The IBMA has been doing a great job of trying to come up with ways to encourage young pickers to be play bluegrass and to be a part of the IBMA. The future of bluegrass, after all, does lie in their hands.
With that in mind, this was the first year that there was a room in the Convention Center completely devoted to giving the young pickers a home base and a place to hang out and jam to their hearts content. This room was called the “Who’s Feeling Young Now Room.”
It worked really well. I was there for the grand opening of the room and there was a whole posse of young hot pickin’ kids standing there waiting to have a space of their own to meet, mix and mingle, and most importantly for many of them to jam! Danny Hootenanny Clark was there to give the kids their orientation talk, telling them that this room was for them, would be there for them all week, and that the pizza in there was also for them. The room filled with big smiles and heads shaking up and down. One could tell these words were golden, and the kids had a great jam going within minutes.
For those of you who watched the IBMA Awards show you may have noticed that there were young people carrying out the awards to the presenters. These young people were also drawn from the kids involved in the Youth Council.
Another cool idea first implemented this year was to have a Youth Stage that was programmed and managed by The Council on Saturday of the Wide Open Bluegrass Street Fest. Every musician knows how hard it is to take a break after some hot pickin’ cute kid, much less a whole band of them because the crowd just loves seeing youngsters kickin’ out some hot bluegrass. I have a feeling that the Youth Stage is going to be an extremely popular stage for many years to come.
The Youth Council was created in 2012, having had its first meeting in Nashville at last year’s IBMA. The current Chair of the Youth Council is Andrew Rigney. This program is still in its infancy, but promises to be a popular program and one that will probably do a lot of growing in the next few years.
Kids are encouraged to become active in the program and those who want to get involved can do so by contacting IBMA or by contacting Danny Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.