Rhiannon Giddens Announced as Keynote Speaker for World of Bluegrass Business Conference 2017

2016 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo Recipient Rhiannon Giddens to Deliver Keynote Address at IBMA Business Conference on September 26 in Raleigh, North Carolina
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that Rhiannon Giddens, Co-Founder of Carolina Chocolate Drops, 2016 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo recipient and GRAMMY nominee, will deliver the Keynote Address at this year’s  Business ConferenceTuesday, September 26, at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh. Giddens’ album “Freedom Highway” was released earlier this year to critical acclaim, and last year she was awarded the BBC2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year.
Giddens came to prominence with the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, playing banjo and fiddle.  Giddens’ 2014 Grammy nominated solo debut, “Tomorrow Is My Turn,” blends gospel, jazz, blues, and country, and showcases her dazzling vocal prowess. She performed at the Obama White House, and duets with country star Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism hit "Kill a Word." Giddens also has a recurring role on the recently revived television drama Nashville.
The impressive arc of Rhiannon Giddens’ old-time music career, her knowledge of and contributions to American roots music, and her ability to introduce new audiences to ancient tones place her in a unique position to offer insights into the music industry. She shares, as well, the archetypal path followed by so many in our community: she learned bluegrass from an early age from family members who were bluegrass musicians.
“We are thrilled and honored that Rhiannon Giddens will be this year’s Keynote Speaker to kick off the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass,” notes IBMA executive director Paul Schiminger. “Rhiannon has embodied this year’s Business Conference theme of Community and Connection throughout her life and musical career.  Having grown up in a household filled with bluegrass music and then trained in classical voice, she has drawn upon this early foundation to form a creative musical journey. Rhiannon has achieved both critical acclaim and great career success by merging elements of old-time, folk, jazz, country, and bluegrass to reach whole new audiences. Her passion for American roots music, along with her thoughtful and purposeful career, provides each of us a lens through which we can see beyond our own barriers.” 
The Keynote Address, a gathering that attracts a significant representation of the bluegrass industry’s professionals, is held the first night of IBMA’s 2017 World of Bluegrass Business Conference, and sets the tone for the week’s endeavors. This year’s conference theme, Community and Connection, holds particular relevance in bluegrass circles. Professionals and fans of bluegrass music have created a community reaching across great distances, generations, and other divides, real or imagined. Passion for a shared musical language connects old friends, new acquaintances, and strangers alike. Tunes and songs have flowed back and forth across the boundaries between genres—making clear the connections shared with folk, blues, old-time, rock and roll, and more. This constant stream has worn thin the barriers, simultaneously drawing bluegrass closer to its musical cousins while extending its reach. Across the campfire, the classroom, the boardroom, the stage, and even the globe, differences are dwarfed by the love of bluegrass music, and a dedication as artists and professionals to seeing it grow. When voices blend and work together, the bluegrass community is the force that moves the music forward artistically and powers the growth of the industry.
Seminars and professional development opportunities during the World of Bluegrass Business will include: Accessibility at Festivals, Pandora’s Artist Tools, Current Digital Formats, The Recording Cycle, Event Marketing, Inclusivity Round Table, Work Visas and Performing Internationally, Inside the Recording Release Cycle, Promoting Yourself, Artist Endorsements, Voice Health/Coaching, Publishing, The Essence of Good Songwriting, DJ/Label Relations, Royalties and Airplay for Broadcasters, One-on-One Songwriter Mentor Sessions, with more seminars to be announced. In addition, conference attendees can choose focused content tracks with special events for Talent Buyers, Songwriters, CLE and, all new this year, Broadcasters. IBMA’s very popular Gig Fair (in effect, speed-dating for artists and event producers) returns, along with DJ Taping Sessions; Song Circles; Networking Receptions; and Showcases. IBMA’s Momentum and Special Awards luncheons, honoring excellence in the field of bluegrass, will be held Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.    
Those wishing to attend the World of Bluegrass Business Conference can purchase a pass at  www.ibma.org or by calling 1-800-514-3849. First-time conference attendees receive a $25 discount.  IBMA Awards Show  tickets, Wide Open Bluegrass Main Stage tickets, and hotel reservation info can also be found on the site.
More info about World of Bluegrass and the Wide Open Festival
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, whose principal sponsor is Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention. World of Bluegrass encompasses 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 and at the Raleigh Convention Center; 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 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists bluegrass professionals during financial emergencies. 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 events 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.

Chiesi USA, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to research, development, and commercialization of innovative products in the areas of cardiovascular, neonatology, respiratory, rare disease and special care therapeutics. Our primary focus is on people: the people we serve in the healthcare community; the people whose lives are touched by our products and services; and the people who work at Chiesi USA, as they strive to build their company, their family and their community. Chiesi USA, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A.
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.