2020 IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards to air on Circle TV

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced today that last year’s Bluegrass Music Awards show, which aired online October 1, 2020, will be broadcast on Circle TV January 18 at 8:00 p.m.

It was a very different presentation for the IBMA last year, since COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from hosting a live awards show in Raleigh, NC, which had become their common practice. So musical performances and other aspects of the show were recorded over the late summer, both at the Ryman Auditorium and the Station Inn.

It was an odd combination, with award presenters announcing the nominees from a podium on video, followed by an acceptance from winners shot on phones at their homes. But given the level of fear within the population during the summer, it felt strangely comforting seeing our beloved IBMA Awards filled with Zoom calls and other aspects of 2020 life to which we had sadly become accustomed.

But even with that, there were a number of chilling performances, recorded live, and endearing inductions into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame for New Grass Revival, The Johnson Mountain Boys, and J.T. Gray of Station Inn fame. Since segments could be recorded in Nashville in advance, producers were able to include presentations from Garth Brooks and Vince Gill as well.

Given the high quality audio and video production facilities available at The Ryman, the IBMA ended up with a program that was immediately suitable for television broadcast, and which ended on time, two issues that had made previous efforts to televise the show problematic.

IBMA Executive Director, Paul Schiminger, says that the organization couldn’t be happier to finally see the show on TV.

“We are so excited to partner with Circle TV to air this year’s IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards. This was our first-ever virtual awards show, and everyone is proud of the exceptional performances and memorable presentations to celebrate many of the very best in bluegrass music today, and over its 75-year history. Thank you to all who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. We hope this show establishes the building blocks for a lasting partnership to help spread bluegrass music around the world in the years ahead.”

The list of artists involved in the show is a long one, with four celebrated hosts, Sierra Hull, Joe Newberry, Tim O’Brien and Rhonda Vincent. Either performing or presenting were, alphabetically: Brooke Aldridge, Balsam Range, Kristin Scott Benson, Dale Ann Bradley, Gena Britt, Alison Brown, Mike Bub, Becky Buller, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Katy Daley, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Gina Furtado, David Grier, Trey Hensley, Rob Ickes, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Ned Luberecki, Del McCoury Band, Missy Raines, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Sister Sadie, Amanda Smith, Special Consensus, Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Taj Mahal, The Travelin’ McCourys, Molly Tuttle, Scott Vestal, and Jake Workman.

Speaking for Circle TV, general manager Drew Reifenberger says that they are eager to participate in this historic broadcast.

“The 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards not only will highlight the accomplishments of beloved bluegrass legends and trailblazers, but also will serve as another way for country music fans to engage with and enjoy an unforgettable night of music from the comfort of their own homes. The Circle Network is honored to partner with the International Bluegrass Music Association to bring this event to our audience for the first time.”

Anyone with access to Circle TV will be able to watch on January 18 at 8:00 p.m. (EST), with a rebroadcast at midnight. It is available on many cable and satellite packages, and on some over-the-air broadcasters as well. ROKU users can also watch Circle TV, and the signal is live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Access details can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.