RALEIGH— The International Bluegrass Music Association announced they are looking for a new home for the World of Bluegrass convention and festival.
The festival came to Raleigh in 2013 from Nashville and is considered the largest urban bluegrass festival in the world. The announcement comes as this year’s event is underway, culminating with an awards ceremony this weekend.
Paul Schiminger, the IBMA’s Executive Director, says the decision is not a reflection on Raleigh, but a desire for the organization to expand the reach of bluegrass.
“It’s been nothing but great here in Raleigh. We love the city and the partners and everything, but I think its one of those things where it’s always good to take your event into other cities as well.” said Schiminger.
The event has pumped some $88 million dollars into the greater-Raleigh area over its run. Since expanding the festival in 2016 to include ticketed and free stages throughout Fayetteville street in downtown Raleigh, attendee growth climbed to over 200,000 people for the event.
“We’ve driven some economic development, had large crowds listening to bluegrass music, and it’s time to take that to another location so we can reach new people.” said Schiminger.
Schiminger says IBMA has not decided yet what city will be hosting the event.
“We have a search committee for the board that is underway looking for cities, talking to cities, and we hope by the end of this year that should be finalized.” said Schiminger.
Plans are in the works for a new music festival to be introduced in 2025. The new Americana music festival will be a collaborative effort between Visit Raleigh, PineCone, and the Raleigh Convention Center. PineCone, a local non-profit, will take the reins, having managed the downtown bluegrass festival since its Raleigh debut in 2013.