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Feb 27, 2024 - 11:28:47 PM
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8 posts since 7/4/2022

Hello everyone!

I'm a passionate banjo player from Italy and a huge fan of bluegrass music. This year, I've decided to fulfill a long-held dream: to attend the World of Bluegrass happening in Raleigh, from September 24th to 28th. It's my first time at the event, so my excitement is through the roof!

I plan to spend two weeks in the area, to fully immerse myself in the bluegrass atmosphere. Besides attending the main event, I'd love to explore what else the area has to offer in terms of music, workshops, intensive banjo courses, or simply opportunities to make new friends and share this passion of mine.

I'm reaching out to the Banjo Hangout community for suggestions or advice on how to make the most of these two weeks. Are there any side events, open jam sessions, workshops, or banjo short courses that you'd recommend? I'm looking for tips on enjoying a genuinely enriching experience.

Additionally, if you have any practical suggestions about Raleigh and its surroundings, I'd be very thankful!

Thanks in advance for any advice or insights you might share!

Many thanks,


Feb 28, 2024 - 5:22 AM



80 posts since 10/23/2016

Spend some time walking around the convention center, hotel, parking garage etc. Follow your ears. Lots of little jams, some closed, some open. There are designated spots on the street for jams also, but they are crowded, loud, weather dependent, etc. Check out the "Bluegrass Ramble" on the IBMA web site for locations of other bands playing locally in conjunction with the World of Bluegrass activities all week. Join or at least sign up for the emails from Pinecone (Piedmont Council of Traditional Music), they will list related stuff. This is the last year for IBMA WOB in Raleigh so it will probably be a complete zoo or a complete bust. Or both.

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:26:24 AM



11585 posts since 7/1/2006

Slammed-to-the-walls high energy and intense ... be prepared to get little or no sleep ... and learn all about sensory bombardment. Allow several days recovery time afterwards and several months for it all to soak in.

North Carolina is a stunningly beautiful state. Anywhere you choose to explore is worth the trip ... but I'm partial to western North Carolina mountains, Boone, Asheville, Spruce Pine ... those areas are excellent areas to check out ... but I'm biased ...

Edited by - banjoy on 02/28/2024 05:29:09

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:54:14 AM
Players Union Member



46 posts since 4/8/2013

There is a great Italian bluegrass group in Genoa: Red Wine. The guys are very nice and have been to Raleigh several times. Maybe you could get in touch with them for some ideas and connections among their musical friends.

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:45:54 AM
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4804 posts since 3/28/2008

While you're in North Carolina, visit Jim Mills' shop. It's in the nearby city of Durham.

Feb 28, 2024 - 7:10:53 AM
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676 posts since 2/6/2018

....and if you're here for 2 weeks, maybe take the 4 hour drive to visit Bristol, VA/TN

Feb 28, 2024 - 10:07:16 AM
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1380 posts since 1/26/2011

Or a 3 1/2 hour drive to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina.

Feb 28, 2024 - 11:03:09 AM

153 posts since 6/12/2012

I’m located in a small town just east of Raleigh and typically drive up each day. I can provide a few tips here and am happy to discuss further via email.
1- If you are staying 2 weeks there is an active BG community with a jam to be found almost every night within an hour of downtown Raleigh. There are a few facebook pages to aid in locating these jams such as Triangle BG Jam Fix and Triangle Bluegrass Junkies.
2- There’s a lot of free music, while you can buy tickets to the week long ramble I prefer to stay up late at night and visit the free showcases.
3- I have volunteered twice, the earlier you volunteer the better “job” you may get. It’s a great way to meet folks and to discover the scene.
4- Consider external locations; an example is Lorraine’s Coffee House. Lorraine Jordan has this venue in Garner just 20 minutes from the convention center and will have bands through the week.
5- Parking is a premium in downtown but there’s a few free parking spots nearby. If I were out of town I’d stay at the Downtown Marriott or Sheraton right by the convention center. It’ll cost more but parking fees and gas savings may make up for that.

Feb 28, 2024 - 2:08:15 PM

4804 posts since 3/28/2008

Send me a private message and I'll connect you with a friend of mine who lives there. He's an amateur guitar player and knows the local scene.

Mar 6, 2024 - 11:42:50 PM

8 posts since 7/4/2022

Dear Banjo Hangout friends,

thank you all for the valuable advice and suggestions you have provided me. I greatly appreciate your kindness.

I have already followed some of your suggestions: I have subscribed to Pinecone's emails, marked some recommended destinations on the map, and I am about to plan a visit to Jim Mills' store, whom I greatly admire as a banjo player. Moreover, I am excited about exploring the local bluegrass community, having subscribed to various Facebook pages you suggested.

A special thanks to those who told me about Red Wine, a group I know and respect; I really hope to meet Silvio during the event.

Now, I would like to ask you for more details about Bristol, TN. I noticed that more than one of you suggested visiting this location, and I am curious to know what makes it special and worth visiting in the context of bluegrass music and beyond.

Thank you again for your generosity and support. I am looking forward to this bluegrass adventure and, perhaps, to meeting some of you in person!

Best regards,


Mar 8, 2024 - 10:28:41 AM

3734 posts since 4/5/2006

Bristol, Va/Tn straddles the borders of those two States. It is the birthplace of American Old-Time & Country music, from which Bluegrass grew, where the Carter Family, Jimmy Rogers, the Stoneman Family, & others came down from the mountains, to make the first recordings of their music. Bristol lies on the other side of the Appalachians, from Raleigh. 

Edited by - monstertone on 03/08/2024 10:30:34

Mar 13, 2024 - 4:47:10 AM

8 posts since 7/4/2022

Hi mastertone, thanks for the advice! I'll definitely visit Bristol. Best, Alfonso

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