IBMA rebrands weekend festival as Bluegrass Live!

Since the very beginning, the International Bluegrass Music Association has wrapped up its annual convention and business conference with a big music party, featuring top artists in the field. With the World of Bluegrass convention occurring during the week, the follow-up festival would fill the weekend after the business was concluded. Over the years it has had several names – Fan Fest, Wide Open Bluegrass – with proceeds donated to the IBMA Trust Fund to benefit industry professionals in need.

Today, in cooperation with their partners in Raleigh, NC and naming sponsor, PNC Bank, the IBMA has announced a new brand and title for the event, IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. The new moniker will apply to both the big 2-day stadium show at the Red Hat Amphitheater, and the Friday/Saturday street festival which takes over downtown’s Fayetteville Street for the duration. Both events are free of charge, and all are invited to see and hear what bluegrass music has to offer, in all its diverse stylings. It is a major attraction for folks in the Triangle region, and as a tourist draw for visitors.

The 2020 edition is set for October 2-3, on the heels of World of Bluegrass, which will run from September 29-October 1. Artist lineups are expected to be announced soon, and IBMA’s Executive Director Paul Schiminger says that they feel like the new name clarifies a number of issues for everyone involved.

“We are excited on a number of fronts. The association’s branding for this important week in Raleigh has been improved to create more cohesiveness, and better continuity across the different underlying events. Additionally, we feel IBMA Bluegrass Live! eliminates confusion between World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass, while capturing the energy and essence of this incredible festival that has 100+ bands playing to over 200,000 attendees. We are also happy to continue free general admission access to the Main Stage performances along with select reserve seating. The lineup for the festival’s Main Stage is shaping up to be incredible once again!”

That sentiment is echoed by David Brower, the recently installed Executive Director of Pinecone, who organizes and produces the street festival.

“All of us in Raleigh look forward to this week all year. We’ve been working with our partners at IBMA, the local organizing committee, and our sponsors on another exciting festival to cap off the most important week in bluegrass. There’s such a good vibe all week, it’s really something that needs to be experienced.”  

As always, Bluegrass Today will be reporting from Raleigh that week, bringing you as much of the experience as we can online.

Further details about World of Bluegrass, the International Bluegrass Music Awards, and the Bluegrass Ramble – all taking place in the same week – can be found online.

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.