The staff and volunteers at the International Bluegrass Music Association are burning the midnight oil, and then some, to get ready for next week’s World of Bluegrass convention, their first presented 100% online. The governor of North Carolina has not yet released COVID-19 restrictions that prevent the assembly of large groups in the state, so the usual WOB location in Raleigh was not available this month. Thus the decision to host a virtual convention.
With activities set to start next Monday (September 28), one of the biggest concerns for the organization has been how they will pay for the extra technical assistance required to pull this off, absent the registration fees that typically are associated with attendance. Given the need to proceed digitally, a wise decision was made to make the bulk of the content free to the public, and requesting a greatly reduced registration cost for the aspects of the convention not distributed at no charge.
Of course the plan has been to request donations during both the live and pre-recorded segments, with hopes that viewers, both members and non, would dig deep to assist IBMA in this time of need. And surely many will do just that.
But today, PNC Bank, the presenting sponsor for next weekend’s performance spectacular, IBMA Bluegrass Live!, has announced that they will match all donations received up to $50,000.
IBMA Executive Director, Paul Schiminger, thankfully acknowledges the backing of PNC, and asks everyone who loves the music to consider a donation.
“This has been a devastating year for every bluegrass professional and for the IBMA organization itself. PNC’s appreciation for the cultural significance of bluegrass music and its generous financial support are vital for our community to regain its collective footing and prepare to thrive again in the future. We ask fans of bluegrass music, as well as those who treasure the arts, to search their hearts and give so we can make the most of PNC’s crucial matching program.”
This generous offer from PNC will match donations made directly to the IBMA, and those received by the IBMA Trust Fund, which collects and distributes money for the benefit of professionals in the industry in need of financial assistance. In a normal year, a share of all earnings from IBMA Bluegrass Live! is given over to the Trust Fund, one of its largest sources of annual income.
Jim Hansen, PNC Regional President for the Eastern Carolinas, shares how much World of Bluegrass has meant to the local community in Raleigh, and why they are happy to help.
“The talented artists who have performed during IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC over the years have brought so much joy and inspiration to the Raleigh community. In addition to continuing our support for this event in 2020, we want to give to the bluegrass professionals who may be struggling during this time.”
Donations can be made to IBMA at any time online, though special links will be provided during next week’s World of Bluegrass events. Donations are tax deductible as the association is a 501(c)(3) organization.
A full schedule for next week can be found online, opening with a Keynote Address from Sarah Jarosz at 11:00 a.m. on Monday.