North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties ahead of significant rainfall Friday, and the possible arrival of Hurricane Joaquin - a Category 4 storm, off the coast.
The US Hurricane Center upgraded Joaquin to a Category 4 at 2 p.m. on Thursday, calling the storm "extremely dangerous."
All performances will go on as scheduled!
For IBMA's World of Bluegrass 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 Wide Open Bluegrass festival.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, The National Hurricane Center in Miami said that additional strengthening is expected over the next 24 hours, as the storm moves past the Bahamas, bringing winds, heavy rain, dangerous surf and significant storm surge.
In addition to yesterday's announcement that the ticketed portion of the weekend's bluegrass will be moved indoors to the Convention Center, organizers confirmed this 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.
According to THE WEATHER CHANNEL, Joaquin may directly or indirectly affect the East Coast late this weekend or early next week, and a landfall is still possible, though the probability of that is diminishing.
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.
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 Etix.com 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.
Our primary concern is for all event participants--attendees, performers, vendors, and sponsors--to be safe, and to have a jammin' good time.
Members of the public can call 919-645-2665 with any questions about the changes to the event.
Updated information will be made available via wideopenbluegrass.com, on the festival app, via IBMA's and various local social media channels and platforms, and on-site at the Raleigh Convention Center.