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International Bluegrass Music Association Week: Songs and Seminars

Jessica Phillips  |  September 30, 2009

IBMA Week is heaven for bluegrass performers. Pickers can attend over 100 bluegrass showcases over the course of this week, attend sessions to help them hone their musical skills and stage presence, learn the craft of bluegrass songwriting, and even attend a seminar on how to keep in shape on the road. Of course, let's not forget the popular after-hours jam sessions.

The conference also has something for people who don't make their living playing music.

Billboard writer Ken Tucker taught a seminar Tuesday on Public Relations, a smart session for artists who are managing their own careers, or for those trying to increase concert attendance and CD sales for independent bands. As I get many press releases in a given week, I agree--a well-written press release is worth its weight in editorial coverage. I will pass along a few of his tips to anyone looking to get more local or regional coverage for an up and coming band:

1) Keep your press release short and to the point.
2) Find a "hook" or creative (but true) angle for your story. It must be interesting enough to hold someone's attention.

Another seminar I attended focused on blogging and online journalism, led by John Lawless of The Bluegrass Blog, Craig Shelburne of, musician Ashby Frank, and Ted Lehmann.

Other seminars for the more business-minded included sessions on financial management, Booking Agent/Artist relations, developing an online fan base, internet marketing and social networking, teaching bluegrass (vs. performing music), and more.

It doesn't matter whether you incredible voice and lightnig-fast fingers, or can't carry a tune. If you love bluegrass, IBMA Week is the place to be.

:: Posted at 5:02 PM by Jessica Phillips ::
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