We’re well into the new year, and it’s plenty cold outside, which means that the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America convention in Nashville is right around the corner.
Set for February 4-7 in the Sheraton Music City hotel, the weekend will include the organization’s 33rd annual convention and band championship, along with performances from top national acts, and closing out on Sunday with the 42nd annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards.
This venerable event includes plenty of jamming, voting for your favorite artists, super stage shows, and a bustling exhibit area. There is picking in the lobby pretty much 24/7, and on most floors of the hotel. Rooms at the Sheraton are sold out, but tickets to the convention are still available, as is registration for the SPBGMA Banjo Workshop hosted by Jack Hatfield.
The Banjo Workshop is a separately ticketed affair, but registrants also receive access to all the other SPBGMA functions on February 5. Faculty for the all-day sessions include Hatfield, Joe Mullins, Steve Huber, and Greg Cahill. Registration details can be found online.
Hatfield also hosts his annual Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy in May, now held in its new location in Pigeon Forge, TN. Ron Block, Kristin Scott Benson, and Butch Robins headline this year’s faculty.
SPBGMA held it’s smaller Midwestern Convention last week in Jefferson City, MO, where they announced the winners of their 2016 Midwest Bluegrass Awards:
- Bluegrass Promoter of the Year: Joe & Lori King
- Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year: Kelli Courtney
- Bluegrass Album of the Year: Grandpa’s Old Guitar by Lori King & Junction 63 on JLK Records
- Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year: Wyatt Harman
- Dobro Performer of the Year: Larita Martin
- Guitar Performer of the Year: Bull Harman
- Mandolin Performer of the Year: Hall Cottrell
- Banjo Performer of the Year: Janice Martin
- Fiddle Performer of the Year: Chuck Miller
- Female Vocalist of the Year (Overall): Lori King
- Male Vocalist of the Year (Overall): Dale Martin
- Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year: The Harper Family
- Vocal Group of the Year: Bluegrass Martins
- Instrumental Group of the Year: Bluegrass Martins
- Bluegrass Band of the Year (Overall): Lori King & Junction 63
- Entertainers of the Year: Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye
Bluegrass Today will be on site all weekend in February, so be sure to come by and say howdy if you are in attendance.
Visit the SPBGMA site for convention information and registration, including a performer list. Awards ballots will be distributed at the hotel.