We posted a number of times of late about the recently-concluded European World Of Bluegrass events held in May across the continent. The European Bluegrass Music Association celebrates May as Bluegrass Music Month, with coordinated festivals and events that ran this year from April 27 through June 5, highlighted by the EWOB festival and convention in The Netherlands in late May.
EBMA has announced the numbers for this year, and they have reason to celebrate. A total of 18 festivals were listed during May (up from 16 in ’05), and ticket sales at the EWOB were up by 25% over last year’s festival. They also report that the Spring Festival at Willisau, Switzerland saw sales up by 30%, and that new events were added this year in Bratislava, Slovak Republic and Switzerland.
The trade show during EWOB sold out all available exhibit space, with a number of US companies making the trip across the ocean to display their wares along with their European counterparts. The EBMA also made note of the number of artists who travelled from the US/Canada to showcase for the Europeans.
North American artists performing at the EWOB Festival included Randy Waller & the Country Gentlemen, Greasy Beans, the Hunger Mountain Boys, and the Abrams Brothers. Bill Keith, living legend of bluegrass banjo, was again present. American artists performing in EWOB events elsewhere in Europe included Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Randy Kohrs & Band, Neil Rosenberg & Terri Thomson, the Gordons, David Grier (with the UK’s Hootenanny Three), the Moonlighters, Mike Bella & the Blue Boys, Prickly Pair, and Tim & Mollie O”Brien.
As we mentioned when it was first announced, Mideando String Quintet from Italy was named as the #1 European Band for 2006, as chosen by their peers. Last year’s winner, Carmel Sheerin and the Ravens (from Ireland) will represent the EBMA this fall at the IBMA convention in Nashville.