The International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass festival and conference is moving from the Nashville Convention Center to Raleigh, N.C., in 2013.
NBC-17 reported Tuesday afternoon that Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane was expected to make the announcement Wednesday.
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, as well as the hospitality industry, 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.”
A newsletter to IBMA members in November 2011 said that the organization would assemble a task force to look at other prospective sites for the festival. According to BluegrassToday.com, which also reported on the move Tuesday and first reported rumors of the move, festival organizers were concerned about the rising cost factors in downtown Nashville.
One advantage Raleigh has over Nashville is the city’s downtown convention center, which opened in 2008, is located next to an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 5,500.
This year's festival is still scheduled in Nashville for Sept. 24-30.