EBMA – it’s time for a new start

After being dormant for a while, the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) has announced a new start, restructured its approach to bluegrass music in Europe, and consolidated its Board membership with the addition of two new members in February this year. 

Over the past few months the EBMA Board has taken the time to reflect on what it should be doing, and what it has not been doing, and deciding how to better support bluegrass music and help it to grow within Europe.

Speaking with the EBMA Chairman, Eugene O’Brien he said: 

“It is ‘OK’ to wave the bluegrass, flag, list events etc, send out news, and do reviews, but what about those who have a real investment in the music? By that I mean professionals and semi-professionals such as shops, luthiers, festivals, workshop/camp organizers, booking agents, and other businesses. We have started to build ‘partnerships’ with many like this and will continue add to them. Each has an individual home page on our new website… not just a simple link …and we will connect with each on a regular basis to update what they are doing on the website and social media. We will consider them as ‘clients.’

The La Roche Festival has joined as a partner and EBMA is proud to support its European Band Competition with additional prize money; …€500 for first place and €250 each for second and third place. EBMA expects to continue this in the coming years. Encouraging the success of European bands, not just in this competition, but also in playing to wider audiences and their commercial success is one of EBMA’s prime goals through its Band Membership.

Other partners already subscribed are Sore Fingers in the UK, Banjolit in the Czech Republic, and Roberto Dalla Vecchia and his Acoustic Guitar Camp. EBMA is currently discussing with other leading contributors to European bluegrass to ask them on board.”

O’Brien also stated that, “our drive to give Youth Scholarships will be a key part of our work, and there will be designated workshops and camps within Europe where students can apply for EBMA grants to support their attendance.”

Bluegrass fans are the most integral part of keeping bluegrass alive, so standard membership for current and new members will be free until March 2020 and those who are musicians can register their details and contribute to a musicians’ network to enable contacts with others across Europe.

EBMA is also recruiting representatives for all European countries to contribute to its newsletter and for input to its social media pages. 

The website has been updated to reflect the changes. 

EBMA is a non-profit organization for the advancement of bluegrass music in Europe. Its purpose is to provide information on events and news, support European fans, bands, artists, and business partners, and to encourage young musicians through music scholarships. 

Its current maxim is “Growing, developing, and sustaining European bluegrass and bluegrass in Europe.”

To contact the EBMA Board, e-mail board@ebma.org.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.