By Nancy Cardwell

It was a joy to see many of you in person at World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 26 – 30! As usual, the priority was on seeing old friends, making new connections, discovering new music, and recognizing industry and musical achievements during the past year. We hope you enjoy the photos below!

If you missed Berklee College of Music’s Matt Glaser’s fascinating keynote address on Tuesday, be sure to check out the video on the IBMA Facebook page here. (Audio starts about 19 minutes in.)

The IBMA Foundation’s expo hall booth moved to a new location this year, adjacent to the new International Stage and next to our friends at IBMA, the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund, and Leadership Bluegrass. More than 30 folks signed up to be “Friends of the Foundation” and will be helping to share IBMA Foundation news and grant application deadlines. If you weren’t in Raleigh to sign up and get your new FOF sticker and magnet, be sure to sign up online here.

The 2024 Strings for Dreams Raffle prize banjo, a 2011 Golden Era Deering model with great tone, was tried out by a number of fine banjo players, and we look forward to sharing those videos and photos with you in April-May, 2024, when the online raffle takes place at A larger-than-life photo of the “Satan is real” Louvin Brothers tribute boots crafted by world-renown boot maker Lisa Sorrell was back, stirring up more interest. The winner of the boots in the 2023 raffle declined the boots, because her shoe size was too small for the custom-made sides and tops. So everyone will get a second chance to win the coveted boots February 1-28 online, and in person at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, February 21-25.

The IBMA Foundation board of directors met in person on Wednesday, including guests who serve on our committees year-round. Foundation board members Becky Buller and Fred Bartenstein updated conference attendees at the Bluegrass Industry Awards Luncheon on Thursday, where Becky announced a new college scholarship that will honor the memory of bluegrass musician Gloria Belle Flickinger. (Here’s the year-end report in case you missed it.)

Later Thursday afternoon, the Foundation hosted a reception at the Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road hospitality room at the Marriott to honor the recipients of 2023 grants, college scholarships, Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-grants, Fletcher Bright Memorial grants for young musicians, Arnold Shultz Fund grants, and the Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award. Thanks to a kind donation from the local Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery, we ate LOTS of multi-flavored cake—always a good thing!

Around 25 folks who teach bluegrass music on the college/university level met for lunch on Friday to compare notes on degree programs, student bands, ideas for future academic conferences, and other shared ideas and challenges. Friday and Saturday nights, from 6-11 pm, the IBMA Foundation presented 13 college bands from across the country plus four accomplished folk musicians from Hungary, foreign exchange students at Morehead State University in Kentucky. On Saturday, many of those programs and a few others presented to high school students and their parents at the IBMA Foundation’s Bluegrass College Info Session.

The slogan of the IBMA Foundation is “a bright future for bluegrass music,” and we were reminded of the bright promise at every turn during World of Bluegrass in Raleigh. Old friends and new, of all ages and from literally all corners of the globe, met at bluegrass music’s annual business homecoming/family reunion in Raleigh, and the future is indeed bright.

Do you like bluegrass? Would you like to see it go on forever? We have a way you can do that! Contact the IBMA Foundation at,, or 615.260.4807 to get involved and help support the future of this music we all care so deeply about.

Photo of Morehead State University’s Mountain Music Ambassadors at World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, above by Hallie Adams

RETURN to the October 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.