Emerging Artists Support Group

This past weekend, a small group of bluegrass artists and industry professionals met at a rural Bed & Breakfast in Smithville, TN. The purpose of this 4 day retreat was to consider how to best support new artists in bluegrass and acoustic music, and to look at ways to grow the market for this music.

A number of members of the IBMA Board were in attendance, though not in a leadership role. There was sufficient interest for the group to continue meeting on an ongoing basis, working as the Emerging Artists Support Group.

Matt Munsey, who will function as Media Liaison for the group, sent along a brief statement about this first meeting.

From January 20th to January 24th, 2011, a group of Bluegrass Artists and Professionals gathered at the Inn at Evins Mill in Smithville, TN to explore a wide array of big, medium and small support programs especially geared towards Emerging Bluegrass Artists.

This group’s core agenda was to design the structures and tools Emerging Artists might need, or find useful, to be successful in the music business as professional career artists. A second essential focus was expanding the audience, understanding, and market for bluegrass music in general. This group of 18 professionals has now organized into six working groups under an umbrella organization called “The Emerging Artist Support Group” that developed one coherent set of 6 key action programs and structures which will deploy and unfold in the next few weeks, months and years.

Participants Kyle Burnett and Matthew Munsey were selected to lead the Emerging Artist Support Group.

Craig Havighurst, a Nashville writer and video producer who also serves as the Print Media/Education representative on the IBMA Board, tells us that the energy behind this get-together seemed to come from a few people in particular, with Henri Deshamps of the Facebook group Bluegrass Legacy as a driving force.

“This was an independent initiative by Henri working closely with Echo Propp and Aaron Malone, and it seems a few others, as a way of harnessing some of the momentum they felt after Henri’s Emerging Artists showcase at IBMA 2010.

It was an interesting and productive event. I really appreciate everybody’s strong interest in taking what I think is a pretty healthy artist development ecosystem and improving it. We were able to hear from managers, artists, agents, talent buyers and others about what’s working and what could be better. These were folks who refused to impose limits on artistry or on the scale of success bluegrass music and artists can achieve. I hope we look back some day and realize that we started something important at Evins Mill.

I know we’re all incredibly grateful to Henri for funding this get-together and arranging it with his usual meticulous care.”

Munsey promises to keep us informed of the group’s efforts, and asked us to provide this list of members should anyone wish to contact them about their work.

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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.