Propose a Conference Session

2021 APPLICATION OPEN NOW

Please review all information below before completing the proposal form at the bottom of this page.


If you have a topic idea but are not interested in organizing the specific session, please submit a General Topic Suggestion through the proposal form at the bottom of this page. The information below is for Specific Session Proposals.

Proposal Process

Proposals may be considered for the IBMA Business Conference. Proposals can be submitted by bluegrass and general music industry professionals.

IBMA Business Conference proposals address current music industry concerns pertaining to one or more of the IBMA’s membership constituencies (see “Target Audience” below), and they often speak to or incorporate some aspect of the current year’s conference theme (see “Tips and Things to Keep in Mind” below). Conference sessions will be 50 minutes and scheduled Tuesday – Saturday during the week, September 28 – October 2 (see “Tips and Things to Keep in Mind” below).

ALL proposals must include the following information:

  • Primary Contact who is organizing the session and serving as moderator. The Primary Contact will work with his/her co-presenters to define and plan the session content, determine audiovisual needs, confirm session details with speakers, etc.
  • Session Information
    1. Format: Conference sessions typically follow one of the following formats:
      • Panel Discussion: 3-4 presenters discuss their (typically different) experiences/perspectives on a topic with one another and the audience. Be sure to reserve enough time for audience participation.
      • Round Table: A series of 4-6 related topical discussions occurring simultaneously, often led by table leaders and coordinated by an overall moderator. Attendees may rotate from table to table or stay put. Involvement of attendees in content presentation is encouraged.
      • Workshop/Demonstration: In-depth training or learning. It is expected that attendees actively participate in the session and may require attendees to have concrete ideas and/or materials to work on during the session (i.e. workshopping a song).
      • Pitch Event: Attendees pitch material or ideas to a panel of experts for constructive critique and feedback for improvement, refinement, or next steps.
      • Networking Event: Intended to introduce and familiarize two or more industry groups (i.e. broadcasters and labels) to develop, improve, or further construct business relationships.
      • Other innovative format ideas are welcome and can be submitted by selecting “Other” and filling in the accompanying text field.
    2. Title: Each session requires a title that accurately communicates the main topic presented in the session.
    3. Description (word limit: 100): Each session requires a description that accurately conveys the content of the session. Title and Description will be published in the printed conference program, online schedule, and conference app.
    4. Target Audience: Please identify the target audience(s) from the following IBMA membership constituencies: Agents/Managers/Publicists, Artists, Associations, Broadcasters, Composers, Educators, Electronic and Print Media, Event Producers/Talent Buyers, Luthiers & Merchandisers, Record Labels, and Recording/Sound Engineers. Select as many as apply, “Other,” or “All.”
    5. Audience Experience Level: Indicate the experience level required of audience members to benefit from your session. Is your session content suitable for entry-level attendees, intermediate, or advanced? You may alternately select “All” if your session is applicable to all experience levels.
  • Presenter Information
    • Number of Presenters: Please indicate the proposed number of presenters for the session, including the Primary Contact/Moderator.
    • Proposed Presenters: For each presenter, please include the following information:
      • Name
      • Organization (Company, Band, etc.)
      • Email

Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by our nine-member Education Committee and evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Coherence of the proposal – Are the main concept and goals of the session clear and understandable?
  • How well the proposal addresses key issues facing the bluegrass community currently and in the future.
  • Potential to offer new knowledge and insights on key issues that may benefit attendees and enrich attendee experience.
  • Feasibility – Are the educational goals of the proposal realistic and attainable? Are the proposed presenters real possibilities (e.g. Bill Gates of Microsoft would likely not be a real possibility for an IBMA Business Conference panel)?

Session Confirmation

After sessions have been selected, moderators will be contacted via email and be required to confirm the panel via an online confirmation form. The confirmation will require the following additional information for the selected session:

  • Presenter Information for those participating in the session as follows (used in online and app schedules, as well as for event and session promotion):
    • Name
    • Organization
    • Email
    • Bio
    • Headshot

Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

  • Consider how your session can incorporate or speak to some aspect of this year’s conference theme – Refocus, Reconnect, Reimagine.

    • As we emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to refocus ourselves and our careers, to reconnect with one another, and to reimagine what bluegrass can do. Challenge is opportunity, and IBMA World of Bluegrass 2021 will provide a stage for embracing it.
  • Consider ways to make your session dynamic and interactive, integrating virtual and in-person audience participation into the session (beyond question and answer at the end). Our virtual conference platform offers several audience engagement tools including live discussions and polls. Don’t be afraid to get creative in how you plan to interact with your virtual audience.
  • Plan on a 50-minute session (including Q&A).
  • Be sure to focus session time on substantive content. DO NOT spend time on presenter bios during the session. This information consumes valuable session time and will be available to attendees via our conference program. Be realistic in setting session goals and picking possible presenters (i.e. pick presenters you have a reasonable chance of securing for your session).
  • Conference scheduling is complex. If accepted, your session may be scheduled at any time during the morning or afternoon on any of the event days, September 28 – October 2, 2021.
  • Conference registration is NOT required for speakers the day of their presentation. Registration WILL be required for attending events on other days of the conference.
  • Any session or speaker cancellations after August 31 will be subject to a disqualification for consideration for the next two consecutive years.

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