Shop Talk

IBMA attendees explore the business side of bluegrass

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked people attending the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Business Conference what they were hoping to accomplish. This is what they said.

• “Just helpful tools to run a bluegrass band as a business to be more successful,” said Ty Dawson, who’s from Seneca, Mo., and in the bluegrass band Borderline. “And gain knowledge from all these folks. They know a lot more than I do.”

• “I am fairly new to bluegrass,” said Ted Connolly of State College, Pa., and manager of Tussey Mountain Moonshiners. “My best friend is a member of the band. He’s been asking me to get involved with managing. As the band has grown, so has the need for greater attention to the business side. And I had a chance to come down here and learn a little bit more on how to better reach my target audience more efficiently.”

• “Getting to hear a lot of new bands because we book bands for our festival,” said Regina Derzon, of Alexandria, Va., who helps coordinate the D.C. Bluegrass Union and is on the IBMA board. “This is the best opportunity. You won’t hear any more bluegrass anywhere in the world in one week.”

• “No. 1 is networking,” said Heather Norman of Nashville, who is helping her sister and artist Holly Norman with her career. “Building relationships, getting a chance to network with DJs and festivals, promoters and other artists.”

• “I came here to get ideas about possible partnerships, marketing connections,” and learn about the business elements such as insurance, said Debbie Billodeaux, of Herndon, Va., who is exploring a music project.