The Handsome Ladies felt so honored to be sponsored by IBMA (along with our buddies Bluegrass Pride) for this year’s IBMA business conference and World of Bluegrass in September in Raleigh, NC. What an event! It was The Handsome Ladies’ first year with an official presence at IBMA. We shared a booth in the expo hall with Bluegrass Pride, hosted jams and co-hosted brunch and a showcase, and spread the message of diversity and inclusion in this beautiful bluegrass world. We loved connecting with old friends and met so many lovely new friends from all over. It was heartwarming to see that folks were very interested in our mission of supporting and encouraging women in bluegrass.
The Thursday evening Awards Show, hosted by Hot Rize, was packed with amazing music. It was such a treat to see talented ladies win awards: Molly Tuttle won Guitar Player of the Year for the second year in a row, Sierra Hull again took home the Mandolin Player of the Year, Becky Buller won Gospel Recording of the Year and Missy Raines took home Recorded Event of the Year (which included the other ladies previously mentioned plus Alison Brown). All of these ladies comprise The First Ladies of Bluegrass, who put on one heck of a show!
On Friday, we had the pleasure of hosting a brunch and jam in the very popular California Bluegrass Association suite with Bluegrass Pride. Everyone enjoyed some nibbles, some bubbles, and we had a great jam! It was such a pleasure for us to meet and jam with our fellow Handsome Ladies from Raleigh and Florida!
On Friday evening, we co-hosted a “Share the Stage” showcase with Bluegrass Pride, which was the first ever IBMA showcase highlighting LGBQT artists. The bands were amazing. The Lonely Heartstring Band kicked off the night, followed by Che Apalache (**do yourself a favor and acquaint yourself with this incredible band from Buenos Aires**) and then an all-star band (Jon Weisbeiger, Brandon Godman, Ellie Hakanson, Brian Christianson, Gina Furtado, Julie Elkins, Ben Garnett and Tristan Scroggins) closed out the evening.
After the showcase, The Handsome Ladies hosted a late night jam for the rock stars that could hang until 2am. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures, but we had a great group and a lively jam!
If you have never been to IBMA, make plans for 2019! Your bluegrass cup will be filled and refilled. Music is everywhere! I was amazed at the sheer volume of events: shows/showcases, an amazing street festival, workshops, business conference, amphitheater shows and, of course, there is picking in every nook and cranny of the hotels at all hours of the day and night! It is a very well run production, and well worth the lack of sleep.