With the increasing percentage of people vaccinated and less restrictive CDC and state guidelines, more of us are happily venturing out again to live bluegrass music concerts, jam sessions and festivals. I’ve been to two in the past month, in North Carolina and Virginia, and it feels pretty great!

The IBMA Foundation had a booth at the Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival in Denton, NC May 6-8, which was enormous fun. We were there mainly to show off the Z Mandolin/Calton Case prize for the Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle and promote the May 14 online drawing. But it was also a wonderful experience to print up some new stickers and banners, fill up the booth treat bowl with chocolate, and talk to people in person again about the music and how we can work together to support and share it with the next generation.

Dozens of professional musicians, family bands, kids, teenage jammers, retired couples emerging from RVs, and other friends (new and old) dropped by the booth to say hello and try out the Z mandolin. It was a bluegrass family reunion, with a stellar lineup of bands who were every bit as thrilled to see live audiences as we were to see and hear them. The Foundation was located at the edge of the main stage area, next to Springer Martin Farm Chicken, who—lucky for me—were giving out free samples with various types of seasoning all weekend.

Here’s hoping you have more and more opportunities to share and enjoy bluegrass music this summer. I know I’m appreciating our wonderful bluegrass community even more after a year of quarantining and mostly staying home. As always, thanks for your support of the IBMA Foundation, as we work together to expand the unbroken circle of bluegrass fans and musicians.

Photo above: Doyle Lawson drops by the IBMA Foundation booth at his festival in Denton, NC to try out Z Mandolin #25.

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