IBMA planning hybrid World of Bluegrass conference in Raleigh

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced that they are moving forward with plans to hold their annual World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, NC at the end of September, with a mix of in-person and online events, depending on how COVID restrictions evolve over the spring and summer.

In a letter to its membership, the IBMA says that they are “cautiously optimistic” about holding the conference, awards show, and festival in Raleigh, but will make final judgements as federal and state recommendations are revised.

Executive Director Paul Schiminger says that discussions with the professional membership of the organization make clear that the in-person events are their preferred option.

“We’ve heard from many of our members in the past few months, and we share the strong desire to gather in person in Raleigh this year; we wish it were a straightforward decision based on that alone. We remain optimistic but also have to consider CDC, state, and local guidelines to hold an event like ours. We have a strong partnership with the City of Raleigh, and they want to hold the event every bit as much as we do since it benefits both of our communities enormously.”

That said, hotel reservations in Raleigh for the September 28 – October 2 block will be opened on June 1, along with ticket sales for World of Bluegrass and associated functions.

IBMA also stressed some important dates for those interested in submitting for the Bluegrass Ramble showcases, the weekend street festival stages, and other conference proceedings.

Here are the submission periods to keep in mind, falling this year outside the normal WOB entry schedule.

  • Official IBMA Artist Showcase: April 5 – April 30
  • IBMA Songwriter Showcase: May 3 – May 28
  • IBMA Business Conference Call for Proposals: May 3 – May 28
  • IBMA Bluegrass Live! Street Stages, Youth Stage, University Ensemble Showcase: June 7-June 30
  • Kids on Bluegrass: June 7-June 30

IBMA is in the process of updating the World of Bluegrass web site now, and has an FAQ page up that addresses many questions you may have about the 2021 event. One thing that seems clear is that regardless whether an in-person conference can be hosted, much of the content will be available for online viewing for those unable to attend.

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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.