IBMA opens Official Showcase applications for WOB ’21

The International Bluegrass Music Association is now accepting applications from artists interested in showcasing during the 2021 World of Bluegrass convention, scheduled for September 28 through October 2 in Raleigh, NC.

These applications are open to any bluegrass acts looking to expand their performance horizons, including emerging artists and established bands with new personnel or music. Selected showcase performers will have at least two chances to play before the WOB audience, once during an official conference event in the Raleigh Convention Center, and once as part of the late night Bluegrass Ramble, which takes place at assorted venues in downtown Raleigh.

Owing to the COVID-19 uncertainties, IBMA will not only choose 30 acts for in-person shows, they will also pick 10 for strictly virtual performances. Preference for the virtual slots will be given to non-US artists in regions where travel restrictions are still in place. Also this year, acts chosen as 2020 showcase artists are eligible to apply again this year, owing to 2020’s showcases being virtual only.

In addition to the live performance opportunities, each Official Showcase artist will receive the following:

  • Full conference registration package for performers (value $1000+)
  • Priority access to Gig Fair appointments
  • Complimentary Exhibit Hall booth space during IBMA Business Conference (value $700+)
  • Up to three (3) Individual Memberships (value $225+)
  • Featured promotion on IBMA social media channels throughout the summer, ahead of the events
  • Featured profile in conference program, WOB app, and printed IBMA Bluegrass Ramble schedules
  • Featured pre-event promotion to DJs and talent-buyers via our IBMA Bluegrass Ramble playlists on Noisetrade and Spotify

Food and accommodations during the conference are the responsibility of the artists. 

Applications can be completed online, and are open to all bluegrass acts whether or not they are members of the IBMA. An application fee of $25 is required, along with the following details:

  • Name, email, and role (i.e. banjo, fiddle) of each member of the applying act
  • One studio recorded song (mp3 format only), an optional second recording may be submitted as well)
  • One Hi-Res artist photo
  • An artist bio with artist location, names/roles of band members (if known at time of application), description of the artist’s sound, and note of any recently released recordings
  • A stage plot, indicating locations of instruments, instrument mics, vocal mics, and any other equipment (i.e. amp, pre-amp)
  • Credit card for application fee

These performance opportunities during the World of Bluegrass showcases have been game changers for many up and coming artists, and are highly prized.

The application period ends on April 30, and applicants will be notified by May 31 with the results of their submission.

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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.