First Round of Performers Announced for the Wide Open Main Stage at World of Bluegrass 2018

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with a guest appearance by Patty Loveless; a special collaboration featuring Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, & Molly Tuttle; The Earls of Leicester presented by Jerry Douglas; and “The TRUST” – an all-star set featuring Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band, Donna Ulisse, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Sideline, and Love Canon will be featured


September 28-29 at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater

Additionally, the Wide Open Jam returns with a special host to be announced in July, and more superstar performers for the Wide Open Main Stage will be announced throughout the summer!

This festival will spotlight the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a safety net for bluegrass professionals

Tickets now on sale at World of Bluegrass

Nashville, TN (May 31, 2018) — Organizers of this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass, sponsored by Chiesi USA and taking place September 25-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina, announced the first round of performers for PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass. Wide Open Bluegrass is the weekend festival that takes place at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater on the ticketed Wide Open Main Stage and on 7 additional stages in downtown Raleigh September 28-29.

Wide Open Bluegrass, a premiere bluegrass experience, will feature  a special set with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with a guest appearance by Patty Loveless.  Skaggs, equally masterful in bluegrass and country music, is enjoying an exceptional run, having recently been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame, and received his 15th GRAMMY.  Loveless, who hails from the same eastern Kentucky mountains as Skaggs, won top female vocalist awards from CMA and ACM as part of her stellar country music career. She was awarded the 2011 Bluegrass Album GRAMMY Award for Mountain Soul II, her second bluegrass album featuring many of the finest players in the genre.

Additionally, for the first time at Wide Open Bluegrass, there will be a special collaboration featuring Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, and Molly Tuttle, who are the first women to earn IBMA awards on their instruments. Alison Brown became the first woman instrumentalist to receive an IBMA Player of the Year Award, and was only the second ever Banjo Player of the Year to be awarded. Missy Raines has taken home 7 IBMA instrumentalist awards on bass, while Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, and Molly Tuttle all earned their honors on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar (respectively) in Raleigh in the last two years. Buller took home the 2016 Female Vocalist of the Year Award, as well,  and Raines, Hull and Tuttle have all garnered critical acclaim for their singing, making this a band with plenty of firepower on all fronts.

“Missy and I both won Instrumentalists of the Year honors in the 1990s, the first women on our respective instruments,” says Alison Brown, President of Compass Records and 1991 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. “But we had a long wait before Sierra, Becky and Molly claimed top honors on mandolin, fiddle and guitar. When Molly was named Guitar Player of the Year last year it was a real watershed moment: we finally had five female Instrumentalists of the Year to make a band! It seemed to be an important statement, as well as an incredibly fun idea, for us to come together musically and celebrate how much women have achieved in bluegrass over the past quarter of a century. And, in the process, hopefully we’ll inspire the next generation of young women in whose hands and imaginations the future of bluegrass will be shaped.”

Wide Open Bluegrass is the principal fundraiser for the 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.) In this spirit, another unique collaboration in the Main Stage lineup will be “The TRUST” set, an all-star performance featuring Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band, Donna Ulisse, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Sideline, and Love Canon. These artists will highlight their benefit album, The TRUST, to be released by Mountain Home Music Company, whose proceeds benefit the Trust Fund. The TRUST features all new, original music written by the bands involved in the project. The songs are about themes of hope, courage, and perseverance and reflect the artists’ commitment to the bluegrass community.

“The IBMA Trust Fund has been an invaluable resource to so many bluegrass professionals in need over the years,” says Doyle Lawson, one of IBMA’s founders and an IBMA Hall of Fame member. “I’m proud to be a part of the special performance on the Wide Open Bluegrass Main Stage and the upcoming CD release by Mountain Home Records to help raise awareness and money for the Trust Fund.” Lawson will perform with his band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

The IBMA’s reigning Entertainers of the Year, The Earls of Leicester, led by 14-time GRAMMY winner Jerry Douglas, are helping the Bluegrass Trust Fund, too, with a special addition to their return to the Main Stage. As previously announced, The Earls are releasing a live 2-CD set, The Earls of Leicester Live from The CMA Theatre at the Country Music Hall of Fame, available to Wide Open Bluegrass ticket buyers at a deeply discounted price, and the Earls are generously donating a portion of all their pre-sale proceeds to the IBMA Trust Fund.

The tradition of thrilling Wide Open collaborations continues with the return of the Wide Open Jam (with a superstar host band to be announced in July). Additional superstar talent for the Wide Open Main Stage will be announced throughout the summer.

“We are excited to offer an incredible lineup of award winning artists and special collaborations this year for the Main Stage, with a couple of important themes added to make it even more unique,” said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA. “We all get to celebrate the ground-breaking accomplishments and amazing skills of the five first-time women instrumentalists of the year performing together on stage. We are also shining an extra bright spotlight on a vital resource, the IBMA Trust Fund with special performances and recordings that will entertain everyone and help so many people in need!”


“PineCone is proud to continue its partnership with IBMA and its role with the festival,” says William Lewis, executive director of PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, and producer of Wide Open Bluegrass. “There so many more exciting acts, collaborations, and special guests to announce in the coming months. We look forward to closing out the week’s events in the grandest of fashions.”

PNC returns, for the sixth year, as the presenting sponsor for the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival. “For the hundreds of thousands of music fans who come to
downtown Raleigh each year, Wide Open Bluegrass has become a touchstone for
those who love music, festivals and our region,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional
president of Eastern Carolinas. “Similar to past years, this bluegrass festival is unique as it offers a mix of local talent and national artists. PNC is proud to be the presenting
sponsor, and I hope everyone will join us in September.”

For the fourth year, Chiesi USA, Inc.- the Cary, North Carolina-based specialty pharmaceutical company – is the presenting sponsor of the World of Bluegrass event.

“One of the pillars of focus in our Chiesi in the Community corporate social responsibility program is to improve the health and well-being of the communities where we live and serve,” said Josh Franklin, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development. “The IBMA’s World of Bluegrass brings rich culture and enjoyment to our city, and we are proud to support this cultural event in our hometown.”

Single day general admission for performances at Red Hat Amphitheater during Wide Open Bluegrass starts as low as $60 for the general public and $50 for IBMA members. Additional details and pricing information – including member discounts – for Red Hat Amphitheater performances, Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations are available at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass website,

More info about World of Bluegrass and the Wide Open 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 25-27; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 25-27 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center; the 29th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 27; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 28-29, a two-day festival. The ticketed Wide Open Main Stage features the best of the best in bluegrass today, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists bluegrass professionals during financial emergencies. The free Wide Open StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces 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 $11.7 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 221,000 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.

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 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 IBMA 
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the nonprofit professional organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s nine-year run in Raleigh is the product of their successful 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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