IBMA Details Momentum Awards, Industry Awards

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced additional details for this year’s Momentum Awards and Industry Awards, which are part of the IBMA Virtual World of Bluegrass. Both award shows will livestream for free, exclusively via Swapcard.

The 2020 Momentum Awards take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. ET, hosted by Stephen Mougin. The Momentum Awards Show will also feature virtual performances by the five finalists for Momentum Band of the Year: AJ Lee and Blue Summit, Colebrook Road, Midnight Skyracer, Seth Mulder & Midnight Run, and The Slocan Ramblers.

The Momentum Awards recognize both musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who, in the early stages of their careers, are making significant contributions to or are having a significant influence upon bluegrass music. These contributions can be to bluegrass music in general, or to a specific sector of the industry. The Mentor Award, in contrast to the other Momentum Awards, recognizes a bluegrass professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry.

“It’s so exciting to be able to recognize the Momentum nominees; they are all incredibly talented and inspiring!” exclaimed Trisha Tubbs, producer of this year’s Momentum Awards Show. “A unique and special award for the whole music industry is IBMA’s Momentum Mentor of the Year award. It recognizes those very special people in our community who have taken the time to mentor and help others, often without getting paid and doing this behind the scenes without any fanfare and recognition.”

“Because we had to pivot to a virtual show, for the first time ever, we will be able to showcase a performance by each of the five finalists for Momentum Band of the Year,” noted Tubbs. “It’s exciting because not only are they all outstanding bands, but every band is doing an original song written by one of their band members.”

The 2020 Industry Awards will take place Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m. ET; the 90-minute show will be hosted by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn. The critically-acclaimed musical partnership features two stellar musicians: Fleck, a 15-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, and Washburn, a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who re-radicalized it by combining it with Far East culture and sounds.

“Although we have had to make major adjustments to our production this year, we are truly proud to present the virtual 2020 Industry Awards Show and Distinguished Achievement Awards to music fans across the world,” said Chris Keenan, IBMA Industry Awards Show producer. “We’re especially excited to feature Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn as show emcees, who will certainly keep the viewers entertained and engaged.”

The Industry Awards recognize outstanding work in categories including Broadcaster of the Year, Event of the Year, Graphic Designer of the Year, Liner Notes of the Year, Writer of the Year, Sound Engineer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year.

Additionally, the show features a segment honoring the recipients of the 2020 Distinguished Achievement Awards: festival pioneers Norman & Judy Adams, “Musicians Against Childhood Cancer” (MACC) founders Darrel & Phyllis Adkins, fiddle virtuoso/educator Darol Anger, San Diego’s KSON “Bluegrass Special” host Wayne Rice, and bluegrass innovator Jack Tottle.

The livestream will feature a performance by Crying Uncle, and special appearances from Henhouse Prowlers’ Ben Wright (on behalf of Leadership Bluegrass) and artist Becky Buller (on behalf of the IBMA Foundation).


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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