Hip-hop and rock, metal, folk and bluegrass are all at home in Greater Raleigh, N.C., where live musicians from every genre entertain crowds large and small at national music events, the area's more than 85 music venues, and an ongoing schedule of free, weekly open air concerts. Travelers are sure to find the beat they love plus all the makings of a great weekend escape - from free attractions, sports and outdoor recreation to cutting-edge cuisine and a host of new microbreweries - all in North Carolina's capital city.
National Music Events
Hopscotch, celebrating its fifth anniversary in Raleigh this Sept. 4-6, has earned its reputation as the "premiere experimental music festival in America" by pulling together adventurous line-ups and memorable performances in a fan-friendly atmosphere. Featuring more than 160 bands over three days in venues that range from the outdoor main stage in Raleigh City Plaza to intimate club shows, the festival offers music in almost every genre imaginable. Official programming stretches across 13 walkable venues and includes more than 30 day-parties. For tickets and information: www.hopscotchmusicfest.com
The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) moved its annual conference and nationally celebrated Wide Open Bluegrass Festival (WOB) to Raleigh in 2013 and just extended its planned stay through 2018. WOB 2014 will be held Oct. 2-4 and can be experienced through ticketed shows or on the free Street Festival stages. Among the schedule performers are Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby, Hot Rize, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The free Street Festival will include 80+ bands, four music stages, a dance tent and youth activities. Festival activities also include the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship. For tickets and information:http://www.wideopenbluegrass.com
A Multitude of Music Venues
More than 85 venues from small bars and lively restaurants to dedicated music halls and wide-open amphitheaters welcome all types of musicians and their fans. Visitors can immerse themselves in the full-on charge of PNC Arena shows, revel in the intimacy of smaller shows at the North Carolina Museum of Art's Bryan Theater, or take in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts' suite of live-performance venues. Guests can see for themselves why Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre has been voted the nation's best small concert venue or experience a "who's who" roster of live musicians at long-time favorite Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. The choices and range of musicians are both unique and varied. For a complete list of venues: http://www.visitraleigh.com/things-to-do/music-concerts
The Music Plays On
The North Carolina Symphony was founded in 1932, delivers 175 performances annually and has also appeared at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Performances have included top soloists from the classical and pops worlds including the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell. The orchestra offers extensive youth programming for locals and visitors alike, including hour-long Young Peoples Concerts featuring fun, interactive activities for children ages 4-12 and Instrument Zoos where symphony musicians and staff members provide children with a sampling of orchestra instruments and offer expert tips for trying them out. For more information: http://www.visitraleigh.com/listings/North-Carolina-Symphony/59420/?maxshow=30
Free performances and concert series are hosted throughout the destination as stand-alone music celebrations and components of larger art activities and events. Included on the series roster is the Midtown Beach Concert Series in North Hills, and the Pickin' in the Plaza bluegrass series and the Oak City 7 free summer concert series at Downtown Raleigh's City Plaza. Music is a headline component of Art in the Evening at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and at First Fridays concerts and gallery walks in Raleigh's prolific downtown art scene brimming with galleries and studios. Many of the area's restaurants and bars also feature weekly live music celebrations, such as Wind Down Wednesdays at Waverly Place shopping plaza in Cary, NC, and Local Band-Local Beer at Raleigh's Tir Na Nog Irish Pub.
More Than Music
Many travelers come to Greater Raleigh for the music, but all visitors appreciate the destination's wide range of activities, attractions, hotels and eateries that make for an fun and affordable weekend escape. Here, travelers will find the nation’s largest museum park and the southeast’s largest nature museum plus a list of more than 40 free activities and attractions. Professional and collegiate teams based in the area represent almost every sport, there are enough high-quality cultural attractions to have earned Raleigh designation as the “Smithsonian of the South,” and 10,000 acres of wide open green space beckon travelers to unplug and disconnect. The area’s notable chefs are gaining national attention for their cutting edge cuisine, and the destination’s brew pubs, organic chocolatiers and family wineries provide additional temptation or travelers seeking a well-rounded getaway. For a list of free things to see and do: http://www.visitraleigh.com/things-to-do/40freethings
For a comprehensive look at all things Greater Raleigh, go to http://www.visitraleigh.com