IBMA announces showcase acts, tickets, and registration for World of Bluegrass

The International Bluegrass Music Association has officially announced this morning the good news we discussed last week, that they are moving full-speed ahead to an in-person World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh at the end of September. There will also be a virtual component to the festivities, with more details about which events will be included to be detailed later this summer.

In addition to that good news, IBMA has extended their contract to host World of Bluegrass in Raleigh through 2024. At this point, it is difficult to imagine a better home for these annual signature events: the three-day IBMA Business Conference and the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcase, the gala IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday evening, and the IBMA Bluegrass Live! festival over the weekend. The 2021 dates are September 28 through October 1.

The city of Raleigh also holds a free, two-day street festival over this same weekend, with bluegrass music played on a number of stages stretched over several blocks of the downtown area adjacent to the official IBMA action. All area residents are invited to join in the fun, with downtown streets blocked off for the occasion, with ample food and drink vendors on hand. This allows locals to enjoy much of the same entertainment that was offered to conference registrants during the week prior.

Incoming IBMA Executive Director, Pat Morris, says that he looks forward to engaging with everyone in Raleigh this year.

“As our community emerges from some of the most challenging times in modern memory, this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass takes on added importance. We urge everyone who loves bluegrass to be at this fall’s event and re-engage with others, share fresh ideas, and learn innovations – some launched because of the pandemic. Most importantly, it’s the chance to get fully immersed in what we all sorely missed in 2020: live music.

We’re also excited that World of Bluegrass will continue to call Raleigh home through 2024. Raleigh is welcoming, flexible and creative, and has become the essential stop each year for those in the bluegrass community.”

His excitement is shared by Raleigh Mayor, Mary-Ann Baldwin, herself a bluegrass music lover.

“Raleigh is proud to once again host the IBMA World of Bluegrass. We’re especially thankful that we’ll be in person this year where we can experience the fabulous music, talent, art, and fellowship that this group brings to our city. IBMA is one of our signature events — and my favorite event of the year! It’s so great to see people playing their instruments on street corners throughout downtown, in the convention center, at Red Hat Amphitheater, and at restaurants and bars. It brings our downtown to life. We look forward to seeing you there.”

Also part of today’s announcements is the first round of invited showcase acts who will perform as part of the Bluegrass Ramble. These artists and bands were selected through a highly competitive process to choose acts who are poised to take advantage of the opportunity to shine before the movers and shakers in our industry. As has been their habit in recent years, these include bands from the bluegrass, old time, and Americana scenes.

Each invited showcase act will play a set in the Raleigh Convention Center, the headquarters for World of Bluegrass, and another in a downtown club or venue one evening during WOB week. Most will also be featured on one or more stages during the city’s free street festival on the weekend. A second round of Bluegrass Ramble artists will be announced over the summer.

The IBMA also provided a list of artists who will perform at the IBMA Bluegrass Live! festival, October 1-2, at the Red Hat Amphitheater, across the street from the Raleigh Convention Center. In order to ensure that safety protocols are followed, it will be a ticketed event, but the organization says that low cost tickets will be offered to make sure everyone can attend. Set to appear in 2021 are Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart, featuring Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz and Bryan Sutton; The Del McCoury Band; Steep Canyon Rangers; Yonder Mountain String Band; Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer & Odessa Settles; Sister Sadie; and The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. Other acts will be announced later this summer.

Tickets are now available to IBMA members to register for World of Bluegrass, and for the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards and IBMA Bluegrass Live!. Threes tickets will open to non-members one week from today, June 15. Hotel registrations are also open to IBMA members today, and to non-members on the 15th. Lower cost lawn tickets for IBMA Bluegrass Live! will be available later this summer.

Further details about all World of Bluegrass events can be found online.

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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.