IBMA Announces 2017 Awards Show Hosts

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn Announced as Hosts
For the 28th International Bluegrass Music Awards

Theme for the Awards Show is “The Bluegrass Songbook”
Nashville, TN – 16-time Grammy-winning banjoist Béla Fleck and old-time-meets-Far-East banjoist Abigail Washburn will host the IBMA's 28th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, scheduled for September 28 at Raleigh, North Carolina’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Known as bluegrass music’s biggest night, the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show acknowledges the year’s outstanding achievements, honors new Hall of Fame inductees, and waves the worldwide flag for bluegrass music.
The International Bluegrass Music Awards is part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass, brought to you by Chiesi USA, which takes place September 26 – 30 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Paul Schiminger, executive director of the IBMA says of this event, “The annual IBMA Awards Show is truly the biggest night in bluegrass music.  The unforgettable moments, the unique and incredible performances, and the overwhelming feeling of community, make this a must-attend event for both bluegrass professionals and fans. And, having Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn as hosts will send this one way over the top.  I can’t wait!” Fleck and Washburn add, “We are thrilled to be the hosts of the 2017 IBMA Awards, celebrating the bluegrass canon!"
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn have delighted audiences the world over. Few have done more to raise the stature of banjo than Béla Fleck, or had more fun doing it. Fleck has immersed himself in the work of bluegrass icons Earl Scruggs and J.D. Crowe, helped define a new genre with New Grass Revival, followed the banjo’s roots back to Africa, and sought out every new frontier with his cornerstone band, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and in recordings with jazz greats like Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner. Partner Abigail Washburn shares Fleck’s adventurous spirit, delving into Appalachian music with string band Uncle Earl, and heading East to build bridges between Chinese and American musical roots. Washburn has the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter, winning critical acclaim for her solo albums. Together, Fleck’s and Washburn’s self-titled duo album took home last year’s folk album GRAMMY.
The Awards Show’s theme this year is The Bluegrass Songbook, referring not to a published work, but to the body of music all bluegrass players have in common around the world. This shared repertoire has allowed generations of musicians - from casual front porch pickers to hard-working Hall of Famers – to spend hours making music together with perfect strangers. In fact, Béla Fleck met Abigail Washburn through this shared music at a square dance. They began collaborating musically and, in time, fell in love—thanks in part to the Bluegrass Songbook.
“The 2017 IBMA Awards Show will pay homage to this great body of music,” says Amy Reitnouer, who returns as executive producer of the show, “by gathering unlikely artistic combinations around the familiar tunes of the Bluegrass Songbook – bridging across generations, styles, backgrounds, and geographic boundaries, bringing life to the ‘I’ in the organization’s name and honoring the writers and musicians who paved the way for today’s vibrant, interconnected bluegrass community.”
Information about the 28th IBMA Awards Show, including ticket availability, can be found at
More info about World of Bluegrass and the Wide Open Festival
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, brought to you by Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming, encompassing four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 26-28; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases taking place September 26-28 in downtown Raleigh; the 28th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 28; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 29-30, a two-day festival. The ticketed Wide Open Main Stage features the best of the best in bluegrass today, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a charitable fund that helps bluegrass professionals in dire need. The free Wide Open StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces the music to thousands of new fans every year.

As in years past, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $11.5 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 217,225 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year run in Raleigh is the product of their successful partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.