IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2014 Attendance Figure Exceeds 180,000

October 21, 2014

Nashville, TN —The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass event, September 30-October 4, continued its successful run in Raleigh, North Carolina. As detailed in a release today from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, preliminary attendance figures for the entire week, which include both local and out-of-town attendees, is estimated to be more than 180,000 people. The release also states that direct visitor spending is estimated at $10.8 million for the entire World of Bluegrass event. 

The 2014 attendance number, as well as the direct visitor spending number, is based on attendance at the three-day IBMA Business Conference, the 25th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, the Bluegrass Ramble evening showcases on eight stages over three nights, the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival, and the free-to-the-public weekend Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, which partnered with the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue State Championships. Combined, these events brought approximately 88,000 visitors from outside of North Carolina’s Wake County to the area, generating approximately 23,000 hotel room-nights.

"Overall attendance at World of Bluegrass 2014 exceeded our expectations," said IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell, "and we couldn't be more pleased with the hospitality and support from the Raleigh community and everyone working behind the scenes for our second fabulous and wide-open year in Raleigh, North Carolina. Members who were not able to attend in 2013 came this year and were overwhelmed with everything Raleigh has to offer, as well as how the entire week of IBMA events have evolved. More people in the region came out to check out bluegrass music at the Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, which helps IBMA reach the goal of introducing some of the best music in the world to new audiences.”

“My compliments and appreciation to Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Loren Gold at the GRCVB, Laurie Okun at the Raleigh Convention Center, William Lewis and staff at PineCone, our Local Organizing Committee, and everyone on the Raleigh team working together with IBMA to make World of Bluegrass a resounding success through 2018, and perhaps beyond."

A more detailed look at the World of Bluegrass attendance numbers:
- 171,580 people attended Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC
- 2,065 music fans attended the IBMA Awards Show Oct. 2
- 3,796 (cumulative) attendees were part of the IBMA Business Conference over its three days
- 3,390 fans (cumulative) attended the Bluegrass Ramble showcases.

In addition to the visitor spending, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass also produced $3.6 million in media value for Greater Raleigh. This figure was researched and calculated by Meltwater News, a division of the San Francisco-based monitoring and analytics firm Meltwater Group. Meltwater used readership data from Nielsen to compute the $3.6 million media value for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, based on domestic and international media impressions from a variety of mediums.

Several aspects of IBMA’s Business Conference were noteworthy: the inaugural year for the Talent Buyers Focus got off to a great start, with 65 in attendance at the first Agent Pitching Session. There were 600 appointments at The Gig Fair, and more than 200 attendees at the Agents & Talent Buyers Reception. 

Additionally, The Bluegrass Expo, considered the world’s largest bluegrass industry and acoustic music trade show, grew to 112 exhibitors this year.  Attendance at the 2014 Bluegrass Expo was exceptional, with at least 13,000 visitors estimated during the Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, when attendance at the Expo was free and open to the public. The first IBMA Film Festival was also very well received, with favorable reviews from both bluegrass fans and film aficionados.

World of Bluegrass 2014 was made possible by the kind support of the following sponsors:

IBMA BUSINESS CONFERENCE: Bluegrass Unlimited (national sponsor), AirPlay Direct, AristWorksBandzoogle, Boston Bluegrass Union, Fishman, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Homespun Tapes, Lagunitas Beer, Martin Guitars, Mast Farm Inn, Morgan Stanley, Quicksilver Productions, SESAC, SteelBridge Insurance, Touchstone Essentials, and a number of Bluegrass Ramble co-sponsors.

IBMA AWARDS SHOW: BMI, Bluegrass Today, Compass Records, Deering Banjos, International Bluegrass Music Museum, Mountain Home Music, Music City Roots, John Pearse Strings and Yep Roc.

WIDE OPEN BLUEGRASS: PNC (presenting sponsor), D'Addario Strings (national sponsor), Crabtree Valley Mall (main stage sponsor), Knee-Deep in Bluegrass, the North Carolina Arts Council and Smith Anderson.

WEEK-LONG SUPPORT: PineCone-Piedmont Council of Traditional Music; the Raleigh Convention Center (including the staff at the RCC, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Red Hat Amphitheater); the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau; and the City of Raleigh.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

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Press Info      

Judy McDonough, JEMMedia
mcdonoughmedia1@yahoo.com (615) 243-5994

General Info

Taylor Coughlin, IBMA
taylor@ibma.org (615) 256-3222