International Bluegrass Music Association to bring annual convention to Raleigh-Durham area

Bluegrass is a unique music style that has drawn the attention of global audiences. Fans of bluegrass who check out some of the houses for sale in Raleigh-Durham could soon have the chance to share their love of this type of music with friends and neighbors at a one-of-a-kind event.

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) recently announced that it plans to move its annual World of Bluegrass Week to Raleigh from 2013 to 2015. This festival features a variety of activities and events for visitors of all ages, including the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show and the three-day Bluegrass Fan Fest. In the past, the summit has drawn over 16,000 artists, fans and music professionals.

"I speak for the entire Greater Raleigh hospitality community in saying that we are ecstatic to host IBMA’s annual conference beginning in 2013," said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We look forward to showcasing our area’s musical and cultural heritage to the thousands of fans, musicians and industry leaders coming to North Carolina’s capital city."

North Carolina has a rich bluegrass history, as musical pioneers Wade Mainer, Charlie Poole and Doc Watson hail from the Tar Heel State. Edwards said he anticipates the city will showcase its rich cultural and musical heritage during the festivities.

The seven-day festival allows casual and long-time fans to come together to enjoy bluegrass music. Additionally, the event could impact the local economy.

Could the World of Bluegrass Week lead to economic growth?
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that past World of Bluegrass Weeks have attracted between 8,000 and 10,000 attendees from around the world. This festival frequently serves as a professional showcase, and it offers live bluegrass music to a large collection of visitors.

Local businesses might be able to reap the rewards of this event. For example, hotels near the Raleigh Amphitheater and Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, which will host the event, could draw more guests when this event is held. Meanwhile, local restaurants may attract more patrons, which could provide them with additional revenue.

Raleigh officials can start preparing for the 2013 World of Bluegrass Week, as the IBMA will host next year's gathering from September 23 to September 29.