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Raleigh, NC to Become the New World of Bluegrass

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IBMA LogoThe city of Raleigh, North Carolina will become the new host for at least three years to the main event for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Raleigh will host the "World of Bluegrass" trade show, convention, awards show and fan fest programs of the IBMA with a three year committment. Formal announcement will take place later today.

The association recently appointed a Raleigh representative to their board of directors when William Lewis, Executive Director of PineCone gained his position. The news is interesting in both timing and this appointment. According to the IBMA, William Lewis grew up in the farming community of Wrayswood, Georgia, and moved to North Carolina in 1998 to attend Appalachian State University for an undergraduate degree (Anthropology) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a master’s degree (Folklore). Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of PineCone – the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc. ( Many IBMA members will be familiar with William’s predecessor, Leadership Bluegrass alumnae Susan Newberry, who he worked with four years prior to her retirement.

Nashville has been a thorn for many of the IBMA's members. Many don't like the high cost and other characteristics of the Nashville music scene when associated with bluegrass. The move to Nashville has been an on-again, off-again, love-hate relationship since it it took place. This move away from Music City will certainly appeal to many of the membership.

While farther away from the west coast and central parts of America, the move reflects the desire to relocate the centerpiece show of the IBMA. The move to North Carolina certainly brings the event closer to home for many. While there is a large contingent of members and non-members that would desire to see the location become Louisville, Kentucky, this move may be an acceptable alternative -- at least for three years when the association will again visit the location issue.

The Appalachian region, including North Carolina, is host to the roots of bluegrass and related genres of music. Many top bluegrass artists are frequently performing in the area and some are even from the area. Bluegrass and Raleigh have a long, established, relationship. It was time for a new venue and this may be just what the IBMA needs to get things off to a running start again.

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