Carolina Music Festivals is a comprehensive calendar and guide to multi-act, daylong or multiple-day music festivals in North Carolina.

September 2016

Dates and other details may be estimated based on last year's festival until confirmed by festival organizers.

September 2 - 3    Smoky Mountain Folk Festival - Lake Junaluska

The festival presents traditional Southern Appalachian music and dance by regional fiddlers, banjo players, string bands, ballad singers, buck dancers and square dance teams, as well as the sounds of dulcimer, harmonica, jew's harp, bagpipes, spoons, saws and folk ensembles of all sorts.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The Cockman Family, Honey Holler, Betty Smith, Southern Mountain Fire, Spirit Fiddle, and about 15 more.

Festival site: Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center

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Free open tent show 5 to 6 p.m.; auditorium shows 6:15 to 11 p.m.

Single-day pass: $10 in advance, $12 at door.

Lake Junaluska offers special lodging packages (at the link above).

September 2 - 4    Happy Valley Old-Time Fiddlers' Convention - Lenoir

At the resting place of Tom Dooley's lamented victim, Laura Foster, musicians and music lovers gather each Labor Day weekend to pay homage to the legends and stories of the Yadkin River Valley. The festival includes a community dance, a daylong competition for old time and bluegrass bands, and Sunday band performances, plus children's activities, historic information, storytelling, hay rides, a duck derby race, food vendors and more.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The Kruger Brothers, Kilby Spencer and the Crooked Road Ramblers, Strictly Clean and Decent, and five more, plus competitors.

Festival site: Jones Farm

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The festival's Web site provides directions and a map to the private farm hosting the festival.

Friday: Community dance with old-time bands and open mic 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: competitions 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., finals at 6 p.m.
Sunday: concerts 6:30 p.m.

Friday: free.
Saturday and Sunday: $10.
Younger than 16 free.

Camping: $10 per night, no hookups.

September 3 - 4    John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival - High Point

The Labor Day weekend festival is sponsored by The Friends of John Coltrane, which works to preserve and celebrate the life and music of John Coltrane and to enrich the lives of others through the introduction of jazz and other musical genres. It has expanded to two days in 2015, its 5th year.

TBA. 2015 lineup included David Sanborn, Snarky Puppy, Marcus Miller and six more.

Festival site: Festival Park

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Gates open at 3 p.m.

Two-day pass: $115, $100 each for 20 or more.
Daily: $65 in advance, $80 at gate.
VIP (reserved up-front seats, parking, two drinks, access to tent with a meal): two-day $220; daily $125 in advance, $140 at gate.

It's OK to bring in your own food and drinks, but coolers are not allowed, the website says. No alcohol.

September 3 - 4    African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh & Wake County - Raleigh

The annual Labor Day Weekend festival celebrates African American culture through art, music, dance, food and community. Local and national musical acts are presented each day on the main stage in addition to a juried art gallery, craft and food vendors, educational and hands-on activities in the Family Village, and more. It is a free street festival.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Avery*Sunshine, Arrested Development, Jus Once, and about 10 more.

Festival site: City Plaza, Fayetteville Street

11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

September 3 - 4    ProgDay - Chapel Hill

The intimate festival of progressive rock music features artists from all over the world. The festival, which is in its 22nd year in 2016, embraces a Friday night pre-show at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, which is open to all ages. Click on the photo for more information.


TBA. 2015 lineup included Tryo, Quantum Fantay, The Mercury Tree, and eight more.

Festival site: Storybook Farm (map), Local 506

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Music starts 8 p.m. Friday, 10:15 a.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) pass: $100 in advance, $120 day of show.
Daily: $70.
Patron pass for $150 includes preferred parking.
Younger than 16 free, ages 16 to 18 and students half off.
Friday pre-show: $10.

No overnight camping.

September 4    New River Blues Festival - Grassy Creek

A Sunday afternoon in the mountains with acclaimed artists performing in a picturesque setting on the banks of the New River. The King Bees are the festival hosts.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Travis "Moonchild" Haddix, Git Shorty, The King Bees and three more.

Festival site: River House Country Inn

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1 to 6 p.m.; gates open at noon.

$15 in advance, $18 at gate; younger than 12 free.

Food, beer and wine will be on sale.

No camping onsite; camping nearby at New River State Park.

September 8 - 10    Hopscotch - Raleigh

Hopscotch, put on by The Independent Weekly of Durham, presents more than 140 national and international bands from rock, hip-hop, alt-country, heavy metal, dance, punk, classical, noise, drone, folk and more at about 15 downtown venues. The festival also presents bands at more than 30 day parties happening throughout the city.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Dwight Yoakam, X, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, TV On the Radio, and dozens more.

Festival site: City Plaza, Fletcher Opera Theater and several clubs downtown.

Multi-day Hopscotch tickets go on sale early in the year. As groups of "early bird" tickets sell out, the price rises. Prices include all taxes and fees.
Three-day pass: $135.
Three-day VIP pass: $195.
Daily all-access: TBA.
City Plaza shows: TBA.

September 8 - 10    Music Fest at Blue Bear Mountain - Todd

The campground-based show features side-by-side stages and attendance limited to 500 people on a 155-acre mountaintop site. Tethered hot air balloon rides will also be offered for a fee.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Acoustic Syndicate, Sol Driven Train, The Revelers, Jeff Little Trio and eight more.

Festival site: Blue Bear Mountain Campground

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Two-day pass: $55 in advance, $60 at gate.
Friday: $25 in advance, $30 at gate.
Saturday: $35 in advance, $40 at gate. Younger than 13 free.

Camping: $90 per person, includes two-day festival pass, Thursday-Saturday night camping.

September 9 - 10    Bull Durham Blues Festival - Durham

The Bull Durham festival has changed repeatedly over its 25-plus years, but in 2014 returned to its usual format of presenting blues and R&B acts in an auditorium show Friday night followed by an outdoor festival on Saturday. Food and craft vendors also join the outdoor show, which for 2015 moved to Durham Central Park.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Grady Champion, Jason Damico and the New Blue, Jean Carne, and six more.

Festival site: St. Joseph's Performance Hall, Durham Central Park (map)

Doors 5 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday.

Friday: $40, $55 VIP ticket.
Saturday: Free.

September 9 - 11    Mountain Song Festival - Brevard

Proceeds of the Brevard Music Center show hosted by Steep Canyon Rangers benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County. It is in its 11th year in 2016.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Steep Canyon Rangers, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Del McCoury Band and six more.

Festival site: Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, Brevard Music Center

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Gates open 4 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and Sunday.

Three-day pass: $130.
Friday: $46, $51 at gate.
Saturday: $54, $60 at gate.
Sunday: $46, $51 at gate.
All tickets general admission seating; children younger than 11 free on lawn or on lap of paying adult in auditorium.

Camping nearby at Davidson River Campground and elsewhere in the Pisgah National Forest.

September 9 - 11    National Folk Festival - Greensboro

The National Folk Festival, the oldest festival of its kind in the nation, is put on by the National Council for the Traditional Arts. It presents about 30 acts for free on seven stages. There are also dance performances, children's activities, a North Carolina folklife area, a festival marketplace, and regional and ethnic foods. The festival moves to a new location every three years and has chosen to be in Greensboro from 2015 to 2017. It is in its 76th year in 2016. Click on the photo for more information.

Musical Artists
TBA. 2015 lineup included Mavis Staples, Dale Watson, Rhiannon Giddens, Los Tres Reyes, Baba Ken Okulolo and the West African Highlife Band, and about 25 more.

Festival site: Downtown Greensboro

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5:45 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
See the Schedule.

September 10    Sounds on Steele - Sanford

The street festival debuted in 2015 in downtown Sanford with more than a dozen bands on two stages, vendors, food and drink, including tents occupied by craft beer breweries and local restaurants.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Rodney Dillard and The Dillards, Sweet Potato Pie, Tommy Edwards and the Bluegrass Experience, and nine more.

Festival site: Steele and Moore Streets

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


September 10    Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival - Mocksville

Proceeds from the day benefit the CBC Scholarship Fund and the CBC Development Fund. The Carolina Bible Camp and Retreat Center hosts summer camps for youths from across the Southeast. The bluegrass festival, which was begun in 2012, also features sales of pulled pork, barbecue chicken, and a variety of side dishes.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Sierra Hull, Snyder Family Band, Tim White and the VW Boys, and two more.

Festival site: Carolina Bible Camp

11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

$15 in advance, $20 at gate.

RV camping with full hookups, $40 per night (Friday and Saturday).
Cabins (six available): $100 (Friday night to 6:30 p.m. Saturday). Sleep up to 20 in single bunk beds; two bathrooms with full showers and a common area.

No alcohol, no coolers, no pets.

September 10 - 11    Stokes Stomp Festival on the Dan - Danbury

The Stokes Stomp Festival on the Dan presents a couple of well-known headliners and local acts, plus a children's music stage, along with dance, a parade, arts and crafts and other activities in a park on the Dan River. The free festival, which is put on by the Stokes County Arts Council, is in its 42nd year in 2016.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Alan Bibey and Grasstowne, Terry Baucom and The Dukes of Drive, Taylor Vaden and Memphis Thunder, and about a dozen more.

Festival site: Moratock Park

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9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Saturday, parade at 10 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Free admission.

Parking at Moratock Park and shuttle service from Stokes County Government Center, at 1014 Main Street near the intersection with Sheppard Mill Road.

September 15 - 17    Hoppin' John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention - Silk Hope

Shakori Hills presents musician showcases and hosts competitions that award cash prizes in Old Time Fiddle, Bluegrass Fiddle, Old Time Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Folk Song, Bass, Youth Musicianship, Dance and Youth Dance categories. There are also square dances, musicians' workshops, a hoppin' john cookoff, and arts and crafts, musical instrument and food vendors.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Marvin Gaster and Richie Stearns, Adam Tanner, The Five Points Rounders, and more.

Festival site: Shakori Hills

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7 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Three-day pass: $22 in advance, $26 at gate; competitors $18 in advance, $20 at gate.
Thursday $6, Friday $8, Saturday $12.

Competitions and/or dances take place on the Grove Stage and in the Dance Tent (see our Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance page).

Camping: one vehicle and up to two tents $18 in advance, $20 at gate; RVs $26 in advance, $30 at gate; 110 volt electric hookup $15 (limited number). Outdoor hot showers available. Early camping available.

September 15 - 17    Dailey Vincent Land Fest - Denton

The popular bluegrass band Dailey and Vincent started their own festival in 2013. It includes a band contest with cash prizes and stage time for winners.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Dailey and Vincent, The Gatlin Brothers, The Grascals, and 10 more.

Festival site: Denton Farm Park

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Three-day pass: $110 reserved, $90 general admission; younger than 17 $55 reserved, $45 general admission.
Two-day pass (general admission): $70; younger than 17 $35.
One-day pass (general admission): $35 general admission; younger than 17 $17.50 general admission.

Tent camping with one vehicle is free with two-day pass. See the website for RV pricing.

September 16 - 17    White Oak Shores Bluegrass Festival - Stella

Whiter Oak Shores debuts its fall festival in 2015 after the success of its spring show. The campground-based show is on the coast at the edge of the Croatan National Forest. Camping is not required to attend. The campground has a small water park and playgrounds, and food and beverage vendors will be on hand during the festival. Bands play two sets each day and evening.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Sourwood Mountain, Three Rivers Band, Hwy 58, and six more.

Festival site: White Oak Shores Camping & RV Resort

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Noon to 4:25 p.m. and 6:15 to 10:40 p.m. each day; each band plays afternoon and evening sets.

Two-day pass: $35.
Daily: $20.

Camping package: $170 for two nights and two tickets for each day; additional people $35 each for two days; extra nights $50.
"Dry" camping is free.

September 17    Apex Jazz Music Festival - Apex

The festival presents jazz and blues on an outdoor stage and at several clubs, and by street musicians throughout the day. There's also a beer garden. It is in its 6th year in 2016.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Brass-A-Holics, Sidecar Social Club, Downbeat Switch, and seven more.

Festival site: Downtown Apex

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Main stage 3:30 to 11:30 p.m.; club shows 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

$10; beer garden drink tickets $5 each, or five for $20.

September 17    The Blowing Rock Music Festival - Blowing Rock

The day of Americana, folk, blues, rock and jazz on two stages at the site of the famous mountain tourist attraction debuted in 2014.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The Harris Brothers and Their Very Greasy Friends, Lacy Green, Moore Brothers Band, and eight more.

Festival site: The Blowing Rock

Gates open 10 a.m., music noon to sunset

$30 in advance, $40 at gate.
Younger than 12: $10.
Reserved seats: $40 in advance.
VIP tents and overnight packages available (see website at link above).

September 17    Brewgrass Festival - Asheville

The festival hosted by the Great Smokies Craft Brewers Association presents beer from about 50 local brewers and several bluegrass bands as a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.

TBA. 2015 lineup was The Jeff Austin Band, Truth and Salvage Co., Big Daddy Love, The Packway Handle Band.

Festival site: Memorial Stadium

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1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

$55; VIP ticket $150 (light catered fare, private bathrooms, backstage access) sold out.

This festival is for adults 21 years old and older.

September 21 - 24    Bluegrass Island Festival - Manteo

The festival debuted in 2012 and has established itself as a major fall event on the Outer Banks featuring top bluegrass acts, a band competition, late-night street dance and more.

Wednesday: The Willis Clan, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Sideline; Wyatt Rice, Richard Bennett and Tina Fields; ETSU Bluegrass Pride, Salt and Light/Moore Family, Band Competition.
Thursday: Tony Rice Tribute, Steep Canyon Rangers, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Balsam Range, Band of Ruhks, Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome.
Friday: Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Volume Five, The Grass Cats, Gospel Plowboys.
Saturday: Soggy Bottom Boys, Darrell Webb Band, Dave Adkins Band, Breaking Grass, The Roys, Gold Heart.

Festival sites: Roanoke Island Festival Park

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Gates open 10 a.m.

Ticket prices typically rise periodically without prior notice.
Four-day pass: $120 until November 14; $145 as of November 15; ages 7 to 12 $55 until November 15.
Daily: $40; ages 7 to 12 $15.
VIP 4-Day Passport (chair in front of stage, backstage access, reserved parking on the island and souvenir gift): $225.

All non-VIP parking is at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, where a $5 shuttle (all-day pass) is available.

September 22 - 24    Mantrabash Music & Art Festival - Ferguson

Mantrabash presents national and North Carolina regional bands on two stages, plus arts and crafts, and food vendors. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold. A portion of proceeds are to go to a non-profit organization to be named. The Mantras host.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The Mantras, Eoto, Bernie Worrell, Tauk, Big Something and 20 more.

Festival site: High Country Motorcycle Camp

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Three-day pass: $75.
Family camping pass (threeday pass, car camping in designated quiet area): $85.
VIP (meet-and-greet with artists, souvenirs, private access shower and restrooms, more): $140.

Must be 18 years old or older to attend unless accompanied by an adult; younger than 12 free.

Free tent camping with ticket; RVs $75; car camping only with VIP ticket.

Parking: $5.

September 23 - 24    Carolina in the Fall - Wilkesboro

The Kruger Brothers bring some of North Carolina's best folk / roots bands and others from elsewhere to their adopted hometown of Wilkesboro for a weekend amid the beauty of the foothills in the fall. The daytime street festival will shift to a local convention center for the Carolina Jam hosted by the Krugers and featuring musicians from the day's lineup plus special guests. There will also be food trucks and other vendors on-site during the day.

TBa. 2015 lineup included The Kruger Brothers, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Balsam Range, The Secret Sisters, and 10 more.

Festival site: Wilkes Heritage Museum (map) and Holiday Inn Express (Carolina Jam)

11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Carolina Jam 10 p.m. to midnight.

Two-day pass: $20.
Two-day VIP pass (includes Carolina Jam): $60.

Camping available nearby for free in city park used for MerleFest, as well as at W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, about a mile west of town on NC 268, for a fee.

September 23 - 25    Ancient Tones - New Sounds Festival - Union Grove

The festival debuted in 2015 with a lineup of Americana, Celtic, bluegrass and old time country music artists to put a focus on the common musical thread that runs through the roots of each of those genres. The festival will also present various world food vendors and an arts and crafts marketplace.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Scythian, The Horse Flies, Yarn, Mountain Heart, and 15 more.

Festival site: VanHoy Farms

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Noon to midnight Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday, open jam Sunday.

Two-day pass: $80 until June 30, $100 July through September 20, $120 at gate; age 14 to 16 - $40 until June 30, $50 July through September 20, $60 at gate; younger get in free.

Friday: $40.
Saturday: $60.

Weekend passes include car camping (tents).
RV camping booked through VanHoy Farms Family Campground.

September 24    French Broad Brew Fest - Hot Springs

The festival, which is in its sixth year in 2016, presents a celebration of music, the mountains and craft beer. The festival's producers also present the spring French Broad River Festival.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work, David Mayfield Parade, The Legendary Singing Stars, and four more.

Festival site: Hot Springs Resort & Spa Campground

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10 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday.

$75 (includes T-shirt, 5-ounce commemorative souvenir sampling glass, unlimited beer samplings)
Designated driver or younger than 21: $60.
Must be at least 12 years old to attend.

Camping free with admission, but it's $25 to park in the campground.

September 24 - 25    Barnaroo - Leicester

The festival showcases local and regional singer songwriters and bands in the rock 'n' roll, hard rock and funk genres on two stages, one of which is in a barn. Shows are Saturday followed by "wake-up activities" Sunday. There will also be art and food vendors onsite. A portion of proceeds go to the Asheville Music School. The 2014 festival was in October.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, Les Amis, Lyric, and 10 more.

Festival site: Franny's Farm

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10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; gates open 9 a.m.

Adults $20, younger than 13 free; $35 with camping.

September 24 - 25    Carrboro Music Festival - Carrboro

The festival presents about 180 acts from around the Triangle in all sorts of genres at about two dozen indoor and outdoor venues all day and into the night - mostly on Sunday. And it's all free.

TBA. 2015 lineup included The Bastages, Milagro Saints, Tan and Sober Gentlemen, Gary Mitchell, and dozens more.

Festival site: Downtown Carrboro

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2 to 6 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday.
Sunday times vary at stage and venues but outdoor stages generally start at 1 or 3 p.m. and run to 7 p.m.; indoor venues, especially bars/nightclubs go into the evening. The festival's website has alphabetical, chronological and stage schedules.

A shuttle bus runs from remote parking to downtown between 1 and 6 p.m.

September 25    Live & Local Bluegrass on Hillsborough Street - Raleigh

The community event celebrates the culture, history and future of bluegrass music with bands on three stages. The festival will also present dozens of local artisans, food trucks, local beer, and a kids' zone. It is in its third year in 2016.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Lonesome River Band, Grass Cats, Moore Brothers Band, The Church Sisters and 13 more.

Festival site: Compeign Park and adjacent streets.

Noon to 7 p.m.

Free admission.

September 27 - October 1    Wide Open Bluegrass Festival - Raleigh

The International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass annual convention, awards show and fan festival relocated from Nashville to Raleigh for 2013 through 2018. It presents newgrass, jamgrass, traditional bluegrass, old-time and more by more than 150 acts in Wide Open Bluegrass at the downtown amphitheater, the Bluegrass Ramble showcase performances at downtown clubs and the Convention Center, and a free street festival put on by the City of Raleigh. The convention also includes a business conference, music expo, a bluegrass-oriented film festival, workshops, fan / celebrity meet-and-greets and more.
The IBMA Awards show, which is also a part of the weekend, requires separate tickets (see below). Click on the photo for more information.

TBA. 2015 lineup included Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Sam Bush Band, The HillBenders present "Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry," Sierra Hull, Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line, and dozens more.

Festival site: Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Convention Center, Fayetteville Street, Nearby Clubs

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Bluegrass Ramble: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Red Hat Amphitheater: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Street Fest: Noon to 11 p.m.

Two-day pass with reserved seat at amphitheater: sections 1 to 3 - $120 IBMA member, $140 nonmember; sections 4 to 7 - $100 IBMA member, $120 nonmember.
Single-day with reserved seat: section 1 to 3 - $60 IBMA member, $70 nonmember; sections 4 to 7 - $50 IBMA member, $60 nonmember.
Two-day general admission pass: $80 IBMA member, $100 nonmember; younger than 15: $60 IBMA member, $70 nonmember.
Daily general admission pass: $40 IBMA member, $50 nonmember; younger than 15: $30 IBMA member, $35 nonmember.

Bluegrass Ramble: full pass $65 IBMA member, $75 nonmember; $20 per evening IBMA members, $25 nonmembers.

Bluegrass Wide Open tickets include admission to expo as well as amphitheater and convention center stages. Bluegrass Ramble tickets are separate but are included with business conference registration.

IBMA Awards: Lifetime IBMA Members - $90, $50, $40.
Organizational, Individual, or Grass Roots Club IBMA Members - $95, $55, $45.
Non-members: $105, $65, $55.

Camping: N.C. State Fairgrounds (about 5 miles away with a shuttle available) $25 per night for tents, campers or RVs with full hookups (50 sites available). RV camping with no hookups adjacent to convention center $30 per night (30 sites).

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