World of Bluegrass 2013 – It’s the Banjo Apocalypse

Clawhammer or Scruggs?
Clawhammer or Scruggs?

It’s hosted by the Bluegrass industry’s professional organization, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) based out of, you guessed it, Nashville, TN. The IBMA is a membership based organization dedicated to the preservation and education of traditional bluegrass.

Why does it matter? The Triangle’s music standard is all things roots based but independent and alternative. We like installing pickups in our fiddles and banjos. We prefer vocal microphones for each singer.  We love our wah wah pedal slide mando playing. We don’t like dressing up like a bunch of Elvis’ with cowboy hats. Well, actually that is probably not true. We probably do and would.

It matters because I once heard Phillip Glass explain that what he hears as alternative music is not based on actually knowing the fundamentals and expanding from that. I do believe we are an important contributor, if not THE center of the independent roots music scene, but drinking from some of the original fountain of our shared heritage is good.  As alternative artists or fans of alternative music, I think it’s good to listen to the traditional arrangements of a contemporary song. If anything, one can appreciate how the song has evolved from its original form.

Besides, there is nothing more exciting (to me) than to see the sweat bead from the sound engineer who is mixing 12 instrument mics and one vocal multi-pattern condenser microphone on the stage while the artists weave in and out to and from the mic. Will there be feedback? NO! They are pros.

There is a lot of tuning and retuning, though. Silly clean jokes in between songs. You have been warned.

Maybe it’s not possible to travel to Nashville to the Grand Ole Opry, Merlefest, or Floydfest. If you have never been to a bluegrass jam or the picking tent at Merlefest, it’s pretty exciting to see local musicians, national stars, and a fearless kid jam together. You’ll see that out and about as you ramble around because Bluegrass, like the Blues, is just as much about sharing as it is hot dogging.

There are several events going on within World of Bluegrass Week 2013.

  1. Bluegrass Ramble: Ticketed event with official talent showcases
  2. Business Conference: Ticketed event of industry related workshops and vendors.
  3. Main Stage Shows: Local, regional, and national acts, especially Sam Bush
  4. IBMA Awards: Ticketed event including nomination for song of the year co-written by local Joe Newberr
  5. Streetfest is the free show.

Raleigh is just up the road a spell. Parking is easy. Music is everywhere. Banjos abound.

Get you some.


Bluegrass Nation:  
Bluegrass Country:

Ticketed Events:               (Check to see if any tickets are left)
Main Stage Events:
Bluegrass Ramble:  
IBMA Awards:         
IBMA Award Nominees:
Free Events:

Wide Open Bluegrass
WOB Schedule        

Next Post…But GR8! Who should I see during WOB?


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