2017 IBMA Award Show Hosts Announced

by | 14 Jun, 2017 | 2 comments

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck16-time Grammy-winning banjoist Béla Fleck and old-time-meets-Far-East banjoist Abigail Washburn will host the IBMA’s 28th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show on Thursday, September 28 at Raleigh, North Carolina’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s the biggest night in bluegrass music. The International Bluegrass Music Awards acknowledge the year’s outstanding achievements, honour new Hall of Fame inductees, and wave the worldwide flag for bluegrass music.

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn have delighted audiences the whole world over, first in their own careers and, these days, appearing together.

When Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn play together, it feels like the whole world is truly in tune – CBS’s Charles Osgood.

Few have done more to raise the stature of banjo than Bela, or had more fun doing it. He has immersed himself in the work of bluegrass icons Earl Scruggs and J.D. Crowe, helped define a new genre with New Grass Revival, followed the banjo’s roots back to Africa, and sought out every new frontier with his cornerstone band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and in recordings with jazz greats like Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner.

Partner Abigail Washburn shares Fleck’s adventurous spirit, delving into Appalachian music with string band Uncle Earl, and heading East to build bridges between Chinese and American musical roots. Washburn has the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter, winning critical acclaim for her solo albums. Together, Fleck’s and Washburn’s self-titled duo album took home last year’s folk album Grammy.

The Awards Show’s theme this year is The Bluegrass Songbook, referring not to a published work, but to the body of music all bluegrass players have in common around the world. This shared repertoire has allowed generations of musicians – from casual front porch pickers to hard-working Hall of Famers – to spend hours making music together with perfect strangers. In fact, Bela Fleck met Abigail Washburn through this shared music at a square dance. They began collaborating musically and, in time, fell in love—thanks in part to the Bluegrass Songbook.

The 2017 IBMA Awards Show will pay homage to this great body of music by gathering unlikely artistic combinations around the familiar tunes of the Bluegrass Songbook – bridging across generations, styles, backgrounds, and geographic boundaries, bringing life to the ‘I’ in the organization’s name and honouring the writers and musicians who paved the way for today’s vibrant, interconnected bluegrass community – Amy Reitnouer, executive producer.

The International Bluegrass Music Awards, brought to you by Chiesi USA, is part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2017 event, which takes place September 26 – 30 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Information about the 28th IBMA Awards Show, including ticket availability, can be found at the IBMA site.


  1. Kelly Kessler

    Hey, folks, Kelly here from IBMA saying thanks for sharing our news. We’re excited to have these world travelers hosting our Awards Show. And thanks for all you do for bluegrass!

    • Greg McGrath

      Thanks Kelly. Bela Fleck has been regular visitor to Australia. His recent visit Downunder featured he and his wife Abigail in concert. A great team to host the 2017 Awards.