Bluegrass Corner

All About the IBMA

IBMA. IBMA stands for the International Bluegrass Music Association, which is the nonprofit trade organization supporting and promoting all aspects of bluegrass music, both in the U.S. and internationally. Among other activities the IBMA conducts:

  • Awards Shows. IBMA runs the annual IBMA Awards Program, which every fall—through member voting—selects the best of the best from our bluegrass community. Awards go for best song, best on each instrument, best songwriter, best gospel, best instrumental group of the year, and more. These are the equivalent of the Bluegrass Grammys. Like the Grammys a super gala is held to showcase the winners and announce the awards. If you ever want to see your bluegrass heroes dressed to the nines, this is your chance!
  • World of Bluegrass. Held annually in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the fall, this is IBMA’s major activity. It includes the Awards Show, a large trade show, a business meeting, workshops and instructional sessions, showcase bands, and lots more, all capped by a two day festival. One of the most exciting events is the Bluegrass Ramble in which IBMA showcases bands in concert in the many clubs and venues in town. Talent buyers, record labels, agents, and managers shop these venues for new talent. The regular folks are welcome as well to enjoy this one of a kind opportunity to hear great music up close. This event is a key source for your Summergrass leaders to hear new bands and to make hires for our festival.
  • Foundation for Bluegrass Music. About 10 years ago IBMA started an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation to raise money and make grants to assist all forms of bluegrass undertakings. The Foundation has supported programs bringing bluegrass music to the schools and many other great activities.
  • IBMA Trust Fund. This is a fund that provides emergency grants and loans to those in the blulegrass community who have hit hard times, be it illness, loss of work, or other hardship. The program is confidential and has, over the years, provided key help to many in need. This fund currently has special provisions to make covid related grants.

IBMA is re-inventing itself for the Covid world. Its events and activities will continue, but mostly online rather than in person. Voting for the annual IBMA Awards is currently under way and the results will be announced this fall. Listen in to Wayne Rice’s Bluegrass Special radio show on KSON 103.7 every Sunday night from 10 pm to midnight for updates and the results when they are in.

Supporting Local Bluegrass. We are lucky to have two great long-standing bluegrass nonprofits in San Diego. The North County Bluegrass and Folk Club (NCBFC) and the San Diego Bluegrass Society (SDBS). NCBFC and SDBS, in a 50-50 partnership, produce the annual Summergrass festival held every August in Vista (canceled this year due to Covid). NCBFC also puts on a monthly first Tuesday concert and jam session in Escondido. They also sponsor campouts and other events as well.

SDBS hosts concerts of traveling bands, as well as a jam session every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. SDBS also presents an instructed slow jam every third Monday. Together NCBFC and SDBS also produce the annual Bluegrass Day at the Fair event held in June.

Sadly, in the current Covid world all these events are temporarily canceled, except for the third Monday slow jam, which continues to happen online. More than ever during these hard times these volunteer-led nonprofits need your help and support. If you are not a member, please join. It’s only $20 per year for SDBS and $25 for NCBFC! If you can volunteer, you will be welcome. Every month members get top qualify newsletters from these two great groups, keeping members abreast of all things bluegrass in San Diego. We need all the help we can get to survive the Covid crisis and be in a strong position to fire up local bluegrass again when we are able to do so.

Learn more about IBMA these two great non-profits on their websites: