‘Pickin’ at the Pioneer’ late night jam sessions to follow Bluegrass Island Music Festival shows this week

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023

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The Pioneer Theater in downtown Manteo is hosting Bluegrass Island Music Festival late night jam sessions following the last music set on October 19, 20 and 21.

The Bluegrass Festival winds down about 10:30 p.m. each evening. While in prior years, the festival has offered open air jam sessions downtown, this year, coordinator Cory Hemilright is partnering with Pioneer Theater owner Michael Basnight to open the doors of the historic theater for the after parties.

It’s not uncommon for musicians to congregate together after a show and organically jam together as a way to unwind from the evening.

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“Maybe they’ll try out a new song, they might sing someone else’s song that they like,” Basnight said. “We wanted to give them that forum with a stage and an audience.”

“Pickin’ at the Pioneer” sessions will have a host each evening, starting with Rhonda Vincent on Thursday, Kody Norris on Friday, and Breaking Grass on Saturday. Other bands from the Bluegrass Festival are invited to join them, and sometimes even someone from the audience might jump in.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Basnight said.

The late night sessions will give artists additional exposure in a room with near-perfect acoustics, and also showcase the newly renovated Pioneer Theater. It also gives festival goers an indoor location to relax after the day’s concerts.

Admission is free for Bluegrass Festival pass or single day ticket holders. Concessions will be open and beer and wine will be available for purchase. For a full schedule of the Bluegrass Festival events and late night jam sessions, visit bluegrassisland.com.