NASHVILLE, TN – Twenty thousand fans and music industry professionals from all around the globe will converge on the Nashville Convention Center from September 28 to October 4 for the International Bluegrass Music Association‘s (IBMA) World of Bluegrass. The week is equal parts homecoming, family reunion, expo, business conference, celebration, and music festival, highlighted by the International Bluegrass Music Awards which honor the year’s most outstanding talent.
To view a brief video about the unique World of Bluegrass experience, click here:
The 20th anniversary of the International Bluegrass Music Awards is the centerpiece of the week, when the music comes home to the historical Ryman Auditorium on Thursday evening, Oct. 1. While the best seats are among the celebrities in the hallowed pews of the Ryman for the all-star lineup, the show is also broadcast live on Sirius/XM and around the world via a syndicated radio network. According to show co-producer Cindy Baucom, “The milestone 20th Anniversary IBMA Awards Show will truly be a night to remember as we bring together the biggest award winners of the past with the newest nominees, topped off with dynamic performances.”
Bookending the Awards Show are the association’s Business Conference and Bluegrass Fan Fest.
The Business Conference (Monday, September 28-Thursday, October 1), sponsored by Bluegrass Unlimited and D’Addario Strings, is the only convention focusing on the business of this unique genre. And while bluegrass may be perceived by some as an old-fashioned niche, in reality its professionals are engaged and tapping into new resources helping them to spur significant audience growth. According to recent data from Simmons Research, the number of bluegrass fans has increased 16% during the past two years, totaling 20,000,000 in the U.S. alone.
The event offers benefits to industry reps from all professions who create relationships that foster growth–with thought-provoking seminars and interactive discussions about the direction of the industry, as well as the showcasing of talent and products that spur bookings and increase sales. The theme for the 2009 Business Conference is simply “Finding Answers in Today’s Music Market,” and a new “Open Forum” will kick off the convention on Monday, Sept. 28.
“Music” remains the first word in “music business” during the conference, with more than 300 showcase performances planned. It’s the best place to introduce new acts, new songs and new recordings, and connect with key decision makers for bookings, media, broadcast and distribution. Showcases from Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Audie Blaylock & Redline, The Bankester Family, The Crowe Brothers, The Davidson Brothers, G2 Bluegrass Band, Gold Heart, Donna Hughes, The Martins, The Quebe Sisters Band, Billy Smith and Spring Creek will be featured during the week, in addition to scores of privately-hosted shows.
Over 20 seminars will provide a spirited forum on topics ranging from key legislative issues to market research, broadcasting, event production and much more. Special events include a Gig Fair (described by participants as “speed dating between event producers and talent reps”), a DJ Taping Session, Songwriter Circles, Mentor Sessions and a Health Fair. New to the program for 2009, IBMA has added Educational Labs – an opportunity to get hands-on experience using skills discussed in seminars and to demonstrate new tools and technology.
The weekend (Oct. 2-4) arrives on a “high lonesome” note with the uniquely exciting Bluegrass Fan Fest, sponsored in part by Martha White Foods, Martin Guitars and Knee Deep in Bluegrass. Inside the comfortable setting of the Nashville Convention Center, fans will enjoy music from more than 60 acts on three stages, including the Main Stage, the Masters Workshop Stage and the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. A 100-booth expo center is the place to browse and buy the latest music gear, publications, recordings and merchandise – while also getting to meet the artists at their booths in between performances.
Featured acts confirmed at press time include the award-winning talents of Dailey & Vincent, The Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Cherryholmes, Steep Canyon Rangers, The SteelDrivers, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Don Rigsby & Midnight Call, Johnny Warren & Charlie Cushman, Grasstowne, Audie Blaylock &Redline, The Church Sisters and a Carter Family Tribute featuring special guests. Additional acts will be announced throughout the summer.
Returning to the festival is the popular Fan Feast breakfast on Friday morning, Oct. 2. For only $20, fans can enjoy breakfast served by the biggest stars in bluegrass.
Proceeds from Fan Fest ticket sales benefit the Bluegrass Trust Fund, established to help bluegrass professionals during times of emergency need, as well as support IBMA’s marketing and educational events to promote the music year-round. All artists appearing at the event donate their time and talents for the cause.
Tickets for all events are available beginning June 1st at www.ibma.org or by calling 1-888-GET-IBMA. For discount rates on accommodations, call the event housing bureau at 1-877-259-4716. A full schedule of events is available at http://www.ibma.org/events.programs/wob/schedule.asp.
FROM PAST EXPERIENCE…
“The workshops and seminars are the meat and potatoes of the week, providing all of us with great food for thought, and the showcases are surely the tasty dessert. The more who go, the more we’ll grow!”
Sam Passamano, Jr., Rural Rhythm Records
“Attending the World of Bluegrass events allows us to build relationships in a relaxed atmosphere with artists, fans and sponsors. In fact, we were able to partner with four new sponsors in 2009 that we met at the 2008 convention.”
Ted Hagaman, MerleFest
“World of Bluegrass week offers an annual chance to show new products to our core customers. The large number of pickers in one location the events offer can’t be found in any other single event. So if you’re in the business of ‘bluegrass,’ you simply can’t afford to not only go to WOB, but to be involved. Last year’s sales were the best of any event we have ever attended.”
Steve Simmons, Colorado Case Company
“Last year we broadcast interviews and live music sets from 50 artists during World of Bluegrass. It’s the place to be if you want to connect with the music and news from established and up-and-coming musicians. Look for us there again this year.”
Katy Daly, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country
Submitted by Karen Byrd Public Relations