The Bluegrass Ramble Kicks Off In Raleigh

The Bluegrass Ramble at IBMA 2013 - photo by Daniel MullinsThe late night showcases have always been a staple of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Business Conference. This year, the late night showcases have gone through a bit of change. Under the name “Bluegrass Ramble,” the showcases have been moved from the typical convention center and are taking place in various venues throughout Raleigh.

This change has been the subject of much criticism, but much of the controversy seems to have been laid to rest after Tuesday night’s Bluegrass Ramble.

I like it. It gives the bands more than one opportunity to showcase. The bars are very funky, and the sound was great! I think, overall, it works. It’s good for the bands because they can showcase themselves in front of different audiences. The bands also have the opportunity to play more than once.
–Bill (age 66)

We liked the variety of bands and venues. We especially liked the Lonesome River Band!
–Risa (age 22) and Kutamo (age 23)

I think it was mostly positive. It’s great to break it down into small groups. All of the venues were packed, although some of them had a few issues with noisy crowds. Overall, it was a very positive experience. It is a great idea to have more venues, because it made it possible to have more bands. The smaller venues made it more up close and personal. It made it easier to pick up subtleties in the performance. It is a great addition to the conference.
–Wayne (age 58) and Celia (age 63)

I liked it once I got used to where everything was. Everything is together and organized. There is a lot of potential. It does take some adjusting, but if more people had an open mind, IBMA really has their stuff together. Overall, the whole event is going really well. The whole city is so welcoming for us to be here.
–Sarah (age 20)

I liked that it was all in good walking distance. The maps were very helpful, and I liked the variety. All in one building is convenient, but there is a lot to be said for IBMA getting us out into this beautiful town.
–Martha (age 60)

You can see a lot of artists, which is good. It was nice in Nashville to have ten venues in the convention center. It’s not as convenient, but it’s nice to get it in the community. I do think the price is a little too expensive. It’s a big positive though to be able to catch as many groups as you want. The groups are really out of sight!
–Philip (age 64)

I went to one venue and liked it and plan to do more tonight. The new format doesn’t bother me a bit. It seems more interesting to be able to see more bands.
–Darrin (age 39)

Although the vast majority of the responses seem to be positive, one bluegrass veteran wonders if the Bluegrass Ramble caters to the wrong crowd. He feels that the Bluegrass Ramble seems to be directed to the fans, rather than to the business professionals which attend the World of Bluegrass business conference.

I don’t like that it’s so spread out. If it’s all in one location, the bands can get better exposure to the business professionals. When it’s spread over seven locations and at the same time, it’s hard to fight for the attention of broadcasters, press, promoters, etc. I think it would be great to have it all in the convention center. This is a great event, and I know it must be hard logistically, but it would be nice for the artists to perform for one big crowd rather than smaller crowds. The other way of doing the showcases was way more beneficial to the showcase bands. It would provide for better exposure. My hats are off to the people who have put on this event though. They do a great job.
— A bluegrass veteran (age 61)

I was able to go “ramble around” (pun is definitely intended) to four of the venues last night. All of the places had a very unique feel to them, and I definitely encourage to sample all of the venues. I hope to catch some of the others tonight.


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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel Mullins is an IBMA award-winning journalist and broadcaster from southwestern Ohio, with an American Studies degree from Cedarville University. He hosts the Walls of Time: Bluegrass Podcast and his daily radio program, The Daniel Mullins Midday Music Spectacular, on the Real Roots Radio network. He also serves as the station’s music director, programming country, bluegrass, and Americana music.