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BGS Receives IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award

Jul 19, 2023

BGS Receives IBMA's Distinguished Achievement Award

The International Bluegrass Music Association announced the nominees and recipients of their 34th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards today at the SiriusXM headquarters in downtown Nashville. Hosted by Bluegrass Junction DJs Joey Black and Ned Luberecki and featuring performances by nominee Lonesome River Band and brand-new Hall of Fame inductee Sam Bush, the ceremony also included announcements of this year’s IBMA Distinguished Achievement Awards, the second highest honor the organization gives out.

Italian bluegrass forebears Red Wine, banjo player and “Duke of Drive” Terry Baucom, promoter and festival organizer Carl Goldstein, and author and picker Tom Ewing were among this year’s Distinguished Achievement Recipients. Rounding out the field in the Industry category is BGS – The Bluegrass Situation – the world’s foremost online community for bluegrass and roots music.

“Of course, what we do is never driven by a need for accolades,” says BGS co-founder and executive director Amy Reitnouer Jacobs. “However, to be recognized by our peers and community is a humbling honor nonetheless.”

In 2022 BGS celebrated its tenth year of operation, marking the milestone with special anniversary content, articles, shows, and activations throughout the year. What began as a blog for bluegrass fans in Los Angeles – co-founded by actor and musician Ed Helms and Reitnouer Jacobs, who would quickly become a power player in the music industry – has since grown into a national and international community, with hundreds of thousands of followers across platforms and around the world.

“We are so honored and humbled by this recognition,” says BGS managing editor Justin Hiltner. “Bluegrass is all about community, and to have our community – the genre that built us – recognize our efforts in this way means the world. What Ed and Amy have created and brought all of us into is something truly special. Thank you to IBMA, the organization and its membership, for this award.”

BGS has produced and presented stages and concerts at some of the world’s premier events, festivals, and venues, including Bonnaroo, UK’s Long Road Festival, Bourbon & Beyond, MerleFest, Stagecoach, the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, the Irish Arts Center in NYC, and IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. In 2020, their online series Whiskey Sour Happy Hour, hosted by Helms, raised tens of thousands of dollars for frontline healthcare workers and personal protective equipment and, in 2016, BGS founded Shout & Shine, bluegrass’s first ever showcase celebrating diversity, inclusion, and representation in bluegrass, which ran for five years and became a column and video series.

During the presentation of the Distinguished Achievement recipients, IBMA had this to say about the outlet and media company:

The Bluegrass Situation, or more simply “BGS” or “The Sitch” has arguably been the preeminent online media source for bluegrass and roots music for the last ten years. Founded by Ed Helms and Amy Reitnouer Jacobs, The Bluegrass Situation has quickly grown into a national and international home for millions of readers to discover new artists and material, both traditional and progressive, read in-depth interviews and feature articles, and learn the history of bluegrass music. BGS has also been an important event promoter and sponsor in LA and around the country at major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Bourbon & Beyond, and IBMA World of Bluegrass. Members of the BGS team have also been impactful participants in helping the industry, including numerous IBMA education panels and the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show.

The Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented during a luncheon ceremony as part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass conference in Raleigh, North Carolina ahead of the International Bluegrass Music Awards show on Thursday, September 28. Tickets for the conference and awards show are on sale now.

BGS is so grateful, honored, and humbled by this recognition handed out by our peers, colleagues, and community. While the musical and editorial scope of BGS has always been broader than just bluegrass, it’s this genre that built us – and it’s the people in this community who we have to thank for all of our successes.

Stay tuned for more announcements to come regarding BGS’s involvement and activities at this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass conference.

(Editor’s Note: See the full list of this year’s IBMA Awards nominees and recipients here.)


Graphic courtesy of IBMA

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BGS Receives IBMA's Distinguished Achievement Award
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