RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass festival will be a virtual event.
The planned conference, showcases, awards and festival performances will be streamed online September 28 through October 3, IBMA organizers said in a news release. There is a possibility the events will go beyond those dates.
“While we all would love to gather in Raleigh this year for IBMA World of Bluegrass, the extraordinary circumstances made this decision necessary,” said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA. “Maintaining the health and safety of the large crowd we enjoy each year would be such an enormous, uncertain, and risky proposition.”
IBMA organizers said there are discussions to keep the event in Raleigh beyond 2021 as well.
According to a news release, all parties involved with IBMA World of Bluegrass would like to keep the IBMA and the City of Raleigh partnership 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.”
The IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 event has four events: the IBMA Business Conference, IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of band showcases, the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards, and music festival IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC.
Music fans will have access to free live streaming of the four events as well as on-demand sessions and performances.
According to a news release from Visit Raleigh, since IBMA World of Bluegrass moved to Raleigh in 2013, attendance has grown by more than 50 percent. Throughout the last seven years, the event has brought in more than 1.2 million total attendees and generated more than $80 million in direct economic impact throughout Wake County.