousands of our neighbors,” said Josh Franklin, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “At Chiesi, we strive daily to give back to our community, and this is a tangible way we can contribute to the quality of life here in the Triangle region.”

Information about Red Hat Amphitheater limited reserved seating, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations are available at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass website,

This project is supported by Come Hear North Carolina, a program of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council. Come Hear North Carolina is a promotional campaign of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council to celebrate North Carolina’s influence on America’s most important musical genres.

Come Hear NC shares and promotes authentic and compelling stories with 365 days of multimedia stories on; exclusive In the Water concert films; commissioned artists projects; live streaming of concerts; and educational resources. Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed 2019 as The Year of Music to create greater visibility for the music and the musicians of the state and for the unique people that are important to understanding, preserving and promoting the state’s music story. Learn more at

WRAL-TV, an NBC affiliate that serves the Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham region, is the official media sponsor for the Main Stage performances at Red Hat Amphitheater, as well as for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival.

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, whose Principal Sponsor is Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention. World of Bluegrass encompasses four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 24-26; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 24-26 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center; the 30th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 26; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 27-28, a two-day festival. Wide Open Bluegrass features the best of the best in bluegrass today, benefiting the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund — a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists bluegrass professionals during financial emergencies — and introducing the music to thousands of new fans every year. 

As in years past, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass events generated $12.7 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 223,000 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.

About Chiesi USA:
Chiesi USA, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to research, development, and commercialization of innovative products in the areas of cardiovascular, neonatology, respiratory, rare disease and special care therapeutics. Our primary focus is on people: the people we serve in the healthcare community; the people whose lives are touched by our products and services; and the people who work at Chiesi USA, as they strive to build their company, their family and their community. Chiesi USA, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A.

About PNC Bank:
PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit

About IBMA:
IBMA — the International Bluegrass Music Association — is the nonprofit professional organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s successful run in Raleigh is the product of their partnership with the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone — The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.



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