IBMA Sponsors Bluegrass Pride and Handsome Ladies


In further pursuit of inclusivity in bluegrass music, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) supports two major diversity initiatives, to be represented at World of Bluegrass 2018.

Written by: Kara Kundert

SAN FRANCISCO, CAJust two short years after the first Shout & Shine diversity showcase was hosted at IBMA World of Bluegrass 2016, the IBMA is demonstrating its commitment to developing the spirit of inclusivity as a fundamental characteristic of the bluegrass music community by partnering with two bluegrass-centered non-profits, Bluegrass Pride and The Handsome Ladies. As a driving force for the advancement of bluegrass music for over 30 years, this sponsorship exemplifies the IBMA’s stated core value of diversity and inclusivity in bluegrass music.

Eddie Huffman, IBMA Convention Services Director, remarked upon the partnership, “We want those who are part of our community to know they are supported, and we want those are not yet a part of our community to know that they are always welcome. We are excited to partner with Bluegrass Pride and the Handsome Ladies to support their efforts to bring bluegrass music to new audiences, celebrating our music’s open and inclusive nature.”

Both Bluegrass Pride and The Handsome Ladies are relatively young initiatives. In just six years’ time, The Handsome Ladies has grown from a small group of women organizing jams in California’s Bay Area to a nationwide network of female roots musicians and allies. Meanwhile, Bluegrass Pride is now only in their second year of operations and has already won the Best Overall Contingent Award at the SF Pride Parade in 2017 and has been invited to attend World Pride 2019.

“We at Bluegrass Pride couldn’t be more excited to partner with the IBMA and The Handsome Ladies to promote diversity and inclusion in bluegrass music,” said Bluegrass Pride Director of Communications Kara Kundert. “We have made it our mission from day one to encourage all people, regardless of background or identity, to love and participate in this incredible musical tradition. We are so excited and honored to have this chance to collaborate with these two stellar organizations to help continue this new era of bluegrass outreach.” 

Handsome Ladies co-founder and board member Gina Astesana is equally thrilled by the announcement, “Besides traditional bluegrass, community, inclusivity, and courage are the foundation of our values as an organization. With our vision in mind and excitement in our heart, we will be joining forces with Bluegrass Pride to continue our efforts at IBMA's 2018 World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. We are truly honored to be supported by the IBMA and absolutely cannot wait to represent and connect!” 

So be sure to stop by The Handsome Ladies and Bluegrass Pride booth in the Exhibit Hall at this year’s World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass Festival between September 25-29, 2018! Further events to be announced.


Founded on the principle that bluegrass is for anybody and everybody, the California Bluegrass Association (CBA) created Bluegrass Pride in 2017, an initiative to become the first ever bluegrass association to take part in an LGBT Pride celebration. By doing so, Bluegrass Pride hoped to take the love, acceptance, and joy at the heart of this music and invite the world to take it with them. This message struck a chord with the crowds and judges of SF Pride, who loved their unique and enthusiastic presence in the parade. The CBA and Bluegrass Pride were officially named the Best Overall Contingent in the 2017 SF Pride Parade, the first time in parade history that a first-time entrant has won the top prize. Now in their second year, Bluegrass Pride is continuing to grow and spread the word that bluegrass is for everybody, by hosting regular beginner-friendly jams, sponsoring a local concert series, and marching in the 2018 SF Pride Parade.

The Handsome Ladies is a non-profit organization created to promote and support women bluegrass players of all levels. They are committed to providing opportunities for the advancement of female musicians within the bluegrass community while helping to preserve the traditions and culture of bluegrass and American roots music.

The IBMA is the non-profit music association that connects, educates, and empowers bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honoring tradition and encouraging innovation in the bluegrass community worldwide. The power of our association is our members, and together we create opportunity through a variety of events and programs, including:

  • The World of Bluegrass—Industry conference, showcase series, awards show, and two-day festival facilitating the growth and development of the bluegrass music community, from professional to fan. 
  • International Bluegrass Music Awards and Hall of Fame—Recognizing outstanding and lifetime achievements in bluegrass music. 
  • Leadership Bluegrass—Professional development intensive for industry leaders. 
  • The Bluegrass Trust Fund—Providing emergency financial support to bluegrass music professionals. 
  • The IBMA Foundation (formerly Foundation for Bluegrass Music)—Ensuring a future for bluegrass music through grants and other support for music educational programming and opportunities. 

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