06 March 2023

The EBMA - to be or not to be?

The board of the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) has announced on the EBMA Facebook that it will recommend to the membership that the Association should be dissolved. The board's statement continues:

This decision has come after serious consideration about the role and ambitions of EBMA, its resources and its effectiveness, as well as the growth in national and local initiatives that play a much greater part in supporting and promoting bluegrass music around Europe.

EBMA has made a large contribution to bluegrass music in Europe and has been a strong advocate for the music originating from within Europe. Now, it is time to recognise that EBMA, as an association of members, is not sustainable.

The Board has set in motion a plan to close down EBMA over the coming months in accordance with its rules and to meet its financial and legal obligations.

It is reported that a more comprehensive and detailed statement will be sent to all EBMA members for their comments; that the EBMA has no financial problems; that all moneys received since 1 Jan. 2022 are being refunded; that any remaining financial assets will be distributed to organisations with similar aims through a clear and transparent process; and that as the EBMA is constituted under Swiss law, all appropriate procedures will be followed.

There have already been responses urging that the EBMA can and should be continued, and further developments are sure to come. Since its foundation in 2001, the EBMA has shown its recognition of bluegrass in Ireland: in 2013 Niall Toner received the first ever EBMA award of European Bluegrass Personality of the Year (see the BIB for 10 Mar. 2013), and two years later two gifted young Irish banjo-players, Evan Lyons of Co. Tipperary and Tabitha Agnew of Co. Armagh, were awarded the first two EBMA Youth Scholarships to attend the 2016 Sore Fingers Week in England (see the BIB for 13 Nov. 2015). In 2014 the EBMA received the International Bluegrass Music Association's Distinguished Achievement Award.

© Richard Hawkins

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