New Horizons for IBMA World of Bluegrass and Raleigh in 2025

IBMA and Raleigh to Build on Their Success to Launch Reimagined Events

Raleigh, N.C. (Sept. 27, 2023) – The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and the City of Raleigh announced their mutual intention to build on their partnership success of IBMA World of Bluegrass since 2013 to head in new directions beginning in 2025:

  • A huge festival will remain in Raleigh and expand its cultural scope. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC)—made up of Visit Raleigh, PineCone and the Raleigh Convention Center— intends to bring a new signature event with a wide range of roots and Americana-style music to downtown Raleigh starting in 2025. The new festival will be run by PineCone, the Raleigh based non-profit that has booked and produced the downtown bluegrass festival since it arrived in 2013.
  • The IBMA’s Board of Directors has a site search underway and plans to announce a new host city by the end of the year. IBMA World of Bluegrass consists of a week of events: a Business Conference and Expo Hall, the Bluegrass Ramble for band showcasing in various music venues, the Bluegrass Music Awards Show, Industry and Momentum Awards programs and IBMA Bluegrass Live! – a two-day festival with multiple stages featuring top bluegrass music artists and collaborations.

“Raleigh has been the fourth and most successful home for IBMA World of Bluegrass,” said Paul Schiminger, the IBMA’s Executive Director during most of the event’s tenure in Raleigh. “In seeking to attract our organization to Raleigh in 2013, the city worked closely to partner with the IBMA to expand the association’s long-standing festival into a new model which included both ticketed and free stages in the downtown corridor. The success of this model was evident in the growth of attendees to over 200,000 people enjoying bluegrass music in each of the years from 2016 to 2019.”

IBMA World of Bluegrass has generated more than $88 million in direct economic impact for the greater Raleigh area since 2013.

Loren Gold, Executive Vice President of Visit Raleigh, has served as one of the tri-chairs of the LOC since it was formed. Gold said, “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with IBMA over the last 10+ years and wish them well in their new home. The weekend festival has always been an activation of the LOC in partnership with the IBMA, so we’re excited to put all we have learned over this past decade together to create a new homegrown festival. We’re going to work with our local partners to reimagine a new festival. It’s going to keep growing and getting even better.”

“The festival will certainly include bluegrass but will be much more culturally expansive,” said David Brower, PineCone Executive Director. “Gospel, funk, blues and old time are deeply rooted in this community and a whole lot of fun! We want to make sure this new festival both looks and sounds like Raleigh.”

“We appreciate the strong partnership with the City of Raleigh, Wake County, PineCone and the entire community for these 11 years,” says Dan Boner, IBMA Board Chair, “and we look forward to being here through 2024. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship for the IBMA and the City of Raleigh. Our decision is a mission-driven one to move our unparalleled week of bluegrass music to other communities to build and serve new audiences just as we have in the past.”

“We are excited for the future of the IBMA and the future of Raleigh,” said Schiminger. “We look forward to a huge celebration of bluegrass in Raleigh this year and then in 2024 under IBMA’s new Executive Director, Ken White, who takes over in October. From there, we will build on the success created by this partnership to spread bluegrass in another location while knowing the city of Raleigh will carry on the tradition of our festival by putting their creative ideas to work in launching a terrific roots music festival of their own.”

“While it is always sad to see a wonderful era end, we eagerly anticipate what our great city has planned for 2025 and beyond,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “We’re grateful to our friends at the IBMA for expanding the roots and branches of bluegrass in Raleigh, and I look forward to a reimagined festival run by PineCone, with a continued focus on diversity and inclusion.”

About the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA):
From its founding in 1985, the IBMA has been the non-profit music association that educates, connects, and empowers bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honoring tradition and encouraging innovation in the bluegrass music community worldwide. It is  a member-based 501(c)(3) association that has created numerous other non-profit organizations over the years to serve the bluegrass community: the independently run Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum  to preserve and celebrate the legacy of bluegrass music; the IBMA Trust Fund to assist bluegrass professionals in times of emergency financial need, and the IBMA Foundation to help individuals, organizations, foundations, and corporations work together in supporting the future of bluegrass music.

About the 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 provides opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 18 million visitors annually whose spending tops $3 billion. The visitor economy supports over 24,500 local jobs in Wake County and generates $287 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $601 in taxes annually.

About the Raleigh Convention Center:

Raleigh Convention Center boasts 500,000 bright and airy square feet of LEED Silver-certified meeting space conveniently located in Downtown Raleigh, steps from the region’s most popular cultural and culinary attractions. An industry leader in sustainable, accessible, and inclusive guest services and practices, the center offers robust tech amenities (including a dedicated IT team), expansive catering options featuring locally sourced ingredients, and GBAC STAR-certified cleaning and sanitization.

Raleigh Convention Center has been awarded the IAVM Education and Service Award, the VenuesNow Excellence in Concessions Award, and the EXHIBITOR Magazine Centers of Excellence Award for four consecutive years.

Along with sister venues Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts, Red Hat Amphitheater, and the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Raleigh Convention Center is proud to belong to the City of Raleigh’s Convention and Performing Arts Complex. The Complex is Raleigh’s premier portfolio of convention and entertainment venues with over 1.3 million guests annually.

About PineCone:

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.

Media Contacts:

[email protected]

Visit Raleigh

Jessica Holt, Director of Public Relations

919.614.2895/[email protected]

Raleigh Convention Center

Mary Deifer, Marketing Manager
[email protected]

PineCone – Piedmont Council of Traditional Music

David Bower, Executive Director

[email protected]

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