The World of Bluegrass includes a business conference, the IBMA Awards show and Fan Fest, which included more than 60 acts last year. In 2011, the Fan Fest had 3,900 unique visitors each day for three days and the business conference attracted 1,610 over four days.
Nashville Convention and Visitor's Bureau spokeswoman Andrea Arnold said the NCVB gave incentives totaling roughly $330,000 to IBMA to host past festivals. The NCVB also worked with the IBMA to develop plans to help make World of Bluegrass work in Nashville, but those plans weren't implemented.
“We've worked with them over 10 years to help grow and develop their event,” Arnold said. “It's very unfortunate that they haven't been able to be as successful in Nashville as they've needed to be.” ...
One advantage Raleigh has over Nashville is the city’s downtown convention center, which opened in 2008, [and] is located next to an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 5,500.
Well then. We already knew that Austin may or may not be attempting to drink our milkshake regarding the Americana Music Association, and it was public knowledge that World of Bluegrass's contract with the Nashville Convention Center would be up after this year's festivities. But Raleigh?
Well, the new locale makes some sense, at least according to a certain 'grass-industry insider who chose to remain anonymous. "Bluegrass has undergone quite a revolution internally over the past few years with bands like the Avetts, Yonder Mtn., OCMS, Mumford, etc. gaining loads of attention in popular culture," our source told us. "It would make sense to go to a place — like Raleigh — that is really a hotbed of bearded bands with flannel, banjos, and a drum kit. Which, to most post-frat boys who will buy tickets, downloads, and merch, is their definition of a 'bluegrass' band." Ouch. The first Raleigh-based World of Bluegrass fest will take place Sept. 23-29, 2013.