Three Organizations We’re Proud to Be Part Of

ibma.jpg

IBMA

What it is:

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) is the trade association that connects and educates bluegrass professionals, empowers the bluegrass community, and encourages worldwide appreciation of bluegrass music of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

What we love:

If you’re involved in bluegrass music in any way, you’ve probably at least heard of IBMA, if you haven’t attended the annual conference (our favorite part!). The last few years have been in Raleigh, NC (formerly Nashville, TN) – where entire streets shut down to accommodate everyone attending. We come from Denver, CO every year to be a part of it.

Each year, IBMA showcases upcoming musicians, puts on concerts with huge names like Allison Krauss and the Punch Brothers, and gives people from all over the world a chance to come together and play music. There’s also workshops from renowned musicians and pickers who lead sessions of all sorts. Attendees benefit from learning new techniques, style, composition methods, and other skills they couldn’t learn elsewhere.

One year, we attended a harmony workshop and picked up some tricks for vocal warmup that we still use today. IBMA is also a huge proponent of bringing bluegrass and folk music into public education, which is important in keeping the genre alive.

Why we’re members:

Well first off – to support the community both in backing and through financial support. The modest amount we contribute to be IBMA members pays for itself in that we get the opportunity to be a part of something we’re passionate about that contributes to the community as a whole, and brings people together. We’re not sure you can put a price on that.

CBMS

What it is:

colorado bluegrass music society

The Colorado Bluegrass Music Society [CBMS] promotes and supports the development, performance, and preservation of bluegrass music in the communities of Colorado. CBMS supports a vigorous social network among its members, and represents a powerful voice as well as an information resource for bluegrass music through its web site, its print newsletter and its support of music festivals, concerts, jams, educational programs, and partnerships everywhere in Colorado, including Denver.

What we love:

CBMS is a little old school, and that’s what we love. The local bluegrass music associations that were around when our parents were just learning to play have mostly died out in recent years, but CBMS is still alive and kicking. Aside from nostalgia, CBMS works very hard to tie every separate entity in the state together under one umbrella, no easy feat.

While older methods of getting in touch like newspapers and mailers are few and far between, CBMS still puts out a pretty substantial newspaper every two months, which is mailed to every picker in the state. And it’s filled with information that you couldn’t find in one source, anywhere else.

The Colorado Bluegrass Music Society also puts on concert series and events around the state for bluegrass fans to enjoy – something we’re regular attendees of. There’s also jams, educational programs, and festivals that while you may not know it, CBMS is working hard behind the scenes to make them happen.

Why we’re members:

As Coloradans and community members, it just makes sense to us that when something like this is in your backyard, you support it. Joining is simple, and the fees are affordable. You also receive the newspaper we mentioned in the mail, in addition to a robust social community that is nothing but supportive of bluegrass music and its musicians, of all abilities. There’s nothing more inclusive that we’ve found, and everyone we’ve met has been so friendly. This one was a no-brainer for us.

Festivarian

What it is:

festivarian logo

The Festivarian Forum is run and moderated by the Planet Bluegrass community. While it’s not a true membership organization per say, it’s a pretty amazing forum built for and by members of the bluegrass public. It used to be run via Yahoo Groups, but years ago, the mods and the community developed their own platform and migrated it here. Planet Bluegrass also runs the major festivals Telluride, Rocky Grass, and Wildflower, among several others here in Colorado.

What we love:

While you can’t “join” officially or pay dues, the forum is the place to discuss tickets, rides, lineups, tape trades, festival on goings. If you’re looking to buy, sell, or just get an opinion on an instrument, you can do that here too. It’s a one-stop-shop for bluegrass music no matter where you are in the world. And from Denver, it’s a way to jump into a community that spans the rest of the world.

The best part? Anyone can join and be a part of the discussion, and being yourself is encouraged. The Festivarian community is also constantly evolving, and the overall feel of the forum is that “If something doesn't meet your needs, let us know.” Every voice is important, even the little guy. Some of us have been on and off the platform for over a decade. But, while that may sound like a long time, impressively, some Festivarian members have been on since day one.

Why we’re “members:”

While you can’t pay to join, and you’re not going to receive a welcome package of any sort, what we do love is that this is a place to talk about all things bluegrass, out of the spotlight , in a humble environment. Your level of engagement depends solely on you. And it’s not your typical forum. Everyone here is genuine and supportive of the community, and of the firm belief that a win for anyone involved is a win for bluegrass as a whole. We’d be hard-pressed to find that anywhere else.

Know of one we should join?

While there are plenty out there, these are just three of the bluegrass music communities we enjoy from our hometown of Denver, CO. We’re pretty sure there are more out there, and we’re always looking for recommendations.

Please feel free to get in touch and share your experiences with these and other bluegrass organizations making all of these festivals, jams, concert series, and educational programs possible. We’d love to hear from you.