Bluegrass festival makes plans for 2021 Raleigh return

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The lifting of gathering limits opens the possibility for large summer events across the state.

The Triangle-area missed out on big money from tourism during the pandemic but crowds are expected to make a return.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated $175 million lost from cancelled events in 2020. It meant a more than 50-percent decrease in hotel tax collections. Collections from food and beverage tax were down almost a quarter from 2019.

Bringing back large-scale events may help bring those numbers up. The city voted Tuesday to renew their partnership with the World of Bluegrass festival for another three years.

“I was thrilled to see that the contract with the World of Bluegrass is on here. Having Bluegrass come back after a year of absence, or virtual I should say, will be great,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.

A city memo showed Raleigh would provide a total of $180,000 in funding. The commitment means the city will host the festival in 2022, 2023, and 2024.

That memo showed the event generated more than $18 million in direct economic impact in 2019 alone. The event went virtual in 2020.

Right now, the festival is scheduled for the last week of September.

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