2012 IBMA Showcase acts

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced the invited showcase acts for the 2012 World Of Bluegrass conference in Nashville this Fall.

These are the artists selected by a special committee each year to be presented to the membership in officially-sanctioned, main stage performances. Instructions to the committee indicate that acts should be chosen based on their ability and preparedness to take their careers to the next level, or established acts who have recently undergone a major change in personnel, or have a significant new recording.

Looking at the list for this year, it appears that the discussions at WOB 2011 about embracing a “big tent” philosophy in the debate about the boundaries of bluegrass may have swayed the selectors. There is a good deal of variety in these choices, with the burgeoning jam grass scene well-represented, along with acts with a strong old time or folk presence.

And in keeping with the international character of the organization, there are a number of bands from outside the US.

The 2012 showcase invitees are:

Five additional showcase acts will be announced soon, sponsored by their record labels.

The 2012 World of Bluegrass event is scheduled for September 24-30. Full 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.

  • Dennis Jones

    Rest in Peace IBMA.

    • Lynwood Lunsford

      Dennis, the organization is fine. It just needs a name change. I suggest IBTMA…..Internation Big Tent Music Association.

  • Jon Weisberger

    This year’s list looks about as much (or as little) “big tent” as any list of showcasing artists at the World of Bluegrass over at least the past 15 years. There has always been a good deal of variety, including international artists and those with an old-time or folk flavor.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    …how’s about instead of constantly complaining about IBMA, those of you who want a more purist, narrow definition of bluegrass just start your own organization?

    Keep in mind that, if people had been so painfully strict about what country music was or wasn’t, Bill Monroe would never had had the freedom to invent bluegrass in the first place…

    • Dennis Jones

      Because Darren, some members of The IBMA have invested a good bit of time and money in an organization that has become something we didn’t buy into. And much of it is taking place in a small, tight group of “committees” behind closed doors with no input from outside that circle. The IBMA is in dire financial trouble operating at a loss for many years now. Dwindling membership, less than 2000 and our “Show Piece” gathering W.O.B. poorly attended in a huge empty hotel complex in a town that doesn’t see us as a profit making machine like Pop/Country and gives little press to it make for a reason to question the directions chosen. Why should I have to leave an organization I’ve invested in that is supposed to be member centered?

      Oh and BTW…Bill Monroe didn’t try to steal a music genres name or influence an organization to change it’s direction to fit his music. He played on and let others do what they did and then someone gave his music a name. Out of that grew an American original genre…Bluegrass. Some people feel it important to keep Bluegrass within a certain template in order to keep it from becoming Rascal Flatts/Taylor Swift/Lady Antebellum Country which has nothing to do with real Country music.

      • Darren Sullivan-Koch

        “Some people feel it important to keep Bluegrass within a certain template…”:

        There’s room for innovation in bluegrass, since it is a music that is based on innovation, that has innovation in its DNA. Otherwise it becomes irrelevant and cultish…and slowly dies.

        I certainly agree that there is a problem with IBMA–the location, the institution, the decisions made…but I’m not sure that excluding innovation is the cure.

        Love your show, by the way!

        • Dennis Jones

          Bluegrass music, real Bluegrass music is growing slowly over all and really blooming big in some areas. It’s in no fear of death. Bluegrass has been a cultish genre for years now, it’s one of the reasons for The IBMA…at least at first it was…to make it more professional and help promote and present Bluegrass to the world, only the wheels fell off and now the ox cart is in the ditch and people with experience and that are being successful in real Bluegrass are being ignored or even worse shunned and ridiculed because they speak up. The ox in in the ditch how did it get there? Shouldn’t we as The IBMA look within where there is success for help in pulling the cart out? I’m all for innovation, new approaches and new material…just not calling Mumford and Sons, Trampled By Turtles, Milkdrive, Sarah Jarosz etc Bluegrass in some vague hope that their fans are going to join The IBMA at a professional level to save us. It’s like calling Metalica a Dixieland Jazz band is they put a cornet on stage and then thinking The Jazz Society membership will swell by millions. It won’t happen. By promoting groups like chosen this year, we’ve done nothing to “Showcase” new or “improved” Bluegrass. We are now The Americana Music Association.

          Thank you for the kind words about WNCW programming. We exist because of great, loyal, intelligent music fans who know the difference between The Stanley Brothers and The Avett Brothers. We have the greatest Bluegrass listeners in the world who demanded more BG on-air and got it with another hour added to Sunday mornings this Spring. Bluegrass music is responsible for 1/3 of all the money raised during our fundraiser this Spring…that’s 17 hours out of some 90 hours we pitched. Record breaking. So…Bluegrass, real Bluegrass works. You just have to promote it.