IBMA World of Bluegrass, Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, will require proof of vaccination and indoor masking for events requiring registration and ticketing 

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NASHVILLE (August 17, 2021) — IBMA World of Bluegrass 2021, which will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina Sept. 28-Oct. 2, has updated health and safety protocol requirements for attendees.

In the interest of safety and a rapidly changing health environment for all the attendees, volunteers, and artists, the International Bluegrass Music Association Board of Directors has unanimously approved changes to the health and safety protocols for the event. This year, attendance and participation in all registered and ticketed IBMA World of Bluegrass activities will now require proof of vaccination; masks will also be required for all indoor activities. In addition to the changes approved by the IBMA Board, the mayor of Raleigh, NC, issued an emergency proclamation on August 13 requiring people to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces and businesses.

  • Proof of vaccination (without exceptions) will be required for attendance at any IBMA World of Bluegrass activity requiring registration and ticketing: the IBMA Business Conference, the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcase series, the 32nd Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards presented by Yamaha, and the main stage at the Red Hat Amphitheater for IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. As in years past, IBMA World of Bluegrass indoor events will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and at various venues downtown.
  • Masks will also be required at all indoor activities during IBMAWOB.
  • Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination upon check-in to the event and issued a wristband that must be worn at all IBMAWOB events.
  • Anyone who has already purchased registration or tickets but prefers not to participate in the updated health protocols for the 2021 event will be given a choice with our updated refund policy, which will be available online at

“As live bluegrass music begins to re-emerge, our emphasis on a safe return cannot be understated,” said Mike Simpson, IBMA’s Board Chair. “We have been closely monitoring safety guidelines, and in the interest of everyone’s safety, our Board of Directors has taken the unanimous position that participation in this year’s World of Bluegrass begins and ends with safety – requiring proof of vaccination and indoor mask wearing. I am pleased to say that our discussions were strikingly non-political and focused purely on the best safety measures that we could take for all involved.”

“Our internal surveys – conducted in both March and July – found that more than 90% of respondents planning to attend this year’s World of Bluegrass also planned to be fully vaccinated before getting to Raleigh,” said Pat Morris, IBMA’s Executive Director. “We have been working diligently with our partners in Raleigh to bring the community together for an unmatched bluegrass experience in a safe environment, and the health and safety of our attendees is our number one priority. Some of the changes we have already made include planning for less crowding in the Raleigh Convention Center and Red Hat Amphitheater; streamlined scheduling, larger conference session spaces, and careful consideration of bottleneck areas.”

“For those not able to attend in person, we will be streaming select content throughout the week on Swapcard. Virtual attendees will have access to the virtual exhibit hall, conference sessions, music performances, and more,” said Morris. Details for virtual tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The past 18 months have been so hard on all of us – and I know everyone missed getting together as a community, in person, for IBMA World of Bluegrass in 2020. I’m glad that we’ve found a way to safely gather back in Raleigh this fall; it will uplift music fans and musicians,” said Tim Stafford of Blue Highway. “As a performing artist and new IBMA Board Member, I am grateful that we have taken important extra measures to allow us to once again make and celebrate live music in a safe environment.”

“IBMA World of Bluegrass is the flagship event for our entire bluegrass community, bringing together fans and professionals from around the world to breathe life into the music scene we all love so much” added Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters and an IBMA Board Member. “I’m proud of IBMA for taking much needed steps to ensure that we can gather safely this fall in Raleigh to celebrate and grow bluegrass. Let’s look after each other and the music we love. Can’t wait to see you all in Raleigh!”

“IBMA and our Raleigh partners will continue to analyze, update, and adjust health and safety measures for all aspects of IBMA World of Bluegrass in the coming weeks,” said Morris. Updates will be shared through the IBMA mailing list, social media, and

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IBMA World of Bluegrass is the most important week in bluegrass! The week encompasses four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 28-30; the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases taking place September 28-30 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center; the 32nd Annual IBMA Music Awards presented by Yamaha, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 30; and IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, October 1-2, a two-day festival. IBMA Bluegrass Live! features the best of the best in bluegrass today, benefiting the IBMA Trust Fund—a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists bluegrass professionals during financial emergencies—and introducing the music to thousands of new fans every year.

IBMA the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the non-profit music association that connects, educates, and empowers bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honoring tradition and encouraging innovation in the bluegrass community worldwide.

PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, is the largest, most active presenter of home-grown music in the state. Since 2013, PineCone has served as the official Local Host organization for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and its World of Bluegrass events, and as the producers of the two-day IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. Founded in 1984 with a mission to preserve, present and promote all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts, PineCone programs highlight and celebrate the rich and diverse musical heritage of Raleigh and the greater Piedmont region by focusing on music traditions that have been passed down informally through generations within our various cultural communities. PineCone presents more than 200 programs annually, including concerts, youth programs, participatory jams and sessions, workshops, documentary projects, a weekly radio show and more.

Raleigh Convention and Performing Arts Complex — The Raleigh Convention & Performing Arts Complex is home to four pristine venues in Raleigh, North Carolina. Owned and operated by the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and Red Hat Amphitheater are located within a two-block radius in the heart of Downtown Raleigh and welcome approximately one million visitors annually. Nearby, the City of Raleigh-owned Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek welcomes roughly 300,000 people each season.

Set amongst the backdrop of our Capitol, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts has stood as a historic and cultural focal point in Downtown Raleigh since 1932. It has played host to Broadway classics, rock legends and major political figures while maintaining an emphasis on education of the arts and artists housed within Raleigh’s community. With four separate event spaces available, the breadth and depth of events past, present and future has made this Raleigh’s Premier Arts Venue.

Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh) — As the official destination marketing organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provide opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 18 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.9 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 28,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $284 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $727 in taxes annually.

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit

Yamaha began manufacturing classical guitars in the early 1940s, expanding to steel-string acoustic guitars by 1966, the year in which they began distributing guitars internationally. The master luthiers at the Yamaha Custom Shop, located in Los Angeles, CA, also design and build some of the world’s finest acoustic guitars for Yamaha artists. Yamaha is delighted to participate in the 2021 IBMA World of Bluegrass event.

The City of Raleigh — The City of Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, home to several colleges and universities, with a vibrant performing arts community. Fueled by an impressive mix of education, ingenuity and collaboration, North Carolina’s capital city has become an internationally recognized leader in life science and technology innovation.

Press Inquiries:
Judy McDonough, Karen Campbell Media
[email protected]
(615) 243-5994

General Info:
Casey Campbell, IBMA
[email protected]
(615) 256-3222

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