In addition to covering the annual IBMA World of Bluegrass events each year, Bluegrass Today, and The Bluegrass Blog before it, have been regular exhibitors during the convention. That, and our relationships with many other bluegrass-related businesses who also set up a booth each year, makes the concerns of exhibitors close to our hearts. And something with which we are intimately familiar.
This year’s move to Raleigh for the September 24-28 shindig will involve some big changes in the way the Music Expo, as the exhibit hall is called, will be run. Potential vendors will have to determine whether they look to be positive or negative in each case.
The most important changes are twofold:
- The exhibit hall will only be open Thursday-Saturday during IBMA week. No booth space will be offered for Tuesday and Wednesday, and only registered WOB attendees will be able to enter on Thursday.
- The hall will be open to the general public on Friday and Saturday, giving exhibitors access to WOB attendees, folks with tickets to the Wide Open Bluegrass festival (formerly Fan Fest), and the estimated 30,000 locals expected to take part in the City of Raleigh’s free music and BBQ street fair outside the convention center.
Outgoing IBMA Convention Services Director Jill Crabtree said that these changes are in response to the dwindling number of exhibitors looking for B2B contacts, and the increased interest in access to bluegrass consumers. Vendors who have product to sell to the bluegrass community should find this a very valuable opportunity to market their wares.
As in years past, prior year exhibitors have first crack at available space, as do sponsors of the 2013 event. Invited showcase acts have the opportunity to set up in the Music Expo at no charge.
Exhibition costs run from $460 for a 6′ x 10′ tabletop space, to $1200 for a Quad 20′ x 20′ spot. Load-in will be available on Wednesday from 2:00-8:00 p.m., and on Thursday morning from 8:00 a.m to noon. Load-out can be accomplished on Saturday from 7:00-10:00 p.m., but only hand-carried through the main entrances. The loading dock will be available on Sunday from 8:00-11:30 a.m.
The Music Expo will be open on the following schedule:
- Thursday 9/26 – 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. WOB registration required to enter.
- Friday 9/27 – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. No restrictions on access, free to the public.
- Saturday 9/28 – 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. No restrictions on access, free to the public.
The Raleigh Convention Center does not provide electrical power to each booth, unless contracted through them for an additional $90. It is strongly advised to make that order in advance, as it jumps to $140 should you arrive on site and need to add it then. Wired Internet service runs $350 in advance, but access to their shared wireless access is only $60 for the three days. WiFi for phones and browsers is only $8.95/day.
Other additional services and fees can be seen listed here.