Statement of Policy

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone at all World of Bluegrass and other IBMA-produced events. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to, harassment based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other protected group status, as provided by local, state, or federal law.  We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form. This policy applies to all attendees, staff, board members, volunteers, speakers, performers, sponsors, exhibitors and other participants, and violators of these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the events without a refund at the discretion of the event organizers.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Slurs, epithets, offensive jokes or other comments demeaning any person based on such person’s race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other protected group status, as provided by local, state, or federal law.
  • Obscene gestures, leering or catcalls.
  • Displaying inappropriate sexual images in public spaces.
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following.
  • Harassing photography or recording.
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
  • Unwelcomed physical contact.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention, whether physical or verbal.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

Enforcement of Policy

The IBMA has a zero-tolerance policy for hostile and harassing conduct.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, event organizers retain the right to take any actions to keep the event a welcoming environment for all participants.  Possible courses of action include, but are not limited to:

  • Warning the offender.
  • Expulsion from the events with no refund.
  • Prohibit an individual from participating in future IBMA events.
  • Exclude an individual from IBMA leadership positions;
  • Exclude an individual from deriving other benefits from IBMA activities;
  • Suspend or terminate membership in IBMA.
  • Reporting to appropriate authorities when there is a reasonable basis for believing the conduct is illegal.

Such sanctions may be applied regardless of whether or not the offender is a member of IBMA.

The exact remedy for hostile or harassing conduct will depend on an evaluation of all relevant circumstances.

Event organizers may take the above described actions to redress anything designed to, or with the clear impact of, disrupting the event or making the environment hostile for any participants.

We expect participants to adhere to this policy at ALL IBMA World of Bluegrass events and event-related social activities, including the IBMA Business Conference, IBMA Bluegrass Ramble, Sponsored Marriott Showcases and other sponsored events, the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show, and IBMA Bluegrass Live!. We think people should follow such a policy outside event activities too!


If someone makes you or anyone else feel unsafe or unwelcome, please report it as soon as possible. Phone numbers for hotel/venue staff, local law enforcement, and local emergency medical personnel are provided below to facilitate prompt response to complaints and/or requests for assistance.  (Employees of IBMA who experience harassment should follow the reporting procedures set forth in IBMA’s Employee Handbook.)

Some possible actions you can take include the following:

  • Tell the offending party to stop (only if you feel safe in doing so).
  • Talk immediately with a trusted colleague.
  • Contact venue staff or IBMA staff in person or email [email protected].
  • Contact hotel or venue security or staff where the offense occurs.
  • Call the 24 hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
  • Call the local police at 911.

Note: The actions listed above do NOT constitute a required procedure or sequence of steps for reporting.  You are NOT required to take any action that you feel further puts you in danger or makes you uncomfortable.  If you sense imminent danger, please contact local police at 911 immediately. 

When taking a personal report, our staff will take steps to ensure you are safe and cannot be overheard. They may involve other event staff to ensure your report is managed properly. Once safe, we’ll ask you to tell us about what happened. This can be upsetting, but we’ll handle it as respectfully as possible, and you can bring someone to support you.

Our team will be happy to help you contact hotel/venue security, local law enforcement, local support services, provide escorts, or otherwise assist you to feel safe for the duration of the event. We value your attendance.

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