The following rules, criteria and election procedures for the IBMA Awards are provided as an information resource. In some cases, this information may be paraphrased or abbreviated from the original documents which govern the awards in any given year. Also, exact dates for balloting and deadlines for recommendations may change depending on how days fall within the actual calendar or of the awards presentations. IBMA makes complete information relative to any given year available to members upon request.
(Awards Voted By Full Body of Professional Members) - These awards are to honor people who are known as, and have achieved fame as, bluegrass music performers. - The twelve month eligibility period is from April 1st through March 31st the year prior to any given awards presentation. - Voting is limited to current professional members of IBMA at each stage in the election process. - Nominees are not required to be members of IBMA. - The election will be accomplished in three stages as follows: - Nominations: each current professional member of IBMA (at the time of the mailing date) may make as many as five nominations per category* and sub-category on the first ballot which mails in May of each year. Mailing number 1 contains:
-Second ballot: to be mailed early or mid July for return by mid August. All eligible nominees receiving ten or more nominations* in the nomination stage will become candidates for awards and shall be placed on the second ballot. *(Song of the Year candidates will be all songs receiving ten nominations or more, or the top ten vote getters, whichever number is greater). Each professional member may vote for no more or no less than five candidates in any category in which they choose to vote. The second ballot mailing contains:
- Final ballot: to be mailed on or about mid August for return by early September. The top five vote getting candidates in each category of the second ballot stage will become final nominees. Each professional member of IBMA may vote for their number one choice in any category on this final ballot. The final ballot mailing contains:
The results of each stage of the election will be tabulated by an independent accounting firm. Only the responsible employees of that accounting firm will know the results of the final tabulations until the winners are announced at the International Bluegrass Music Awards that year. The awards election procedures are established by the board of directors of IBMA. The IBMA awards committee determines eligibility (i.e. assuring that all nominations fall within the specified eligibility period, etc.) Current professional members of IBMA may vote for any or all categories appearing on the ballot. It is not necessary to vote in every category. The official ballot shall not be cut or altered in any manner and may not be duplicated for voting purposes. The accounting firm tabulating votes and the awards eligibility committee interpret every vote cast literally and members must be very specific in identifying exactly which candidate they are voting for. For example, please list the complete band name if voting for an entire band or an individual's name if voting only for one person from within a band.
Voting members are asked to consider candidates and nominees based on the following criteria for which each award is intended. Information here also indicates who actually received the award
This award is for the performing act who displayed the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voters should give consideration to recorded and in-person performance, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and over-all contributions to the bluegrass music image. The award recognizes the performing act.
Award for a group who regularly performs together that has shown outstanding recorded and in-person performance in the area of vocal performance. It is not limited to groups which only perform vocally. The award recognizes the performing group.
Award for a group who regularly performs together that has shown outstanding recorded and in-person performance in the area of instrumental performance. It is not limited to groups which only perform instrumentals. The award recognizes the performing group.
Award for any song, new or old, which was released or showed significant chart action within the eligibility period. Any song which has been nominated for this award in previous years is ineligible. The award recognizes the songwriter and artist.
Award for an outstanding recorded performance by an artist or artists, first commercially released during the specified time period. The award recognizes the featured artist(s), producer, and label.
This award is for an outstanding gospel recorded performance (vocal or instrumental song) which was first commercially released or showed significant chart action during the eligibility period. Versions of recorded songs released on albums nominated for this award in prior years are ineligible. The award recognizes the featured artist, songwriter, producer and label.
This award is for an outstanding instrumental recorded performance of a tune which was first commercially released or showed significant chart action during the eligibility period. The award recognizes the featured artist, songwriter, producer and label.
This award is for a group or individual, new to the national bluegrass scene, which has made considerable advances artistically and/or commercially during the eligibility period. The band or individual should be performing under its/his/her name on a regular basis and not have more than two previous finalist nominations for this award. The award recognizes the group or individual artist.
This award is for a vocal or instrumental recorded performance of a song or tune, which was first released or showed significant chart action during the eligibility period, which represents a special collaboration between two or more artists (individuals or groups)who are knownas touring/recording artists under their own namein a featured role (not as backup singers or musicians). The artists should not have regularly recordedor performed togetherin the past and should be primarily known for their contributions and public performances separate from one another. Each separate actmust receive special"featured" billing on the recording’s label, song or tune on which they are featured and should be distinguished from backup singers and/or musicians. The award recognizes the featuredartists, producer and label.
Award for the outstanding male vocalist based on recorded and in-person performance. The award recognizes the artist.
Award for the outstanding female vocalist based on recorded and in-person performance. The award recognizes the artist.
These awards are for artists who, on recorded and/or in-person performance during the specified time period, have shown an extraordinary mastery of their instruments. Nominations and awards will be made in six (6) subcategories: banjo, bass, fiddle, Dobro, guitar and mandolin. The awards recognize the artist.
The following awards are determined by special procedures and committees are enlisted to review recommendations, consider nominations related to the criteria and determine recipients.
IBMA's Hall of Fame, housed in The International Bluegrass Music Museum, is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Founded in 1991, the Hall ofFame is the bluegrass music industry's tribute to the pioneers of the music and the people who have made the music great. The election of Hall of Fame inductees takes place in two stages: nomination and election. The IBMA Board of Directors shall appoint a ten member nominating committee, consisting of industry leaders, to nominate a slate of ten to fifteen Hall of Fame candidates. From these names, an anonymous panel of electors shall cast ballots to narrow the nominees to five finalists. The electors shall number at least 50 (currently there are over 140) and are to be approved by the IBMA's full board, and must themselves have participated actively in bluegrass for at least ten years, and must merit respect and recognition for their accomplishments and/or knowledge in one or more aspects of the field. After the five finalists have been selected, a second ballot listing the names is sent out to the electors, who then vote to select the inductee(s) for that year. The balloting shall be conducted by an independent and reputable accounting firm. The name(s) of the Hall ofFame inductee(s) will be made public immediately following the final stage of balloting and the formal induction shall take place during the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show. IBMA shall induct at least one candidate into the Hall ofFame each year and may induct more upon prior majority authorization of the IBMA Board or in the event of a tie in voting in the final run-off. The name(s) of the Hall ofFame inductee(s) will be made public immediately following the final stage of balloting and the formal induction shall take place during the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show. Candidates for the Hall ofFame are to be appraised by electors in accordance with the following criteria.
IBMA's Distinguished Achievement Award program exists to honor those in bluegrass music who have:
The awards extended to individuals for there contributions shall fall into specific categories and are especially appropriate when they provide acclaim for those not recognized by other IBMA Awards categories. Candidates for the Distinguished Achievement should be judged on the degree to which they have contributed to or influenced bluegrass music in general or to a specific part of the industry. Their contributions should be unique given the relative period of time in which they were made and should embody the spirit of one who "pioneers" or open new possibilities for the music. The selection committee is also urged to consider significant recent influences on the music as well as historic ones. The selection committee is required to spread the recognition afforded by the Distinguished Achievement Award to the various fields of endeavor which have an impact on bluegrass music. Each year the committee will achieve th awards purpose by recognizing one individual from each of the following four categories except that it can recognize two in the "General" category (a total of five recipients) whose contributions fit the above criteria
The Selection Committee of five members is appointed by the IBMA board chairperson. The committee is made up of professional members with at least ten years experience in bluegrass music and a demonstrated significant knowledge of the history of the music. The committee shall actively seek out potential honorees and solicit candidate's names from the IBMA membership. A brief letter of recommendation, sent to IBMA, and any support information on the candidate is sufficient for the committee's consideration. From recommendations solicited and received, the selection committee shall compile a list of potential candidates (including recommendations from the selection committee itself). The committee shall convene at an appropriate time to review all candidates (usually in June or July prior to the IBMA Awards presentations) and shall select by majority vote the recipients of the awards for any given year. Broadcast, Print Media/Writer and Bluegrass Event Of The Year Awards Any IBMA member, fan or professional, may submit a nomination for Broadcast Personality of the Year, Print Media/Writer of the Year or Bluegrass Event (festival or concert production) of the Year. The recipients of these awards will be selected by special committees named by the executive committee of the IBMA board. Written nominations must be received no later than June 30. (Consult IBMA in any given year for exact deadlines.) Nominations for special awards should be submitted in writing to: Special Awards Committee and mailed to IBMA or they may be submitted via email.
Criteria: This award recognizes outstanding service to bluegrass music in the field of broadcasting. The recipients must be judged by the committee for their:
Because this is not a lifetime achievement award, longevity of service alone is not a factor.
Criteria: This award recognizes outstanding service to bluegrass music in the field of print media and journalism. The recipient must be judged by the committee for their:
Because this is not a lifetime achievement award, longevity of service alone is not a factor.
Criteria: This award recognizes events (festivals, concerts, other live performance productions) for their outstanding accomplishment and service to bluegrass music in the field of event production. The event must have been active and the accomplishments evident within the general eligibility period for all IBMA Awards in that particular year. The recipients will be judged by the committee for their:
Longevity of an event (number of years produced) may be a contributing factor for extending the award, but length of service alone is not an acceptable reason for recognizing an event. All candidates must be judged and compared equally for their contributions within the stated eligibility period and nothing within these criteria prevents an event from winning the award more than once or in consecutive years.
Any person involved in the graphic design process, the writing of liner notes, recording, or as a musical artist on a project may nominate an album for best graphic design and/or best liner notes. The recipients of these awards will be selected by a special committee named by the executive committee of the IBMA board. Nominations must be received no later than June 30. (Consult IBMA in any given year for exact deadlines.) Nominations must include six copies of the recording's album cover and/or liner notes for consideration. The album for which the cover was designed and/or the liner notes were written must have been released during the current eligibility period for album projects. Nominations for special awards should be submitted in writing to: Special Awards Committee and mailed to IBMA.
Criteria: The album for which the cover was designed must have been released during the current eligibility period for album projects. Re-issues and compilations released during the eligibility period may be considered for this award if they include new graphic designs.
Criteria: The album for which the liner notes were written must have been released during the current eligibility period for album projects. Re-issues and compilations released during the eligibility period may be considered for this award if they include newly written liner notes.
This award will annually recognize a Songwriter of the Year for his or her outstanding contributions to Bluegrass music as a songwriter, during the period of eligibility for IBMA Awards. Songs released in any commercial form which the applicant wishes to be considered will be compiled on one CD and included in the application packet. A candidate basically is to be judged on the degree of their contribution to the profession, art and craft of songwriting during the eligibility period and how well their work advances bluegrass music. A most significant criterion will be the influence of the songs which a songwriter has crafted on bluegrass music and the public which enjoys it.