IBMA's World of Bluegrass Begins September 29
For bluegrass musicians and songwriters, industry executives, fans and enthusiasts, there's no better place to be next week than Nashville. The annual International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) World of Bluegrass events, including the IBMA Business Conference, the 19th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium, and Bluegrass Fan Fest, begin on September 29 at the Nashville Convention Center. Last year, World of Bluegrass drew over 22,000 attendees, including representatives from all 50 states and 15 countries. The 19th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show will be held on October 2 at the Ryman Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. and hosted by Del McCoury. Awards will be handed out in 17 categories recognizing excellence over the past year. The Dan Tyminski Band has been added to the star-studded lineup that includes performances by The Grascals, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Del McCoury Band, The SteelDrivers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Dale Ann Bradley, Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Steep Canyon Rangers and Dailey & Vincent. Tickets are available for purchase by calling the Ryman box office at 615-889-3060 or Ticketmaster at 615-255-9600. The awards show will be broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio on Bluegrass Junction (Channel 14) and syndicated to more than 300 stations across the U.S. and around the world. National sponsors for the awards show include Martha White Foods, GACTV, GHS Strings, Pinecastle Records, MerleFest and Deering Banjos. The IBMA Business Conference, sponsored by Bluegrass Unlimited and D'Addario Strings, is the only annual business conference for the bluegrass music industry, featuring artist showcases, professional development seminars, member constituency meetings, networking sessions, late-night showcases and jam sessions, and more. There is also an exhibit hall with over 100 booths operated by instrument manufacturers, booking agencies, record labels, bluegrass publications and others. This year's seminars will cover topics including product endorsements, artist and event sponsorships, bluegrass workshops and camps, event contract issues, guerilla street team marketing, SoundExchange, and radio syndication. For a full business conference schedule, visit http://www.ibma.org/events.programs/wob/schedule.asp. The keynote address for this year's business conference will be delivered on September 29 by Roger H. Brown, President of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since Brown became president, Berklee has added music performance majors in mandolin and banjo, making it possible for students to earn a degree with a focus on bluegrass, along with jazz and other types of popular music. Other highlights of the business conference include showcases featuring new artists, as well as new personnel and albums from current artists. The following artists will showcase during the conference: Balsam Range, Blue Highway, Valerie Smith & Becky Buller, Cumberland Gap Connection, Dappled Grays, Dixie Bee Liners, The Farewell Drifters, The Gibson Brothers, The Lonesome River Band, Kathy Mattea, Alecia Nugent, Red Wine, Sawmill Road, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, The Charlie Sizemore Band, The SteelDrivers, Ernie Thacker, Donna Ulisse and Widow Maker. For a full showcase schedule, visit http://www.ibma.org/events.programs/wob/afterhours.asp. As an acknowledgment of the continued growth of bluegrass-both artistically and commercially-around the world, IBMA will sponsor for the first time a two-day International Summit on September 30 and October 1. Led by professional facilitator, bluegrass historian and broadcaster Fred Bartenstein, international attendees will take a look at current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for bluegrass music outside of the U.S., as well as explore new ideas and options for the future and build consensus for priorities. Also new this year is the Crash Course for Bluegrass Songwriters, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, October 1. The seminar is designed for bluegrass artists who want to take their writing to a more professional level and for songwriters interested in pitching their songs more effectively to artists in the bluegrass community. The IBMA Songwriter Showcase, scheduled for September 30 from 4:00-6:30 p.m., will be hosted by Ron Block, Sierra Hull and Cia Cherryholmes and is sponsored by ASCAP. The Special Awards Luncheon, to be held on October 2, recognizes Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year, Bluegrass Event of the Year, Print Media Person of the Year, Best Graphic Design for Recorded Project and Best Liner Notes for Recorded Project, along with the year's recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award, an honor which recognizes individuals, groups and businesses for ground-breaking work and fostering the music's image and accessibility. This year's recipients are Bill Harrell, The Banjo Newsletter, The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Art Menius, and Joe Carr & Alan Munde. Bluegrass Fan Fest, held from October 3-5 at the Nashville Convention Center, features performances by more than 60 bluegrass artists on over four stages. The exhibit hall remains open, along with an area for artists to meet fans, while jam sessions continue and the Grand Master Fiddler Championship takes place. This year's featured Fan Fest performers include: The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Cherryholmes, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Dailey & Vincent, Ralph Stanley II, Grasstowne and Michael Martin Murphey, The Dan Tyminski Band, Blue Highway, and The Greencards, among others. Proceeds from Fan Fest ticket sales benefit the Bluegrass Trust Fund, established to help bluegrass professionals during times of emergency need, as well as IBMA's marketing and educational events during the year. All artists appearing at the event donate their time and talents for the cause. Tickets are available on-site at the Nashville Convention Center on October 3 and 4 from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. For additional information and pricing visit www.ibma.org. IBMA is the bluegrass music industry's non-profit trade organization with over 2,700 members in over 30 countries including artists, composers, labels, broadcasters, educators, association leaders, publishers, merchandisers, luthiers, journalists, agents, managers, events producers and others.