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Nominees for IBMA’s 2020 Industry Awards and Momentum Awards Announced

Jul 31, 2020

Nominees for IBMA's 2020 Industry Awards and Momentum Awards Announced

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced the nominees for this year’s IBMA Industry Awards and IBMA Momentum Awards, which will be presented during IBMA’s Virtual World of Bluegrass event. The announcement was made today on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction channel.

The IBMA Momentum Awards will take place Tuesday, September 29; the IBMA Industry Awards will take place Wednesday, September 30, and will include the presentation of the 2020 Distinguished Achievement Awards. Specific times and additional details for both events, and for other IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 virtual events, will be shared in the coming weeks.


The Industry Awards recognize outstanding work in categories including Broadcaster of the Year, Event of the Year, Graphic Designer of the Year, Liner Notes of the Year, Writer of the Year, Sound Engineer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year. Nominees are selected by specially appointed committees made up of bluegrass music professionals who possess significant knowledge of that field. The recipient of each award is decided on by the Panel of Electors, an anonymous group of over 200 veteran bluegrass music professionals selected by the IBMA Board of Directors.

The 2020 IBMA Industry Awards nominees are:

Broadcaster of the Year
Barb Heller
Michael Kear
Brad Kolodner
Peter Thompson
Alan Tompkins

Event of the Year
The 2019-2020 Emelin Theatre Bluegrass Concert Series – Mamaroneck, NY
FreshGrass – North Adams, MA
Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival – Farmers Branch, TX
Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week – Elkins, WV
Tell It To Me: The Johnson City Sessions 90th Anniversary Celebration – Johnson City, TN

Graphic Designer of the Year
Grace van’t Hof
Eric Barie
Michael Armistead
Carla Wehby
Lisa Berman

Liner Notes of the Year
Katy Daley – Live at the Cellar Door, The Seldom Scene
Bill Nowlin – The Early Days of Bluegrass, Various Artists
Katie Harford Hogue & Matt Combs – The John Hartford Fiddle Tune Project, Volume 1, Various Artists
Craig Havighurst – Bad For You, The SteelDrivers
Ted Olson – Tell It to Me: Revisiting the Johnson City Sessions, 1928-1929, Various Artists

Songwriter of the Year
Ronnie Bowman
Louisa Branscomb
Milan Miller
Jerry Salley
Donna Ulisse

Sound Engineer of the Year
Van Atkins
Adam Engelhardt
Randy LeRoy
Stephen Mougin
Jason Singleton

Writer of the Year
Bill Conger
Thomas Goldsmith
Derek Halsey
Justin Hiltner
Kip Lornell


The Momentum Awards recognize musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who, in the early stages of their careers, are making significant contributions to or are having a significant influence upon bluegrass music. These contributions can be to bluegrass music in general, or to a specific sector of the industry. The Mentor Award, in contrast to the other Momentum Awards, recognizes a professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry. Starting with recommendations from the IBMA membership, nominees are chosen by a multi-stage process by committees made up of respected musicians and industry leaders in the bluegrass world.

The 2020 IBMA Momentum Award nominees are:

Mentor of the Year
Alan Bibey
Rick Lang
Scott Napier
Annie Savage
Valerie Smith

Industry Involvement
Malachi Graham
Adam Kirr
Kara Kundert
Jonathan Newton
Kris Truelsen

Tabitha Agnew
Amanda Cook
Victoria Kelley
Leanna Price
Melody Williamson

Instrumentalist (2 selected)
Tabitha Agnew
Thomas Cassell
Alex Edwards
Miles Quale
Lauren Price Napier
Liam Purcell
Sullivan Tuttle

AJ Lee and Blue Summit (San Jose, CA)
Colebrook Road (Harrisburg, PA)
Midnight Skyracer (UK)
Seth Mulder & Midnight Run (East Tennessee)
The Slocan Ramblers (Toronto, Ontario)

“While most genres of music only award high profile artists and recordings, the bluegrass music community also celebrates other industry professionals and rising stars achieving excellence during the year,” said IBMA’s Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “The IBMA Industry Awards recognize the exceptional contributions of those talented professionals behind the scenes who are essential to bluegrass music. The IBMA Momentum Awards were added several years ago to shine a bright light on the many early-stage professionals making a huge impact in bluegrass music and the generous mentors providing them invaluable guidance and support. Congratulations to each and every nominee!”

In June, the IBMA and its Local Organizing Committee partners in Raleigh, North Carolina announced that due to ongoing health concerns relating to COVID-19, and the logistical challenges of creating a safe in-person event experience, this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass will take place virtually, set for September 28-October 3.

Lead image courtesy of IBMA

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Nominees for IBMA's 2020 Industry Awards and Momentum Awards Announced
Nominees for IBMA's 2020 Industry Awards and Momentum Awards Announced