Raleigh, N.C. — Despite the soggy weather, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass still attracted more than 98,000 people and millions of dollars to the area, according a report released Tuesday by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The festivities, which ran Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in downtown Raleigh, generated an estimated $5.6 million in direct visitor spending for Raleigh and Wake County. The number doesn't include account local spending.
The two-day Wide Open Bluegrass event, which consisted of ticketed shows and a free street festival, attracted about 90,000 visitors, despite having events moved indoors to the Raleigh Convention Center due to severe weather.
"The easy option would have been to adhere to the outdoor festival mantra, ‘rain or shine,’ and keep the event outside. In the decision-making window of 48 hours, we had not only fans to think about, but the musicians and the artisans and their instruments and artwork to protect and provide a suitable canvas for,” Laurie Okun, director of sales and marketing for the Raleigh Convention Center, said in a statement. “What ended up happening was a massive success, and a shift in record-making numbers – from the largest urban outdoor bluegrass festival on the planet to the largest indoor music festival to date at the Raleigh Convention Center."
An estimated 41,700 people from outside Wake County attended World of Bluegrass week events, according to the report.