Behind the Scenes at International Bluegrass, Nov. 2012

With Alan Tompkins, Leadership Bluegrass 2013 Planning Committee Chairperson

With the application deadline of November 15 fast approaching, you’ll probably be hearing quite a bit about Leadership Bluegrass 2013 from your well-connected bluegrass friends. If you’re an LBG alumnus, you already know what a great career-enhancing experience Leadership Bluegrass can be. And if you’re thinking of applying, step up and get busy! It’s one of the most enjoyable and beneficial educational experiences centered on bluegrass music that you could possibly hope to find.

So what is Leadership Bluegrass, anyway? It’s a three-day program (scheduled for March 7-9, 2013 at BMI in Nashville) designed to bring together a diverse cross-section of people with a wide range of perspectives on the bluegrass industry for a group educational experience. This is the place for people who have demonstrated, or are highly motivated to demonstrate, leadership in one or more areas of the bluegrass community. Each class includes a geographically diverse group of participants, and applicants are carefully selected so that each class has a full representation of students from all of the functional areas of our industry – artists, composers, publishers, record labels, publishers, broadcasters, luthiers, publicists, managers, agents, event producers, and more.

And what might you expect to learn? Plenty! One of the event’s most interesting activities is a systematic review of the business of blue­grass and its various institutions and organizations – with detailed discussions of needs, problems, and resources. The perspectives you bring to the table provide insights to your classmates. Because each class is unique, each discussion is unique.

You definitely won’t get bored with the range of topics covered at Leadership Bluegrass! Each year, classes hear from industry leaders on a long list of diverse topics, such as the study and application of leadership principles; entrepreneurship; profiles of bluegrass music consumers, the development of an artist’s career; copyright law; trends in the presentation of live music; the latest techniques for digital distribution; the use of social media to add fans and increase attendance at events; and much more. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to participate in discussions in small-group settings with a variety of leaders and notable figures in our industry. The class of 2012, for example, got to know a number of prom­inent bluegrass personalities, including Greg Cahill, Sam Bush, Steve Huber, Sam Passamano Jr., Jon Weisberger, Alison Brown, Garry West, Stephanie Taylor, Ben Surratt, Missy Raines, Ryan DeRose, Craig Havighurst, Frank Solivan, Gabrielle Gray, Todd Mayo, John Walker, Mike Drudge, and many others.

Naturally, you’ll make a lot of new friends over the three days of the event, and many will become new friends and professional contacts. An expanded network is one of the most valuable things you’ll gain from the experience!

Complete and submit your application (visit for the PDF) and do remember that the selection committee tries to include participants with a wide range of industry perspectives in each class, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t picked the first year you apply – or even the second or third. It may take you a few tries to get in, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.

If you want to become more effective at managing your corner of the bluegrass world, Leadership Bluegrass is the place to be. Apply today!

Deadline for 2013 Leadership Bluegrass Applications: November 15