Young folks at World of Bluegrass 2016

Kids on Bluegrass at Wide Open Bluegrass 2016 - photo © Tara LinhardtIBMA has done a fantastic job finding ways to include and encourage youth to come and participate at the 2016 World of Bluegrass conference and festival. There were plenty of activities for kids who play music, and for those who don’t.

Since 2012 IBMA has had a Youth Council, which is comprised of young folks who seriously play bluegrass and are active in the bluegrass community. They help to organize a variety of youth-centered events at IBMA, such as the Youth Stage just outside the Convention Center on Friday and Saturday, and a youth jamming room, which has kids only jams. At other times a professional band (of grown ups) will be scheduled to come and jam with the kids.

The IBMA also offers IBMA memberships for kids at only $15, and now also has a discount available to college students.

They also devoted stage time to some of the universities that offer bluegrass programs to showcase their students during the week on stages other than the Youth Stage.

The Bluegrass Foundation has also been working hard to encourage young people to discover and learn about bluegrass music through its variety of programs.They promote bluegrass in the schools, which provides educational materials to be used for students from elementary to university ages. They also provide matching grants to help schools pay for live bluegrass music performances in their schools, and teacher and artist workshops, with grants for research, and camps.

The Bluegrass Foundation is the charitable partner of the IBMA who created it. They are a 501(c)3, and can take tax deductible donations, as opposed the The IBMA which is a trade organization, and a 501(c)4.

At IBMA each year they have a Kids On Bluegrass Program, which takes extraordinarily talented kids from around the country and helps them connect, learn, and showcase their abilities. Kids on Bluegrass first started 26 years ago in California, and has since spread to the other places in the country. IBMA is a main showcase for them each year. The kids are involved with the program in Raleigh for three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) comprised of rehearsals and performances during Wide Open Bluegrass. Kim Fox is the IBMA Kids on Bluegrass Coordinator and Frank Solivan Sr. is a founder of the program and coordinator who comes from the California Bluegrass Association.

For those kids who were not playing music there were also activities like a climbing wall, riding a mechanical bull, giant slides, a place where kids could “mine for gems,” get faces painted, and more all for free as a part of the street fair.

Kids On Bluegrass – Cara, Jonah, Presley, Jacob, Jonah perform Big Mon at IBMA on Saturday October 1, 2016.


Tater Hill Mashers jammin’ in the parking lot in the Kids Zone area…


There was even a really good spoons player…


The Band of Kellys on the Youth Stage…


And in a less formal setting in the California Suite at the Marriott hotel here are the Rambling Minors from California…