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IBMA World of Bluegrass, IBMA Awards Will Be Presented Virtually in 2020

Jun 16, 2020

IBMA World of Bluegrass, IBMA Awards Will Be Presented Virtually in 2020

This year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass will be online only, with the organization citing ongoing health concerns relating to COVID-19, and the logistical challenges of creating a safe in-person event experience.

In place of the annual event in Raleigh, North Carolina, the planned conference, showcases, awards and festival performances will be presented as an online experience September 28 to Oct. 3, with the possibility of extending event content beyond those dates.

The organization also announced that nominees for the 31st annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards will be announced live on Friday, June 26, at 11 a.m. EDT/10 a.m. CDT on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction. Additionally, the second and final round of Official Showcase Artists for the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, the innovative showcase series that is part of IBMA World of Bluegrass, will be announced on June 18.

The virtual IBMA World of Bluegrass event will incorporate all components of the in-person event, adapted to a virtual environment — with the added benefit of allowing the bluegrass industry to offer new activities to its members and reach new listeners across the globe. In addition, fans will have access to free live streaming — and on-demand sessions and performances — of the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcases, the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards, and IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, a music festival with performers ranging from emerging artists to industry icons.

The IBMA Business Conference will feature high-quality professional development sessions; 1-to-1 and group networking events such as a re-imagined Gig Fair; and a Virtual Exhibit Hall, where attendees can engage with vendors via chat and video chat, participate in live product demos, purchase merchandise directly from vendors and more.

“While we all would love to gather in Raleigh this year for IBMA World of Bluegrass, the extraordinary circumstances made this decision necessary. Maintaining the health and safety of the large crowd we enjoy each year would be such an enormous, uncertain, and risky proposition,” said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA.

“However, we know how important this week is to our bluegrass professionals and fans, so we are moving forward in new ways,” he added. “We see this as an opportunity to reimagine every aspect of IBMA World of Bluegrass so we can still connect, educate, showcase, and perform in fun and engaging ways. And we hope to introduce new participants to the types of things we normally do in Raleigh so we can invite them to join us in person for the fun in 2021 and hopefully many years beyond. We deeply appreciate the ongoing partnership of the City of Raleigh, the hotels, PNC Bank, which has been our presenting sponsor since 2013, and the many other important sponsors we have worked with over the years. They help make this the most important week in bluegrass.”

Discussions to keep the event in Raleigh, North Carolina, beyond 2021 have commenced. All parties involved would like to keep the successful partnership between the IBMA and the City of Raleigh moving forward through 2024.

“IBMA World of Bluegrass brings together some of the best and most talented traditional musicians in the world and, for the last seven years, thousands of music lovers and industry leaders have gathered in Raleigh to celebrate everything bluegrass,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “And while it’s not possible to gather in person this year, we hope that Raleigh and the IBMA World of Bluegrass events will be at the top of everyone’s travel plans for 2021.”

“We will be working hard to make this year work, and plan to use what we learn about building an online audience to expand the audience for when we’re back on Fayetteville Street,” said David Brower, Executive Director of PineCone, the local Raleigh non-profit music organization that produces the festival. “We hope that this experience will allow people to participate who haven’t been able to travel to Raleigh before, and that this will also inspire them to make plans to join us in Raleigh in 2021.”

For the eighth year, PNC Bank returns as the presenting sponsor of IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. “This music festival has become one of our community’s most anticipated and loved events, and PNC is proud to help bring it to life,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas. “While the experience will be different this year, we remain committed to supporting this event and look forward to sharing in the beauty and vibrancy of bluegrass music in a virtual format.”

IBMA is actively working to develop innovative, compelling activities and content for this year’s event, and will be releasing information and updates throughout the summer.

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IBMA World of Bluegrass, IBMA Awards Will Be Presented Virtually in 2020
IBMA World of Bluegrass, IBMA Awards Will Be Presented Virtually in 2020