The IBMA Foundation supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music. We help donors create a legacy for future generations of musicians and fans by connecting resources to projects that focus on bluegrass music-related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation. Join us on FaceBook.

Our patrons

We are so grateful for the support of our patrons. Click here to see the list of our generous donors.

Two types of grants

IBMA Foundation Project Grants- (up to $2000 each) are designed to assist programs that align with the goals of the Foundation. Deadline to apply: December 1. 


Bluegrass in the Schools Mini Grants- Schools or other groups organizing "Bluegrass in the Schools" assemblies should apply for a Mini Grant instead. (generally $300 per school assembly)


To download the appropriate forms for these two types of grants, click on the "Grant" tab at the top of our Home Page.

The work of the Foundation

The IBMA Foundation has proudly supported these worthwhile programs:


Project Grant Recipients:











and dozens of Mini-grants, funding live, educational presentations by bluegrass bands from around the world, at schools.

College Band Showcases: Oct. 2-3, 2020

Check to confirm dates, in light of COVID19 concerns.  

The IBMA Foundation is proud to host the 2020 Bluegrass College Band Showcase on Friday – Saturday, Oct. 2-3, at the Youth Stage during IBMA Bluegrass Live!, the weekend festival held during IBMA World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, NC. Evening set times available are still to be determined (last year’s Friday night showcases were 7-11 p.m., and the Saturday night showcases were 6-11 p.m.).

Bluegrass college showcase sets are usually 30 minutes in length, and the Youth Stage is located just outside the front entrance of the Raleigh Convention Center at 500 S. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.

Directors of college level bluegrass bands or ensembles interested in having their students participate in the Oct. 2-3 showcases are invited to contact the IBMA Foundation at 615.260.4807 or Invitations will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.

Bands who participated in the Bluegrass College Showcase in 2019 came from the following schools: Morehead State University (KY), Walters State Community College (TN), Clemson University (SC), East Tennessee State University (TN), Warren Wilson College (NC), Colorado College (CO), Glenville State College (WV), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NC), Pellissippi State Community College (TN), Berklee College of Music (MA), Eastern Kentucky University (KY), Denison University (OH), and Bob Jones University (SC).

  • The Oct. 2-3 Bluegrass College Showcase is a part of IBMA World of Bluegrass, which takes place Tuesday – Saturday, Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, 2020 in Raleigh, NC. Admission to the IBMA Bluegrass Live! festival on Oct. 2-3 is free, and there is parking available near the Raleigh Convention Center. Details and ticketing for the IBMA Business Conference (Sept. 29-Oct.1), the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards (Oct. 1), and the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcases throughout Raleigh (Sept. 29-Oct. 3) will be available at
  • If your schedule permits, we highly encourage you to attend the entire IBMA World of Bluegrass. It can be an invaluable experience filled with educational sessions, networking, official band showcases, and awards programs highlighting great achievements in bluegrass music during the past year and over a career. This is in addition to the IBMA Bluegrass Live! festival that includes the Bluegrass College Showcase. Please go to to learn more, and follow the International Bluegrass Music Association Facebook page for additional updates.
  • General admission tickets for the IBMA BLUEGRASS LIVE! main stage in Raleigh will be free to the public again this year, so college students will be welcome to enjoy music on the Red Hat Amphitheatre stage throughout the day and evening Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-3. Entertainment on multiple stages during IBMA Bluegrass Live! will also be taking place Friday and Saturday.

Here’s the scoop, once your college band is confirmed to showcase:  

  • A sound system and a sound engineer will be provided for your Bluegrass College Band Showcase. Please email your stage plot by August 1 to
  • Please designate someone in your bluegrass ensemble to emcee for your group’s set. The festival’s producer will assign us a stage manager for both days, and Nancy Cardwell with the IBMA Foundation will be backstage at the IBMA Youth Stage both nights. If there is someone in your band who loves to emcee and would like to bring the next college band on after your set, please let Ms. Cardwell know. We prefer to have as many young people on stage as possible, in all roles. If a student emcee is not available, an experienced radio broadcaster/emcee will be on hand to bring your band onstage.
  • Please arrive, tuned and ready to play, at least 20 minutes before your set. You’re welcome to come for the entire showcase program both nights, if you can. It’s really interesting to see and hear what everyone else is doing. If you need to borrow an acoustic bass, contact Nancy Cardwell at 615.260.4807 or
  • Merch Table: We will have a table near the stage where college groups may put out brochures about your bluegrass programs. One of the reasons we host bluegrass college showcase is to publicize and promote what you’re doing to potential students and their families who may be in attendance. You’re also welcome to bring CDs for sale if you have them (you’ll have to handle your own sales).
  • Lodging & Meals: The IBMA Foundation is unable to offer food or lodging for bluegrass college bands and staff, but info about the block hotels that IBMA attendees have access to is at this link: The closest hotels to the Raleigh Convention Center are the Marriott City Center, The Sheraton, and the new Residence Inn at Marriott.There will be bottled water available backstage, plenty of food trucks will be at the festival Friday and Saturday, and there are local restaurants within walking distance at various price levels.
  • The Expo Hall in the Raleigh Convention Center is free to the public on Friday and Saturday, as are workshops (focused on various bluegrass instruments, songwriting, etc.) on the IBMA Workshop Stage in the hallway outside the Expo Hall on the bottom level of the Convention Center. There will be lots of jamming inside and outside the Convention Center.  
  • Once your participation is confirmed, please submit the following for printed and online programs: a photo of the college group, info about the college bluegrass program and band, and a stage plot. Emcees will also be looking at your band/bluegrass program info materials, in order to introduce you properly. Email to:

ATTN: Bluegrass ensemble directors, educators, and graduate level academic researchers:

  • In addition to the showcases, we’re planning a Bluegrass College Info Session tentatively scheduled for Friday, Oct. 2, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Convention Center (room TBA). IBMA Foundation President Fred Bartenstein will host this event. The director of each college bluegrass program will have 5 minutes at the mic to talk about the bluegrass degree programs and/or ensembles at your school, and then your students are welcome to join you onstage and play one or two songs. After we’ve heard from everyone, all students come back onstage to play a song together. We’ll also have table space at this event for you to put out brochures and other info about your universities and your programs. This session will be live streamed and archived on the IBMA Foundation Facebook page. This event is open to the public. Please let Nancy Cardwell know if you and your students plan to participate:
  • Following the session described above, we’re planning a Bluegrass College Educators Lunch from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. for directors and instructors at bluegrass college programs. Location and price TBA.
  • IBMA Foundation board members and staff will be at the IBMA Foundation booth in the Expo Hall, Wed – Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Please stop by and see us
  • New in 2020: There was interest expressed at WOB 2019 about hosting a pizza lunch and jam session or other event for students from all the college programs to interact and jam. If you are interested in helping to organize this idea, contact the IBMA Foundation.
  • Plans are in the works for an academic research themed seminar planned for Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1, (details pending), which you and your students may find intriguing. The 2020 recipient of the Neil Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award will be invited to present his or her paper, along with two other presenters. Admission to seminars Tue. – Thur., Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 is included with paid admission to the IBMA Business Conference on that day. Info here: 


  • IBMA offers a free one-year membership to all college students enrolled in a bluegrass college program or ensemble. Please email amybeth@ibma.orgif you’d like to sign up for this, or call Amy Beth Hale at the IBMA office in Nashville at 615-256-3222. Subsequent one-year memberships for college students are just $25. 

THANKS so much for sharing bluegrass music with the students at your colleges and universities! We look forward to seeing many of you this fall and hearing some good music! The IBMA Foundation is always looking for bluegrass education related news for our monthly enewsletter, The Cornerstone. Please add to your email list, and keep us posted. You can like our Facebook page and make a post with news about your programs at

A Special Message from the International Bluegrass Music Association, re: the COVID19 pandemic: 

IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 Update
We are working hard with our partners in Raleigh, NC, to put together another great year of IBMA World of Bluegrass. We are looking forward to a time when we are able to be together again and revitalize both our community and industry. We are hoping that IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 can be a catalyst in that effort. Our event is being planned for September 29 — October 3, 2020 as announced. Rest assured we are taking all necessary measures to provide a safe and worry-free event, be that in-person, online, or a mixture. The health and wellness of our community is paramount. Whether you are attending for business or leisure, please join our mailing list, follow our social media, and check the resources below to stay up-to-date with the event and the city of Raleigh. We will be announcing a new ticket sale date as well as our first round of Official Showcase Artists in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to get the bands back together!

The IBMA Foundation supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music. We help donors create a legacy for future generations of musicians and fans by connecting resources to projects that focus on bluegrass music related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation. Contact: 615.260.4807,