IBMA Announces Partnerships to Broaden Inclusivity
Building on talk among members of the International Bluegrass Music Association about the need for a stronger spirit of inclusivity, the IBMA announced this week that it’s partnering with nonprofits Bluegrass Pride and The Handsome Ladies.
Bluegrass Pride, an initiative of the California Bluegrass Association, champions LGBT musicians and fans and was named Best Overall Contingent in the 2017 San Francisco Pride Parade. The group will be marching in this year’s parade on Sunday. The Handsome Ladies supports and promotes female bluegrass musicians. Both groups will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall at this year’s World of Bluegrass, Sept. 25-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“We want those who are part of our community to know they are supported, and we want those are not yet a part of our community to know that they are always welcome,” IBMA’s Convention Services Director Eddie Huffman said in a press release announcing the partnerships. “We are excited to partner with Bluegrass Pride and the Handsome Ladies to support their efforts to bring bluegrass music to new audiences, celebrating our music’s open and inclusive nature.”
“We want those who are part of our community to know they are supported, and we want those are not yet a part of our community to know that they are always welcome.”
The partnerships come after two years of successful Shout & Shine diversity showcases at the IBMA’s annual World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, and soon after the announcement of a set at the event’s ticketed main stage this year showcasing the first female winners of IBMA’s instrumental awards in their categories: Alison Brown on banjo, Becky Buller on fiddle, Sierra Hull on mandolin, Missy Raines on bass, and Molly Tuttle on guitar. Hull and Buller won their awards in 2016, and Tuttle won last year.