Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wide Open Bluegrass Fest Rain Update

The ticketed portion of this weekend's Wide Open Bluegrass festival will be moved from the Red Hat Amphitheater into the Raleigh Convention Center in Exhibit Halls A & B. All current Red Hat Amphitheater tickets will be honored. Friday's performances are sold out; tickets are still available for Saturday and can be purchased via or at the door at the event.
"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 addition, the local organizing committee, in partnership with the IBMA, has a contingency plan for all free performances to move indoors to the Raleigh Convention Center, along with all vendors and other festival activities, if the current weather forecast holds. Organizers finalized the plans this afternoon and will make a final call tomorrow morning by 10 a.m. whether to implement the plan.
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, on the festival app, and via IBMA's and various local social media channels and platforms. 
The final call for StreetFest will be made on Thursday morning, October 1, so stay tuned for updates.   

Bluegrass Fest Spotlight: The Railsplitters

Arguably one of the greatest components of the International Bluegrass Music Association choosing North Carolina as the host of their Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, is the opportunity to discover new artists at the turn of every corner in downtown Raleigh. Last year was the second year Raleigh played host to the music event and the reception of the festival was clearly embraced as over 140,000 music fans filled the streets to listen to bluegrass music.  

For The Triangle Beat, one band that had us anticipating the return of the festival was The Railsplitters.  Originally from Colorado, The Railsplitters are a bluegrass band that encompass all of the elements of traditional bluegrass music with the modern flare of some of the biggest names in the music industry.  This was apparent at the 2014 Wide Open Bluegrass festival as the Hargett St. Stage became electrified by their performance.  From their hypnotic vocals, to their incredible skills at playing a variety of instruments, The Railsplitters are sure to catch the attention of any music lover exploring the festival.  

Most recently, the band has released their sophomore album titled, The Faster it Goes.  As you prepare for the upcoming days of IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass, check out a feature track off that album titled, "Tilt-a-Whirl."  Find out more about the band and purchase The Faster It Goes by checking out their website.

The Wide Open Bluegrass festival will provide two opportunities to catch this amazing act throughout the week.  Be sure to add one of the following sets to your weekly itinerary:

Wednesday, September 30 - 
12:00-1:00am @ Tir-Na-Nog

Saturday, October 3 - 
9:45-11:00pm @ Hargett St. Stage

For a complete listing of showtimes, bands, and to purchase tickets, visit the IBMA website.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bluegrass Fest Spotlight: The Gravy Boys

The Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is proud to once again host the always entertaining Americana band, The Gravy Boys.  This five-piece acoustic group offers true lyrical genius, sharing classic themes that resonate with listeners of all ages. Gravy songs are created collaboratively, with each member having a significant role in sewing the lyrics together.  This talent for writing and performing has gained some recognition for the band recently, playing the highly respected MerleFest and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in years past.                  

A show with The Gravy Boys promises to provide boot-stompin' fun with vocal harmonies and lively banter. With three of the bandmates being brothers, the boisterous jeering comes naturally, and makes the audience feel like they're at a family gathering.  Crowding around one condenser mic, the band's strong musicianship and engaging harmony is evident.  The group's talents mesh together intricately, but they are equally able to spotlight individual talents, taking turns soloing on the mandolin, guitar, harmonica, and bass. While The Gravy Boys are immersed in tradition, their shows also offer some surprises, including unconventional covers like The Zombies' "Time of the Season."

There is plenty of opportunity to catch The Gravy Boys this week for the World of Bluegrass event; check out their showtimes below:

     --Thursday - 6 PM - The Vintage Church (Bluegrass Ramble)
     --Thursday - 10 PM - Lincoln Theatre (Bluegrass Ramble)
     --Friday - 7:30-9 PM - The Dance Tent (corner of Fayetteville St. and Hargett St.)

To see a complete listing of showtimes, bands, and to purchase tickets, visit the IBMA website

*photo courtesy of Dave Brainard 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Bluegrass Fest Spotlight - Flatt Lonesome

With the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival less than one week away, one band that is highly anticipated to return to Raleigh this year is Flatt Lonesome.  After being named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2014 Awards Show, the band returns next week in hopes of claiming even more accolades. This year could be a greater success for the group as they are nominated for Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year. As if being in the running for these two great honors isn't enough, the band will also be releasing their third album, Runaway Train, at the festival on Friday, October 2.

Flatt Lonesome is comprised of 6 members; Charli and Buddy Robertson, Kelsi Robertson Harigill, Paul Harigill, Dominic Ingleworth, and Michael Stockton.  As indicated by their early success, the group has quickly become one of the hottest names in bluegrass music thanks to their individual talents and a collective passion for creating a truly remarkable sound.
For a brief preview of their upcoming album, the band has generated the following clip for your viewing and listening pleasure:

You can catch Flatt Lonesome at one of their following performances:

-Tuesday - 11:30pm - Marriott Room #320-322
-Wednesday - 1:00am - Convention Center Workshop Stage
-Thursday - 7:30pm - IBMA Award's Show - Duke Energy Performing Arts Center
-Friday - 5:00pm - CD Release Meet 'n Greet/Jam with the band - Convention Center
-Saturday - 11:30am - Red Hat Amphitheater
-Saturday - 2:00pm - Jam with the Youth - Convention Center Youth Room

If you simply can't wait for their album release, a copy can be pre-odered via iTunes. The IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass will feature Flatt Lonesome and over 50 other bands performing throughout the week of Sept. 29-Oct.3 in downtown Raleigh.  For tickets and more information, please visit the Wide Open Bluegrass website. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Carrboro Music Festival

If you're looking to immerse yourself in local music this weekend, Carrboro should be your destination.  The 18th annual Carrboro Music Festival returns with a kickoff on Saturday night in the Town Commons and Cat's Cradle.

The festival spans the town of Carrboro, using 25 locations and showcasing over 180 talented acts.  The full day festival takes place on Sunday beginning at 1 and continues through 11.  This event is free and intended to celebrate local talent and community.  A shuttle bus will be provided to get from one act to the next.  For more details and a festival map, head over to the event's official website. The Town of Carrboro has also released a rain plan for the event, so don't let the weather ruin your weekend fun.

Bluegrass Fest Spotlight - The Steel Wheels

IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is almost upon the great City of Oaks.  This celebration of Americana, roots, and bluegrass music begins on September 29 and carries through October 3.  The lineup is filled with soulful, energetic and traditional bands that will play on the streets and in venues across downtown Raleigh.  The Street Fest is free to the public and filled with an impressive lineup with 90+ bands on five stages.  The Bluegrass Ramble is held in various downtown venues with tickets available for each night, Tuesday through Thursday.  Red Hat Amphitheater will be housing the main acts with performances by Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerrry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Gibson Brothers, Balsam Range, The Infamous String Dusters, and more.  To prepare for this marathon week of music, we will be spotlighting some of this year's artists, starting with The Steel Wheels. 

The Steel Wheels are a four-piece string band with roots beginning during their college days in
Harrisonburg, VA. The band meshes traditional mountain music with an innovative sound, developing their own authentic version of Americana roots.

This highly entertaining band is known for their raw energy and chemistry on stage.  As they gather closely around a single microphone, The Steel Wheels share their deeply genuine lyrics supported by the intricate sounds of the upright bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar. 
Americana roots melodies have never felt more
traditional, yet refreshed, as they do with The
Steel Wheels.  

Catch the Steel Wheels at the following times:
     -Wednesday, September 30 - 9 p.m. - Lincoln Theatre
     -Wednesday, September 30 - 1 a.m. - Raleigh Convention Center
     -Thursday, October 1 - 1 a.m. - Architect Bar and Social House
     -Friday, October 2 - 9:45 p.m. - Hargett Street 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Ultimate Painting

Searching for some new music and an opportunity to get out during the middle of the week? Then look no further than this Tuesday night at the Local 506.  Making a stop on their North American tour will be Ultimate Painting alongside The Charming Youngsters.

The European duo of James Hoare and Jack Cooper have blended their unique guitar skills once again as they make their way to the Triangle with a new record to share. Hoare (originally from Veronica Falls) and Cooper (of Mazes) started traveling as Ultimate Painting back in 2014 and were well received by music fans with the release of their first self-titled LP, Ultimate Painting.  After touring with the likes of, Parquet Courts and Twerps, the two artists went back into the recording studio to generate yet another solid collaboration of songs for their second album, Green Lanes.  With their initial success and the release of Green Lanes in August, the two Brits have generated enough excitement to receive praise from major music industry publications like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone.

Check out the following track off of Green Lanes, "(I've Got The) Sanctioned Blues," and find your way to Chapel Hill when Ultimate Painting and The Charming Youngsters take the stage.  The doors open at 8pm and the show will soon follow at 9pm.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance through Ticketfly.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Local Spotlight - Triplicity

Raleigh-based progressive rock band Triplicity has released their debut album, Triplicity, and are excited to share the new tunes at a few upcoming shows.  The first show is at The Pour House on September 20 with support from Absent Boundaries. Next week, Triplicity will take the Cat's Cradle stage for the Carrboro Music Festival.  Their stage time is Sunday, September 27 at 3. 

Triplicity creates their own unique genre, fusing original instrumental music with hard, classic, and progressive rock.  The result is an original sound that is far from comparison.  Bassist Frank Alexander states that one of the most important aspects in creating their music is, "the melodic approach each instrumentalist takes in crafting his part; the emphasis on combining elements of both classic rock (prog & otherwise) and more contemporary hard rock; and our willingness to embrace the compositional approach of mainstream songwriting in making a song tuneful in both form and feel."

Triplicity can be downloaded via  Better yet, grab yourself a hard copy at one of their upcoming shows.  The Pour House show on September 20 begins at 8:30, tickets are $8 at the door.  Catch them again in Carrboro next Sunday, the 27th and experience these local artists live. Check out Triplicity being featured on The Setlist, complete with a live performance and interviews. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's Time to Hopscotch!

Hopscotch '15 is officially here, music lovers!  Wristband City opens its doors today for all attendees.  Head on over to the Raleigh Convention Center at the following times:

Wristband City Hours:
Wednesday, Sept. 9: 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.  
Thursday, Sept. 10: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. 
Friday, Sept. 11: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 
Saturday, Sept. 12: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

3-day and 1-day wristbands are still available for sale in Wristband City or online.  Don't miss out on the fun!   

Today is also the start of the Hopscotch Design Fest.   Gather with "designers, thinkers, makers, and storytellers who are shaping what's next, right now."  Enjoy presentations, speakers, workshops, and parties with some innovators that will discuss how design is shaping the future.  

Get rested, it's going to be one crazy weekend, Hopscotchers! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Imagine Fest 2015 Live Review - How Do You Imagine?

The Imagine Festival certainly lived up to its name and fed the imagination far beyond expectation.  In the center of Atlanta at the Historic Fourth Ward Park, Iris Presents provided an event that thrust its attendees into a dream world, filled with mermaids, circus characters, and pure magic.

As an Imaginer, it wasn't hard to forget where the event was taking place.  It all starts on the streets of downtown Atlanta, but once the barrier is crossed, the imagination takes over and the journey begins.  Upon entering, there are several vendors selling a variety of materials; clothes, jewelry, festival accessories, the list continues. The field opens up and the grand main stage, Oceania, appears in all of its magnificence.  The stage is amply outfitted with crisp audio and extensive lighting.  Off to the left is the Amazonia stage.  The lighting here isn't quite as spectacular, but it's still impressive.  The audio at the Amazonia stage is off the charts, creating music that truly pulsed through the Imaginers' bodies with every thunderous beat. 

Meandering beyond the main stage, along the water and up the hill, attendees would find the Imaginarium.  Along the way, guests were sure to encounter a marching band, playing all of the latest hits, drum line style.  This stage was located in a quiet corner, away from the crowded chaos, situated with a back drop of glistening water.  This is where new up-and-coming acts could have their time to shine.  The Imaginarium was always a site of true happiness, housing smiling festival goers who were enjoying yoga, hooping, and of course, smoothies.

Obviously, the festival's atmosphere was on point.  Let's move on to the most significant part: the phenomenal music. Two full days of non-stop music leaves a lot of time for unforgettable acts, and IMF did not disappoint. 

Saturday was non-stop hype from beginning to end, with memorable acts such as Brillz, Morgan Page, Buku, and Shpongle taking over the two main stages.  The first major stand-out of the day was undoubtedly GRiZ.  All of the acts were amazing crowd-motivators, but GRiZ has a special way of taking the audience to a whole different level.  GRiZ is a true pioneer in musical expression through his ability to mesh funky rhythms with jazzy melodies supported by the saxophone.  Ending the night inside of the festival for The Triangle Beat was Tipper.  The visuals alone were enough to place the Imaginers in a trance-like state, supported with perfectly matched beats.  Tipper is musically talented and simply unique, providing an unparalleled show unlike any other.

One of the best parts of the Imagine Fest is that it doesn't stop with the end of the festival schedule.  Several after-party options are provided well into the night and morning.  We chose to attend the GRiZ set at the Masquerade club, located right next to the park.  Once again, GRiZ created a mesmerizing set complete with hypnotic beats and enticing lights.

The final day arrived with an ample amount of excitement.  The fest was slightly less attended that day, but the atmosphere was still strong with energy, costumes, and amazing artists.  Many acts took the stage on the final day, like the Ying Yang Twins, 12th Planet, Datsik, and Papadosio.  One artist that did not make the show was Lil' Jon.  Due to this schedule change, Crystal Method, Chromeo, and Dada Life extended their sets, which was not a disappointing turn of events.  All three of these final performances were almost too incredible to handle.  Dada Life brought the festival to an unforgettable end by passing out glowing foam sticks, over-sized balloons, pillows for a pillow fight, and of course, large inflatable bananas. 

On a personal note, the Imagine Festival was truly an extraordinary event.  While the music was the main draw and definitely pulled the festival together, Imagine created an overall adventure that isn't easy to express through words.  I've never been more excited to return to a festival and experience the wonderment that is bound to occur. When booking festival trips for the 2016 season, make sure Imagine Festival is at the top of the list and don't forget to pack your imagination. 

*Photos courtesy of:  LEL, Think Photography, and DV

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mipso's Album Release Shows at Cat's Cradle

In honor of their latest album, Old Time Reverie, Mipso will be blessing fans with two great nights of new music.  The first opportunity to hear the latest album and the classic faves will be tonight, for a seated show at Cat's Cradle

Old Time Reverie maintains those classic Appalachian acoustic sounds and southern tradition while meshing with new charming melodies.  The stand-out song is "Down in the Water." Fiddler, Libby Rodenbough, lends her hypnotic and mesmerizing voice to this track.  It leaves the listener hoping that her vocals will be utilized more in the future. 

The more upbeat, "Bad Penny" tells a story of how Abraham Lincoln observes Manhattan through the narrator's experiences, while tragedy strikes with "Captain's Daughter," a story that shares the tale of love lost and longing. 

Mipso holds the ability to make the listener feel the stories that are being told in their songs, supported by the captivating sounds of strings and melodies.  Old Time Reverie isn't officially on sale until October 2, but it can be pre-ordered now from their website.  The seated show at Cat's Cradle tonight is already sold out, but seats are still available for the September 5 standing-room show starting at 9.