Leadership Bluegrass deadline looms

Tomorrow, November 15, is the deadline to apply for a spot in the 2012 Leadership Bluegrass class, held in Nashville March 8-10.To make it easier for more music professionals to attend, next year’s event has been moved closer to the weekend, and cut down to three days.

This annual seminar was created to help identify and nurture leaders within the bluegrass community, and all of the many attendees I know have found their time at Leadership Bluegrass to have been extremely valuable.

IBMA describes the event as follows:

The purpose of the Leadership Bluegrass program is to pull together a cross section of people with exhibited or potential leadership qualities into a network of learning and communication. The results will foster a broad-based understanding of the total needs of the bluegrass community, which will help participants better prepare to determine the goals of the particular organization, company or group in which they choose to serve. Leadership Bluegrass seeks to explore bluegrass music and its place in the larger world of entertainment through:

  • A systematic study of the business of bluegrass, its institutions and organizations, their needs, problems and resources
  • Exposure to a wide variety of current music leaders and notable persons
  • Encouraging independent thinking, fresh perspectives and approaches. It is not intended to “indoctrinate” or pass on the current leaders?views and ideas.
  • Acquaintance with relevant issues facing bluegrass, their history and future possibilities
  • Involvement of all related facets of the music industry which impact bluegrass
  • High quality interactive sessions for the participants.


The selection process for Leadership Bluegrass is competitive, with more applicants than there are positions available.  While your application or recommendation does not guarantee a position in the class, IBMA does guarantee that everyone who applies will be given an equal opportunity. The deadline to apply every year is November 15 .  Details and application will be posted in the fall and will also be available at the World of Bluegrass Business Conference. Enrollment and participation in Leadership Bluegrass is voluntary and a new class will be selected each year. All class members are expected to bear the expense of any travel and/or lodging during the program as well as pay a class participation fee. A limited number of partial scholarships are available to qualified applicants. A full refund minus a $30 processing fee will be offered to confirmed attendees who notify the IBMA office three weeks before the event that they will need to cancel. After the three week date has passed, refunds will not be issued. Class size is limited to around 25 individuals. The criteria for participation and selection to the program shall include:

  • A sincere commitment, motivation and interest in servicing the bluegrass community today and in the future
  • Relative bluegrass community activity and experience
  • An interest in advancing one’s own professional or volunteer leadership roles within the bluegrass music industry.
  • The opportunity and commitment to take the time the program requires for completion.

The fee for the three days is $300 for IBMA members, and $375 for non-members. More details, including an application, can be found online.

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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.