World of Bluegrass leaving Raleigh after 2024

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced that they will looking for a new home for the World of Bluegrass convention and associated events following the 2024 conference in Raleigh, NC. The mid-week Business Conference, The Bluegrass Ramble, the Bluegrass Music Awards Show, the Momentum Awards, the Industry Awards, and the weekend IBMA Bluegrass Live! festival will be relocating to another site starting in 2025.

For its part, the City of Raleigh will continue to host a major music festival in September downtown, under the supervision of Visit Raleigh, PineCone, and the Raleigh Convention Center. A wide variety of roots and Americana music will be featured, though a name for the new event has not been released.

Paul Schiminger, interim IBMA Executive Director, says that Raleigh has been a terrific host this past dozen years.

“Raleigh has been the fourth and most successful home for IBMA World of Bluegrass. In seeking to attract our organization to Raleigh in 2013, the city worked closely to partner with the IBMA to expand the association’s long-standing festival into a new model which included both ticketed and free stages in the downtown corridor. The success of this model was evident in the growth of attendees to over 200,000 people enjoying bluegrass music in each of the years from 2016 to 2019.”

Visit Raleigh’s Executive Vice President, Loren Gold, speaks highly of the partnership as well.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with IBMA over the last 10+ years, and wish them well in their new home. The weekend festival has always been an activation of the LOC in partnership with the IBMA, so we’re excited to put all we have learned over this past decade together to create a new homegrown festival. We’re going to work with our local partners to reimagine a new festival. It’s going to keep growing and getting even better.”

The search for a new site for World of Bluegrass is currently underway, and the IBMA expects to announce the new location by the end of 2023.

Schiminger feels proud that IBMA’s impact in Raleigh will continue to be felt through their future event.

“We are excited for the future of the IBMA and the future of Raleigh. We look forward to a huge celebration of bluegrass in Raleigh this year, and then in 2024 under IBMA’s new Executive Director, Ken White, who takes over in October. From there, we will build on the success created by this partnership to spread bluegrass in another location while knowing the city of Raleigh will carry on the tradition of our festival by putting their creative ideas to work in launching a terrific roots music festival of their own.”

It’s the end of an era for World of Bluegrass in Raleigh. We’ll certainly be eager for news about its new home.

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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.