With the 3rd European Bluegrass Summit (18-20 Feb. 2011) recently concluded in Bühl, Germany, the news has been announced that the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) and the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival have amicably divorced one another.
The two organizations have long enjoyed a “special relationship” which was mutually beneficial. While they will continue to cooperate in the future, the two will now operate independently, each pursuing its own separate objectives. The EBMA will soon announce the EBMA Festival Network, with EWOB serving as a founding member of said network.
This year’s EWOB festival will be held June 2-4, 2001 in ‘t Trefpunt, Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, the city that has served as host to the festival since 1999.
From the EBMA website, comes their mission statement, missions, and goals:
Our mission statement:
Working together to support Bluegrass Music across borders.
EBMA works towards an integrated European bluegrass scene that enjoys strong, mutually supporting relations with international and national organisations.
EBMA promotes and facilitates the sharing of Bluegrass enjoyment across borders (regional or national)
EBMA supports bands, fans, musicians, organisations, professionals and everything connected with Bluegrass
EBMA is a non-profit, professionally-run, dynamic and inclusive organisation
EBMA adopts the core values of IBMA
The European Bluegrass Music Association strives to
a) further bluegrass music in Europe by getting more people interested and involved,
b) further European bluegrass musicians and bands and
c) enhance bluegrass music’s image.
This shall be achieved in particular by:
– annual gatherings
– a website as the main means of communication
– contacts between European bluegrass people (networking)
And here is a statement from the EWOB website declaring the festival’s purpose:
We come from many different countries, but we speak one common language: BLUEGRASS! Geographic, political, and cultural borders fall away as we join together to celebrate our love for bluegrass music, and meet new friends from faraway lands. Maybe world peace can start with a banjo intro.
I would think another obvious purpose of the festival is to recognize and award those European bands who have excellently represented bluegrass music over the course of the year, hence the annual awards given during the festival.
It is easy to see from these purpose statements that the two organizations share a great deal of overlap in the purpose and mission. It is also evident that the association’s stated goals are broader than the festival’s. The same would presumably be true of IBMA and it’s accompanying WOB festival/trade show. Only time will tell the wisdom of divorcing the two entities as opposed to binding them together…