2020 IBMA Industry and Momentum Awards nominees

The International Bluegrass Music Association has today announced the nominees for their 2020 Industry and Momentum Awards. Unlike the annual IBMA Bluegrass Awards, which are chosen by a ballot of the professional membership of the organization, these nominees are chosen by select committees of industry experts in the various disciplines.

The IBMA Industry Awards are given to honor crucial areas of the business outside of the performing artists, and whose contributions are critical to the furtherance of the music.

And the 2020 Industry Award nominees are:

Broadcaster of the Year

  • Barb Heller
  • Michael Kear
  • Brad Kolodner
  • Peter Thompson
  • Alan Tompkins

Event of the Year

  • The 2019-2020 Emelin Theatre Bluegrass Concert Series – Mamaroneck, NY
  • FreshGrass – North Adams, MA
  • Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival – Farmers Branch, TX
  • Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week – Elkins, WV
  • Tell It To Me: The Johnson City Sessions 90th Anniversary Celebration – Johnson City, TN

Graphic Designer of the Year 

  • Grace van’t Hof
  • Eric Barie
  • Michael Armistead
  • Carla Wehby
  • Lisa Berman

Liner Notes of the Year

  • Katy Daley – Live At The Cellar Door, The Seldom Scene
  • Bill Nowlin – The Early Days of Bluegrass, Various Artists
  • Katie Harford Hogue & Matt Combs – The John Hartford Fiddle Tune Project, Volume 1, Various Artists
  • Craig Havighurst – Bad For You, The SteelDrivers
  • Ted Olson – Tell It to Me: Revisiting the Johnson City Sessions, 1928-1929, Various Artists

Songwriter of the Year

  • Ronnie Bowman
  • Louisa Branscomb
  • Milan Miller
  • Jerry Salley
  • Donna Ulisse

Sound Engineer of the Year

  • Van Atkins
  • Adam Engelhardt
  • Randy LeRoy
  • Stephen Mougin
  • Jason Singleton

Writer of the Year

  • Bill Conger
  • Thomas Goldsmith
  • Derek Halsey
  • Justin Hiltner
  • Kip Lornell

The Momentum Awards are a special category of honors, given to artists and industry professionals in the early stages of their careers whose contributions are worthy of special note. The exception is the Mentor of the Year, which is chosen to highlight the work of more experienced artists and others who give of their time to assist these developing artists.

And the 2020 Momentum Award nominees are:

Mentor of the Year

  • Alan Bibey
  • Rick Lang
  • Scott Napier
  • Annie Savage
  • Valerie Smith

Industry Involvement

  • Malachi Graham
  • Adam Kirr
  • Kara Kundert
  • Jonathan Newton
  • Kris Truelsen 


  • Tabitha Agnew
  • Amanda Cook
  • Victoria Kelley
  • Leanna Price
  • Melody Williamson

Instrumentalist (2 are chosen)

  • Tabitha Agnew
  • Thomas Cassell
  • Alex Edwards
  • Miles Quale
  • Lauren Price Napier
  • Liam Purcell
  • Sullivan Tuttle


  • AJ Lee and Blue Summit (San Jose, CA)
  • Colebrook Road (Harrisburg, PA)
  • Midnight Skyracer (UK)
  • Seth Mulder & Midnight Run (East Tennessee)
  • The Slocan Ramblers (Toronto, Ontario)

Winners will be announced during the 2020 World of Bluegrass convention, held virtually this year in response to the restrictions on assemblies in the state of North Carolina, where the convention would otherwise be held. Momentum Awards will be announced on September 29, and the Industry Awards on September 30.

Further details regarding times and how to watch the awards presentations will be posted soon 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.