We have learned that the IBMA Board of Directors has agreed to change the Fan Fest from a three day event, to something closer to two and a half. Typically, this festival, which serves as a fundraiser for their Bluegrass Trust Fund to assist bluegrass artists in times of emergency need, runs on the Friday-Sunday following the IBMA World of Bluegrass trade show and convention. Over the years, it has become a tradition that exhibitors began tearing down and heading home early on Sunday, and attendance at the Fan Fest has been dwindling on Sundays, partially as a result of the impression that Sunday was the getaway day.
With this recognition in mind, the Board voted to host only the Sunday morning Bluegrass Chapel and gospel performances, officially ending the Fan Fest by mid day. Their decision recognized the fact that Sunday attendance has been falling for some time, and that resources and efforts should be directed where members and fans were leading them.
Also of note from the most recent Board minutes is the fact that IBMA’s membership was up by 4% in 2005, standing now at 2450. Anyone who works in the bluegrass music industry, even on a part time basis, is eligible to join in a professional capacity, and fans are encouraged to join the Grass Roots Club to help assist the organization. Only professional members are entitled to vote for board members, or in the balloting for the annual IBMA Awards.