Image634726766307310817Officials in Raleigh confirmed today that the International Bluegrass Association’s World of Bluegrass annual conference and awards show will be hosted by that city in 2013.  Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane made the announcement at a press conference today, confirming the news that was leaked by Raleigh’s NBC television affiliate station yesterday.

Denny Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said the Bluegrass Awards are the Super Bowl of Bluegrass.

“This is the biggest news in bluegrass” said one fan who attends every year, “finally a new city to explore,” she said.

Raleigh will be the fourth home for the annual conference and awards.  Image634727570487286817The association moved to Nashville in 2005 after their beginnings in Louisville and later Owensboro, KY.  Many conference attendees have criticized the IBMA since the move to Nashville from Kentucky claiming Nashville produced too much of a modern country influence.  Nashville is also an expensive city in which to host a convention.

The Prescription Bluegrass Blog has launched a public opinion poll to see what you think.  Answer the question (How do you feel about the World Of Bluegrass Convention, Fan Fair and Awards moving to Raleigh, NC in 2013?) and/or comment at:  https://www.facebook.com/questions/334048020001793/

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 four-day IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, and the three-day Bluegrass Fan Fest. The following World of Bluegrass dates have been announced, with the option for a five- or seven-day event each year:

  • September 23 - 29, 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 we had designed a perfect venue for our events, it would look a lot like the facilities in Raleigh,” 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 partnership with Raleigh.”

“I speak for the entire Greater Raleigh hospitality community in saying that we are ecstatic to host IBMA’s annual conference beginning in 2013,” said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to showcasing our area’s musical and cultural heritage to the thousands of fans, musicians and industry leaders coming to North Carolina’s Capital City.”

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.

The Raleigh Convention Center is approximately 20 percent larger than the Nashville Convention Center and also has an adjacent hotel property.

Here are some of the details fans will find in Raleigh.

    • A compact “campus” with options for hosting Fan Fest indoors or outdoors—or both, with more stage options
    • A state-of-the-art, Silver LEED certified convention center that incorporates a bright and open atmosphere (lots of windows and solar panels on the roof!)
    • Substantially lower hotel rates, with the host hotel at $139/night and other lodging in our block as low as $66/night. The Raleigh Marriott City Center is connected to the Raleigh Convention Center and the Sheraton Raleigh is half a block away across the street, connected by an underground walkway (both $139/night).  The Clarion Hotel State Capital ($85) is five blocks away.  MORE: The Hampton Inn Glenwood Avenue (1 mile, $139), the Doubletree by Hilton Brownstone (2 miles, $154), the Hilton North Raleigh (5 miles, $101), Holiday Inn Express-Suites NCSU (2 miles, $89.99), Red Roof Inn NCSU (1 mile, $65.99). Note: These rates will not be available until spring 2013.
    • Plenty of parking at the Raleigh Convention Center, $7/day
    • Free shuttle rides in downtown Raleigh to its five entertainment districts. This shuttle also has access to the Marriott, Sheraton, Clarion and Hampton.
    • Free Wi-Fi for individual World of Bluegrass attendees in the lobby of the Raleigh Convention Center and in designated outside hotspots downtown
    • Substantial savings and value from Raleigh both for individual World of Bluegrass attendees and for our trade association as a whole, plus help with media promotion and sponsorship connections
    • A strong network of volunteers already working bluegrass concerts at PineCone events (Piedmont Council of Traditional Music)
    • A performing arts hall-style venue for the IBMA Awards, with a few more (and softer) seats

“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.  The tradition continues today with a number of talented artists based in the Carolinas---including our reigning Entertainers of the Year with Steve Martin, The Steep Canyon Rangers”

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 CafĂ©, 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 on Sept. 27, and toabsolutely enjoy everything Music City has to offer 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.

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