Have a Blue Christmas

A twangy holiday pick

by Katherine Poole

There will be a down-home holiday hootenanny in Raleigh Dec. 14 – 16. A Bluegrass Christmas music festival returns to the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, bringing a weekend of nearly nonstop live music.

Organized by Hemilright Entertainment, the same folks who put on the popular Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival each October in Manteo, the festival’s jam-packed lineup runs for three straight days from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with only a 90-minute dinnertime intermission. Each day begins with performances by artists from Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, a group that supports and promotes up-and-coming young musicians. Each evening concludes with headliners including Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Isaacs, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, and the Malpass Brothers.

While single-day tickets are available, the festival is worth experiencing in its entirety. After the main stage shuts down, artists get together all over the hotel for impromptu jam sessions into the wee hours. To keep guests toe-tapping until the sun goes down, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, and the Hilton’s Skybox Grill & Bar sets up a full buffet. There are also arts and crafts vendors as well as door prize giveaways. A blue Christmas has never been so much fun. 

11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; $45 single pass, $125 three-day pass, $155 three-day reserved seating; 3415 Wake Forest Road; abluegrasschristmas.com