Additional information, including education sessions and official showcases, outlined for the three-day business conference

Conference and Ramble tickets, schedules available at


Nashville, TN, Sept 16, 2021 – The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member Dudley Connell will deliver the Keynote Address at this year’s IBMA Business Conference, Tuesday, September 28, at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, NC. The Keynote kicks off the week-long annual IBMA World of Bluegrass taking place Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

In his scheduled address, “The New Abnormal, or How To Survive in the Music Business During a Worldwide Pandemic,” the renowned vocalist will explore the many ways in which we – as individuals and as a community – have responded to the drastic changes in our industry over the past year and which new skills will stand the test of time as we look forward to a new landscape.

As founding member of the Johnson Mountain Boys (2020 Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Inductee) and mainstay in seminal groups like Longview and Seldom Scene, Connell has earned his place as a household name in the bluegrass genre. In addition to his storied career as a singer, which gained him an IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year award in 2000, he is an Audio Archivist for the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

Connell’s keynote will establish this year’s conference theme, Refocus, Reconnect, Reimagine. Challenge becomes opportunity, and IBMA World of Bluegrass 2021 will provide a stage for embracing it. Following the Keynote, the IBMA World of Bluegrass Kickoff Party will take place at 6pm ET at the Lincoln Theatre with a performance by Album of the Year nominee the Becky Buller Band.

Conference attendees can expect to take part in annual favorites like the exhibit hall, professional development sessions, and networking opportunities including the Gig Fair, an information exchange set in a speed-dating format for talent buyers and artists. The IBMA Industry Luncheon on Thursday will feature Distinguished Achievement Award presentations and a performance by Gospel Recording of the Year nominee Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers. A full schedule of conference sessions and events can be found at

A full schedule has also been announced for the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative showcase series taking place Sept. 28-30 in clubs throughout downtown Raleigh. Ramble venues include the Architect Bar & Social House, Lincoln Theatre, Pour House Music Hall, Vintage Church, and two stages in the Raleigh Convention Center. Details can be found at

In addition to in-person registration and ticketing, the Keynote and Ramble, along with all conference sessions, awards programming, and select music performances, will be available online through Swapcard, the event’s official virtual platform. “We take great pride in our event serving as the annual reunion for the bluegrass community. We learned the potential of Swapcard’s platform last year and see 2021 as a golden opportunity to harmoniously combine its features with in-person events to bring the IBMA World of Bluegrass experience to everyone,” says Casey Campbell, IBMA Communications Director.

In-person and virtual registration is on sale now. Virtual attendees have the option of a Virtual Music Pass (free with donation), Virtual Conference Pass (starting at $99), or Virtual Exhibitor Pass ($299). In-person conference registrants automatically receive the Virtual Conference Pass – including all content in the Virtual Music Pass. Those wishing to participate in the IBMA Business Conference can register at Tickets for the IBMA  Bluegrass Music Awards presented by Yamaha and IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC can also be found on the site.

Volunteer for IBMA Business Conference and other World of Bluegrass events:

Learn more about accessibility efforts that are part of the whole World of Bluegrass, including the IBMA Business Conference and IBMA Bluegrass Ramble:

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