Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Earls of Leicester Set For Wide Open Bluegrass

Ricky Skaggs

The first round of performers have been announced for this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass, as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass, slated for Sept. 25-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will hold a special set with a guest appearance by Patty Loveless.

The event will also feature a special collaboration including Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines and Molly Tuttle, who are the first women to earn IBMA Awards on their respective instruments. 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. 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. Buller took home the 2016 Female Vocalist of the Year Award, as well.

The IBMA’s reigning Entertainers of the Year, The Earls of Leicester, led by 14-time GRAMMY winner Jerry Douglas, will return to the Main Stage. As previously announced, The Earls are releasing a live two-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 donating a portion of all their pre-sale proceeds to the IBMA Trust Fund.

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 LoveCanon. These artists will highlight their benefit album, The TRUST, 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.

“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!”

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 seven additional stages in downtown Raleigh Sept. 28-29.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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