Meeting Notes from Bluegrass Means Business June 15th

Wide Open Bluegrass

Bluegrass Means Business
How To Grow Your Business During IBMA’s World Of Bluegrass
Monday, June 15, 2015 – 10am-12pm

Follow Up Notes

  • What is IBMA? (presented by IBMA’s LOC Co-Chair, Laurie Okun)
    • International Bluegrass Music Association –
    • IBMA’s World Of Bluegrass encompasses:
      • Business Conference (Tuesday-Thursday)
      • Ramble (Tuesday-Thursday nights)
      • Awards Show (Thursday night)
      • Wide Open Bluegrass (Friday and Saturday)
    • Economic impact of IBMA (presented by IBMA’s LOC Co-Chair, Loren Gold)
      • $10.8 million in direct visitor spending during World Of Bluegrass 2014
      • 180,831 total attendees during World Of Bluegrass 2014
    • Deals, special bluegrass calendar of events, arts activations (presented by IBMA LOC’s Community Activation Subcommittee Co-Chair, Julie Brakenbury)
      • Go to:
        • Businesses are encouraged to offer a bluegrass-inspired “special deal” or activity to attract IBMA attendees to their businesses that will be promoted on the IBMA website and mobile site. To submit a special deal, email Mary Brooks at
        • If you have any ideas on how to activate your space with bluegrass-inspired activities (i.e. live bluegrass music, music lessons, art exhibit with bluegrass themed artwork), please share your ideas with Eleanor Oakley at
      • IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass App and Special Deals section (presented by IBMA LOC’s Community Activation Subcommittee Co-Chair, Gray Henderson)
Daily Active Users During WOB 2014


  • Testimonials from local businesses
    • Pam Blondin, Owner of Deco Raleigh
    • Ashley Woodlief, Sales Manager at Raleigh Marriott City Center on behalf of Rye Restaurant and Starbucks

  • The difference between activations and festival participation (presented by Jennifer Martin, Executive Director of Shop Local Raleigh / Greater Raleigh Merchants Association)
    • The Wide Open Bluegrass Street festival is Friday and Saturday
    • The footprint of the festival is Fayetteville St from Morgan to Lenoir including the side streets
    • Areas are created for Got to Be NC, artists for the arts market, and food vendors.  The overall emphasis is on local (immediate area and NC) and products that relate to bluegrass
    • The process for selecting vendors starts with submitting an application – please see the attached application and submit to Jen Martin
  • General ways to take advantage of events that draw large attendance to downtown Raleigh plus more comment on the value of working with IBMA – connecting the dots (Jeff Murison, Ashley Melville, Patrice Bethea, Jenn)
    • Patrice Bethea, North Hills Marketing Manager
      • IBMA’s World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh are perfect examples of “a rising tide lifts all boats”. The entire City of Raleigh will find success when it embraces our visitors together and in every area of the City. As a city, we want people to come out of the hotels or fairgrounds and hear the lonesome sound of bluegrass.

Though further away from the event footprint, here in North Hills, we celebrate Bluegrass and welcome attendees, both near and far, to Raleigh, with live entertainment.

Having IBMA’s conference here in Raleigh led us to partner with PineCone in 2014, to create a summer long event series, Midtown Bluegrass Series: Sunday Ramble in the Park. The event is held the 3rd Sunday of each month from April to October. Our event highlights youth musicians from 4pm to 5pm and then finishes with a bluegrass concert from 5pm to 7pm at Midtown Park. We have 1500 to 2500 attendees each week, proving there are many bluegrass fans among us and new customers for us all year long.

  • How to hire a bluegrass band to perform at your business, and considerations when planning live music at your space during WOB (presented by IBMA LOC’s Marketing/Media Subcommittees Co-Chair, Jamie Katz Court)
    • So you want to book a band in your venue…
    • Contact Jamie Katz Court at with answers to the following:
      • Date/time & length of performance
      • Location
      • Will the band be paid? Set amount? Negotiable?
      • Is sound system provided, do bands provide their own sound, or are they playing acoustically?
      • Is this an outdoor stage, or indoor – how many musicians can the space accommodate?
      • Can bands sell merch (CDs, t-shirts, etc) and/or put out tip jar, e-mail list, postcards/fliers about upcoming shows, etc?
      • Who is the contact person to send band info (websites, sound samples, etc)?
    • PineCone will send your information out to our Musicians’ Opportunities e-newsletter subscribers – 1,000 & growing! (And we can do this any time of year, not only around World of Bluegrass.)
    • Around World of Bluegrass, we can also pass your info along to IBMA to pass along to bands who have registered for the World of Bluegrass Business Conference.
    • Official event hashtags: #IBMA, #WOB, #Raleigh – follow along & tag your posts accordingly, and answer folks who are asking questions about the area via social media – be part of the conversation!
    • And of course, don’t forget to promote your events & deals to your own patrons too (in addition to making sure your info is loaded into the app and com website via the CVB) – if you already have a relationship with them, and they’re excited about the event, and they see something directly from you that you’re doing something related, they’ll make time to come, and/or share that information with others who ask them if they know of things going on around the area and the events.
    • Finally, IBMA does have paid advertising opportunities in their business conference program book – if you’re interested in paid advertising, let us know and we’ll help get you in touch with IBMA!
    • Questions? Please feel free to call or e-mail me:; 919-664-8333

  • Volunteerism – how to sign up to volunteer during IBMA’s World Of Bluegrass (presented by IBMA LOC’s Volunteer Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Tammy Jeffries and Courtney Worthen). Volunteering is a great way to get on the inside track with all that is happening during WOB.