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IBMA Moves World of Bluegrass Conference to Raleigh for 2013-2015

City of Raleigh Officials & IBMA Officials on stage in downtown Raleigh after the announcement that World of Bluegrass will be in Raleigh beginning in 2013.The International Bluegrass Music Association announced its plans today to move its World of Bluegrass events to Raleigh, North Carolina for the next three years, 2013-2015. World of Bluegrass Week includes the IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, and the Bluegrass Fan Fest. The annual industry summit/bluegrass family reunion draws over 16,000 fans, artists, and music industry professionals from around the world for the week-long event, with an estimated 8,000-10,000 coming from outside the region. World of Bluegrass provides opportunities for showcasing, professional development, and networking at the largest concentrated week of powerful, live bluegrass music on the planet. 
 
The following World of Bluegrass dates have been announced, with the option for a five- or seven-day event each year:  
 
September 24 - 28, 2013
September 29 - October 5, 2014
September 28 - October 4, 2015
 
World of Bluegrass 2013-2015 will be hosted at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Raleigh Amphitheater and Memorial Auditorium, with hotel blocks at the Raleigh Marriott City Center, the Sheraton Raleigh and six additional nearby hotels. “If someone had designed a venue perfect for our events, the City of Raleigh could not have done a better job,” said IBMA Board of Directors chair Stan Zdonik. “Raleigh offers us a compact ‘campus’ that includes both indoor and outdoor stages, as well as a state-of-the-art convention center that incorporates a bright and open atmosphere. We're getting substantial savings and value from Raleigh, both for individual World of Bluegrass attendees and for our organization as a whole. We’re overwhelmed already by the strong support from the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Convention Center and Venues, the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, and PineCone (Piedmont Council of Traditional Music), along with an enthusiastic welcome from the local bluegrass music community. IBMA anticipates a successful event and a long-term partnership with Raleigh.”
 
“Raleigh has been at the epicenter of the bluegrass music scene from the beginning,” says William Lewis, executive director of PineCone. “At 50,000 watts, Raleigh’s WPTF was a prominent stop on the country and bluegrass music radio circuit during the 1920s -1950s. The Monroe Brothers were one of the first major touring acts to appear on WPTF in 1937-1938, though local groups such as the Charlie Poole Swingbillies had performed there prior. In fact, while working in Raleigh at WPTF, the Monroe Brothers (Charlie and Bill) famously parted ways in 1938, beginning the chain of events that would eventually lead Bill Monroe to form The Blue Grass Boys. Hosting the World of Bluegrass in Raleigh brings industry leaders, musicians, and bluegrass fans together in a place that was and continues to be a significant part of bluegrass music’s development.”

The leadership of IBMA is looking forward to working with a local organizing committee in Raleigh to plan World of Bluegrass and a city-wide celebration, with showcase and performance opportunities for dozens of bands in the Raleigh Convention Center, the headquarter hotels, local schools, and up and down the streets in local music clubs and cafes. 

International Bluegrass Music Association Logo

“North Carolina has a rich bluegrass music history,” IBMA Interim Executive Director Nancy Cardwell noted.  “A number of our Bluegrass Hall of Fame members hail from the Tar Heel State, including Earl Scruggs himself; legendary guitar stylist Doc Watson; Red Smiley of Reno & Smiley; Carlton Haney, who produced the first multi-day bluegrass festival; Curly Seckler; Carl Story and George Shuffler.  Pre-bluegrass pioneers Wade Mainer and Charlie Poole are from North Carolina, and the Monroe Brothers (Charlie and Bill) made their first recordings in Charlotte, N.C.”
 
While the World of Bluegrass will move to Raleigh, IBMA’s office will remain in Nashville. “IBMA hosted our World of Bluegrass events in Owensboro and Louisville, Kentucky before moving to Nashville in 2005,” said Cardwell. “We have a good home in Nashville, and we intend to stay actively involved throughout the year in local efforts to keep a high profile for bluegrass music in Music City, including quarterly ‘Bluebird in the Bluegrass’ songwriter rounds at The Bluebird Café, a ‘September is Worldwide Bluegrass Music Month’ downtown concert organized by the Foundation for Bluegrass Music, teacher workshops in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and other events produced by local members.”
 
IBMA’s 2012 dates for World of Bluegrass are Sept. 24-30, in Nashville, Tennessee.  Members and fans are invited to come enjoy the conference in Nashville, to be sure to secure a ticket early for the 23rd International Bluegrass Music Awards at the historic Ryman Auditorium for Sept. 27, and to absolutely enjoy everything Music City has to offer one last time before we move to Raleigh for the next three years.  
 
Call 615-256-3222 or email info@ibma.org for more information or visit www.worldofbluegrass.org for event updates throughout the summer. For reservations at Nashville’s Renaissance Hotel and surrounding properties during World of Bluegrass 2012, please call 877-259-4716 or (615) 259-4700.      
 
IBMA is the international trade association for bluegrass music, with members in 50 states and 30 countries, whose goal is to work together for the future of bluegrass music.
 
Image, from left to right: Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane; IBMA interim Executive Director Nancy Cardwell; IBMA Board of Directors Vice Chair Jon Weisberger; NC Banjo Player Terry Baucom; IBMA Board Member & Knee Deep in Bluegrass Radio Host Cindy Baucom; IBMA Board Member & PineCone Executive Director William Lewis; Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Denny Edwards. Photo credit: Jamie Dawson, Kickin Grass Band

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