Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, and the Earls of Leicester are among the confirmed performers for Wide Open Bluegrass, the two-day music festival that follows the annual IBMA Awards in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year’s festival will be held Sept. 28-29 at the Red Hat Amphitheater as well as seven additional downtown stages.
The organization also announced that its annual World of Bluegrass gathering, which incorporates a trade show, awards show, and multiple showcases, will stay in Raleigh through 2021. The IBMA Awards will be held on Sept. 27 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The nominees, Hall of Fame inductees, and Distinguished Achievement recipients will be announced live on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction on July 25. Hosting duties for the IBMA Awards have not yet been announced.
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder’s performance at Wide Open Bluegrass will feature a special appearance from Loveless. The Earls of Leicester have received the IBMA’s top award, Entertainer of the Year, for the past three years. Additionally, the festival will present 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. Brown became the first female instrumentalist to receive an IBMA Player of the Year Award, earning a 1991 win in the banjo category. Raines has taken home seven IBMA instrumentalist awards on bass, while Buller, Hull, and Tuttle all earned their honors on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar (respectively) in Raleigh in the last two years.
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. To benefit this cause, the Main Stage lineup will also include “The TRUST set,” 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, with proceeds benefiting the Trust Fund. Set for release on Mountain Home Music Company, 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.