New procedures for IBMA Gig Fair in 2014

wob14_thWe’ve written many times before about the multiple reasons someone might consider attending the IBMA World of Bluegrass convention – the expressly business portion held during the week, before the Awards Show and weekend festival. Radio hosts can obtain new recordings and capture interviews, manufacturers and distributors showcase their wares, promoters sample new and aspiring acts, and fans take the whole thing in.

But perhaps no group in bluegrass has more to gain from attendance than artists and entertainers, especially those looking to gain greater exposure for their music. Even if you are not a pre-selected showcase act, you could find yourself in the elevator with the head of a record label you have your eye on, or “powdering your nose” with a festival director you’ve been trying to reach. We’ve all heard the aphorism that 80% of success in life is in showing up, and if you aren’t there when an opportunity knocks, there’s no way to take advantage.

One very popular aspect of WOB has been the annual Gig Fair, when agents or artists can make appointments with the representatives of major festivals and concerts. These brief face-to-face meetings allow for the chance to present materials, show a video, play some audio, and make the case for being included at their events. These folks can be very difficult to reach by phone or email, and these Gig Fair slots are prized for their scarcity.

In the past, IBMA has doled out these appointments on a first come, first served basis, with bands lining up early in the morning to get their names on the list. This year, appointments will be set online with registered attendees being able to pick a slot in advance, starting September 8.

“No one enjoyed getting up at the crack of dawn and standing in line to sign up for Gig Fair appointments,” says Nancy Cardwell, IBMA Executive Director. “Moving the process online with pre-registered bands and agents getting the first crack at appointments is something that we hope will work better for everyone.”

The key word there is pre-registered. Only agents and artists who are registered as a 2014 World of Bluegrass attendee will have access to the online Gig Fair scheduling in September. So if you plan to attend, and take advantage of the Gig Fair, it is very important that you register prior to September 8. The likelihood that any appointments will be available on the day of (10/2) is highly unlikely.

Officially invited showcase acts will get first crack at online registration, whereafter all artists and agents pre-registered will be invited to sign up.

As we reported earlier, the IBMA is rolling out the Red Carpet for talent buyers this year, and is expecting as much as a 50% increase in the number on hand in 2014. A special discounted registration is offered for first timers, with a number of special seminars and receptions to help buyers unfamiliar with bluegrass to quickly be brought up to speed.

Another new event this year is one called the Agent Pitch Session, where artist representatives with a stable of acts will be given brief slots to speak before the assembled talent buyers. There is also a specially-priced 2-day exhibit booth option for agents where promoters can meet them on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

More details about all of this can be found on the World of Bluegrass web site, or by contacting IBMA directly.

And don’t forget… you only have until August 28 to register to win free tickets and accommodations for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival the same week as World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. Find those details online as well.

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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.