Start tuning up those banjos and dust off your boots—IBMA World of Bluegrass is coming back! 

We’re excited to announce that the International Bluegrass Music Association and local planning team are working on a full schedule of festival events, along with a few virtual additions and we’re anticipating crowds filling the streets again (with any necessary safety precautions that may be needed).

Read the full deets below and add Sept. 28-Oct. 2 to your calendars.

  • IBMA World of Bluegrass, Sept. 28-Oct. 2, will resume as a mostly in-person event, with a virtual component and adjustments to meet contemporary health and safety guidelines
  • Organization’s contract with the City of Raleigh officially extended through 2024
  • Performers for the Oct. 1-2 music festival, IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, include Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart featuring Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz and Bryan Sutton; The Del McCoury Band; Steep Canyon Rangers; Yonder Mountain String Band; Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer & Odessa Settles; Sister Sadie; and The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
  • First round of official showcase artists announced for Sept. 28-30 showcase series, IBMA Bluegrass Ramble
  • Tickets/hotel rooms go on sale to IBMA members and PineCone members June 8 and to the general public on June 15.

For event updates:

NASHVILLE (June 8, 2021) — IBMA World of Bluegrass 2021 will return to Raleigh, N.C., as an in-person experience with adjustments for health and safety, Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

The five-day event includes the IBMA Business Conference, the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcase series, the 32nd Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards and IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC.

Organizers are working diligently to incorporate health and safety measures per local, state and CDC recommendations at the time of the event, with detailed protocols and safety measures to be outlined this summer. In addition to providing a safe in-person IBMA World of Bluegrass experience, the organization will also supplement with virtual access to many of the week’s events.

As planning for the 2021 event takes shape, IBMA has extended its contract with the City of Raleigh through 2024, ensuring that Raleigh will remain a destination for bluegrass music for years to come. “As our community emerges from some of the most challenging times in modern memory, this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass takes on added importance,” said Pat Morris, IBMA’s executive director. “We urge everyone who loves bluegrass to be at this fall’s event and re-engage with others, share fresh ideas and learn innovations—some launched because of the pandemic. Most importantly, it’s the chance to get fully immersed in what we all sorely missed in 2020: live music.”

“We’re also excited that World of Bluegrass will continue to call Raleigh home through 2024,” said Morris. “Raleigh is welcoming, flexible and creative and has become the essential stop each year for those in the bluegrass community.”

A return to Raleigh
As in years past, IBMA World of Bluegrass events will take place at Raleigh Convention CenterDuke Energy Center for the Performing ArtsRed Hat Amphitheater and at various venues downtown.

“Raleigh is proud to once again host the IBMA World of Bluegrass,” said Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “We’re especially thankful that we’ll be in person this year where we can experience the fabulous music, talent, art and fellowship that this group brings to our city. IBMA is one of our signature events—and my favorite event of the year! It’s so great to see people playing their instruments on street corners throughout downtown, in the convention center, at Red Hat Amphitheater and at restaurants and bars. It brings our downtown to life. We look forward to seeing you there.”

“IBMA World of Bluegrass has grown along with our destination over the years and is now not only the largest free multi-day festival in the city annually but one of, if not the most anticipated, events of the year,” said Loren Gold, executive vice president of GRCVB and a tri-chair of the IBMA Local Organizing Committee. “We are grateful for the ongoing partnership with IBMA and are excited the event will continue to grow and evolve here in Raleigh for years to come.”

“It is great to work with the City of Raleigh on a careful plan to bring the events back live and in person this year, safely,” said Eddie Huffman, director of operations at IBMA. “This year’s event will be incredibly important for industry professionals and fans alike. Our theme for the event is ‘Refocus, Reconnect, Reimagine.’ As we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to refocus ourselves and our careers, to reconnect with one another and to reimagine what bluegrass can do. Challenge is opportunity and IBMA World of Bluegrass 2021 will provide a stage for embracing it. As always, the event website serves as the go-to reference guide for all IBMA World of Bluegrass information and updates.”

Details announced for IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC
Béla Fleck’​s My Bluegrass Heart featuring Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz and Bryan Sutton; The Del McCoury Band; Steep Canyon Rangers; Yonder Mountain String Band; Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer & Odessa Settles; Sister Sadie; The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys are among the main stage performers for IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC at Red Hat Amphitheater; additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

For the ninth year, PNC Bank returns as the presenting sponsor of IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. “As our community continues on the road to recovery, this event will help restore important aspects of our local economy and tourism,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas. “All of us at PNC look forward to having this festival in Raleigh for our community and visitors to enjoy.”

In an effort to maintain health and safety measures requested by the city, the Main Stage at Red Hat Amphitheater will be fully ticketed, with low-price admission options available to make the event affordable. Premium seating will be available June 8 and June 15, with additional seating and lawn tickets available later this summer.

All street stages and Raleigh Convention Center events will remain free of charge and open to the public, with modifications if necessary for health and safety to manage crowd sizes. “We’ve been staring at pandemic protocols for most of this year, but finally the clouds are parting and we’re ready to have some fun,” said David Brower, executive director of PineCone, The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. “Raleigh is ready for the IBMA and bluegrass to bring everyone back together again. There’s going to be a little something for everyone at this year’s festival. Traditional, progressive and just plain good-time music will be exploding from the streets of downtown Raleigh. It’s been far too long; we’re so excited to welcome everyone back.”

First round of Official Showcase Artists selected for IBMA Bluegrass Ramble
The following acts have been selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants from all over the world to perform at the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, the innovative showcase series which takes place at select venues throughout downtown Raleigh: Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Armchair Boogie, Bella White, Bowregard, East Nash Grass, Henhouse Prowlers, Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road, Lindley Creek, MohaviSoul, Rock Hearts, Starlett & Big John, Stillhouse Junkies, The Amanda Cook Band, The Arcadian Wild, The Martin Gilmore Trio, The MilBillies, The New Acoustic Collective, The Sweet Lillies, The Wooks and Twisted Pine. Additional official Showcase artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets and reservations now available
Reserved tickets for IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, conference registration, hotel room reservations and other IBMA World of Bluegrass events are available for IBMA and PineCone members as of 11am ET on June 8 and for non-members at 11am ET on June 15. For further information, visit

Photo credit: Rob Laughter