IBMA greenlights 2021 World of Bluegrass in Raleigh

Here’s some of the best news we’ve reported in a while: hotel rooms and tickets for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass go on sale next week, the surest sign yet that the event will return to in-person status in Raleigh this fall.

The news wasn’t entirely unexpected. The association announced earlier in the spring that some blend of in-person and virtual programming was likely if restrictions from COVID-19 continued to be lifted. But it sure was great to hear!

Tickets for events and registration for hotel rooms will open on Tuesday, June 8, at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) for IBMA members. Non-member registrations open on June 15. Returning vendors should have already received information for registering the previous day.

The way for the return of the bluegrass extravaganza after a virtual hiatus last year was cleared on May 14, when North Carolina lifted most statewide restrictions, including limits on crowd sizes for both indoor and outdoor events. 

In an email to previous vendors, operations specialist Ethan Charles said that, “IBMA will continue to monitor local guidelines and put safety precautions in place in accordance with state, local, and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations as those evolve.”

The first day of hotel and ticket availability for members will be a key litmus test for the popularity of the event. In normal years, blocks of rooms at the prime hotels sell out quickly, often on the first day. But with some folks still wary of flying and others perhaps feeling the economic sting of a year without steady income, nobody really knows what to expect.

I, for one, will be in line right at the start, as I always am. I’m fully vaccinated and fully ready to jam and write, see old friends and hear new music. I might be feeling differently if I had to fly in a middle seat, but it’s a reasonable drive for me, and I look forward to making it. Even the Beltway around Washington, DC, at morning rush hour will be a welcome change from the last 15 months.

Dates for this year’s business conference and music festival are September 28-October 2.

Hope to see many of you in Raleigh.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.