We'll try to re-cap the week in a little more detail and then let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Donna started the week filming a guest appearance on the local ABC affiliate as she, Larry Stephenson and Rick Stanley performed "Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus" in front of the Sir Walter Raleigh statue and then with two official showcases on Tuesday night, September, 30. The official showcases are called the "Bluegrass Ramble" and there were over thirty acts performing for talent buyers, DJs and fans at several venues throughout the downtown area in Raleigh. The city provided a bus to shuttle the acts and attendees to all the venues since they were a little spread out.
Wednesday, Donna and the band were hired by the cultural arts organization to teach a master class to a local middle school with a string band. The string players had been learning "Old Joe Clark" so the band played it with them but then they taught them to play the intro to Donna's song "Black Snake" as well as how to play several other songs to play along with the band. Donna said it was one of the highlights of their week to feel the enthusiasm of the students for bluegrass music. At the bottom of this report is a small video clip of them with the students.
There was also a wonderful piece in the local paper about the event at the school you can read by clicking here.
Wednesday night was a bit of a marathon with another official showcase and then a showcase in the California Bluegrass Music Association's suite. At 11:00 p.m. began the late night showcases and they played two more shows!
On Thursday was the awards luncheon for Songwriter of the Year. Donna was nominated for the third year in the row. The award went to Tim Stafford of Blue Highway. Other nominees where Jerry Salley, Brink Brinkman and Becky Buller. That night was the full IBMA Awards show; Donna walked the red carpet as one of the nominees. She was also up for Gospel Recorded Performance and said it was such a thrill to hear her name called out along with the other nominees that night and to see her name in the program.
On Friday, the event turns from a business conference to a fan event. The city of Raleigh blocked the streets downtown and had several stages set up with all kinds of food and art vendors as well as there also being music in the Red Hat Amphitheater behind the convention center with some of the largest names in bluegrass music. Donna and The Poor Mountain Boys did a show on Friday evening on one of the street stages and people filled the block to hear them.
On Saturday morning, Donna was part of a successful songwriting workshop with several other writers which was well attended. She also had a booth all week in the exhibit hall where she met and visited with conference attendees and fans.
If you ever have the chance to attend the IBMA World of Bluegrass or Wide Open Bluegrass events, you will be glad you did! Remember, they are usually held back to back in the same week and will be in Raleigh, North Carolina for the next few years. For anyone who loves bluegrass, roots and acoustic music, it is an incredible event. If you like to jam, take your instrument because there will be plenty of opportunities to step into some incredible jam sessions.