IBMA Board Statement

The following statement has just been delivered to the membership of the IBMA from its Board of Directors.

ibmaNovember 24, 2014

Over the weeks since the Board meeting that began another great World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, our Board has spent a lot of time struggling over how to deal with serious matters of leadership and direction, management and governance. The very growth and success of the World of Bluegrass, and the expanded scale, scope, complexity, partnerships and budgets that have come along with them have created not only opportunities, but have put some of our structures and ways of doing work to the test.

Some Board members have left, and we regret that’s happened. They’ve been a part of the move and expansion of our signature events; the improvements we’ve made in our business practices; and the stemming of financial and membership declines, as well as part of the progress we’ve made in other areas. We appreciate all the contributions they made in those and other areas. We will continue to review business and governance practices and policies, and to make adjustments wherever needed that will allow us to be more valuable to our members and partners.

At the same time, we’re committed to moving forward. In some respects, including our leadership, we’ve made our choices and we stand behind them. In others, where choices remain to be made, we want to look ahead, not back. And here’s what we are looking at:

1. The Board is diligently searching for a new Executive Director. This is our top priority. We are continuing to cast a wide net, and we already have some strong applicants and an ambitious timetable for recruitment.

2. We have kept key Raleigh partners regularly informed throughout the weeks that have passed since World of Bluegrass. Our Executive Committee – Alan Bartram, Ben Surratt, Tim Surrett (Vice-Chair) and Jon Weisberger (Chair) – will be meeting with them at the beginning of December to look at how we can work together in a variety of areas to make the 2015 World of Bluegrass even better than its predecessors.

3. We welcome Leah Ross to the Board to fill the Event Producers seat through next year, and as we move to fill other vacancies, we will continue to make sure that our Board is representative and diverse. Board seats in the Broadcast Media category; the Artists & Composers category; the Agents, Managers & Publicists category and at-large will be filled as quickly as possible in accordance with the Bylaws. Recommendations for members to be considered as candidates for nomination should be sent ASAP to or to We will also be quickly filling vacancies in the office of Treasurer and in the Executive Committee.

4. Staff, Finance Committee members and other responsible parties are continuing to work on the final details of complete and accurate financial reports on the World of Bluegrass, and expect to have those—including the amount of the Wide Open Bluegrass contribution to the Trust Fund—to share with the Board and, in one form or another, the membership within a few days.

5. We’re preparing for a focused discussion on options for redesigning the World of Bluegrass Business Conference to better meet the needs of our members and our industry.

6. We’ll be reactivating a Bylaws committee to both make proposals and review those submitted by Board and general members, and to bring clear choices to the Board.

7. We’ll have an “in-between” Board teleconference in January, per the policy of holding two such meetings each year that the Board adopted a couple of years ago. The agenda will be distributed to members in advance for their comments.

8. Work is proceeding on creating a “highlights” version of the 2014 Awards Show for broadcast on public television stations in early 2015. We expect to have an announcement soon of featured performers, as well as information to share about show underwriters. Stay tuned!

As we said earlier, this year’s World of Bluegrass was a great success and a memorable experience for all who came, whether to the business conference, the Bluegrass Ramble, the Awards Show, the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival or the Wide Open Street Festival. It took a team to make it happen—one that included our Raleigh partners, contractors, Board members, staff members and a lot of people who gave of their time with and without compensation. We know it will take teamwork to do it again, and it will take teamwork to move the IBMA closer to fulfilling all aspects of its mission. We’re ready to get to work, and we hope you will join us.

Share this:

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.