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Congratulations to the 2012 IBMA Momentum Award Recipients

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IBMA TrophyThe International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced a new annual slate of awards on new talent in bluegrass music. This week, the IBMA’s new Momentum Awards, designed to recognize promising new talent, are being presented at IBMA's World of Bluegrass. This year’s recipients of the Momentum Awards – which focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music have been announced.

The Momentum Awards focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists will receive performance awards, while the industry awards will go to key contributors in the bluegrass business. The Momentum Awards are not to be confused with the long-standing IBMA Awards, which are the gold standard for peer-recognized excellence in bluegrass music. The Momentum Awards will acknowledge something undeniable about bluegrass music—that many of its most dynamic artists and entrepreneurs are young or relatively new to the genre, and there are perhaps more artists playing bluegrass or bluegrass-related music than at any time in decades. IBMA looks forward to recognizing the best of them.

The 2012 Momentum Awards are:

  • Band of the Year: Monroeville
  • Vocalist of the Year: Emily Bankester (performs with The Bankesters)
  • Instrumentalists of the Year:
    • Bassist Samson Grisman (son of legendary mandolinist David “Dawg” Grisman, performs with The Deadly Gentlemen)
    • Fiddler Alex Hargreaves (performs with Sarah Jarosz)
    • Fiddler Christian Ward (performs with Sierra Hull)
  • Event/Venue of the Year: Appalachian Uprising, produced by Steve Cielic (new festival in Scottown, Ohio)
  • Industry Achievement: Crash Avenue publicist Emilee Warner
  • Mentor of the Year: Five-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year and producer Mike Bub

Performance awards were given to one band, one vocalist and three instrumentalists. There is no category for new recorded music, but the release of an album or a single and its reception will be an important consideration for artist awards. On the industry side, eligible career paths will include (but are not limited to) management, labels, promotion, radio, publicity, marketing, association leadership and recording.

“The talents of emerging artists and industry professionals are essential to keeping bluegrass alive and growing, and the IBMA board feels these individuals deserve special recognition for the hard work and the many contributions they are making to the industry as a whole,” says IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “The Momentum Awards are a supplement to the current IBMA Awards structure, created to encourage growth and a wider sense of ownership and pride in the organization.”

Momentum Award winners will be selected by a multiple committee-driven process. The initial committee will compile lists of eligible candidates based on recommendations from the IBMA membership and an outreach process within the bluegrass community, and a second committee will decide on the recipients. Regional and local associations will be encouraged to identify serious emerging artists for consideration. Any IBMA member may suggest an artist or industry leader for consideration by emailing a letter of recommendation to

Anyone previously nominated for an IBMA Award may not be considered for a Momentum Award. Honorees will receive a newly designed trophy or memento, and their names will be included on the IBMA website with all other award recipients.

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