Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association



Welcome to the official web site of the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA), a 501c3 nonprofit, volunteer-based organization serving Minnesota and the Midwest. Our mission is to preserve and promote bluegrass and old-time string band music in Minnesota.

Our activities include four annual festivals, plus numerous concerts, dances, jam sessions, workshops, and educational programs. Our events and programs keep people who love to play and listen to traditional acoustic music busy all year around throughout the state of Minnesota. Check out our calendar of events for a full list of what is coming up. We encourage you to become a member of MBOTMA and welcome you at all of our events!

Coming Up Soon

Our next festival is The Harvest Jam Acoustic Music Experience coming up on November 21-23, 2014 in St Louis Park at the Marriott Minneapolis West Hotel (9960 Wayzata Blvd). This 9th annual event will featureBallroom Concerts Friday and Saturday night plus a Sunday morning gospel show featuring The Darrell Webb Band, Sawtooth Bluegrass, Ivory Bridge, Hey Lonesome, and The Fish Heads. Plus the Race For A Place Band Contest on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM hosted by Bob Bovee & Pop Wagner, the Saturday Banquet Dinner (get the best seats for the evening concert), Kip's Live Open Mic in Kip's Irish Pub throughout the weekend, workshopsmusical exhibitors, and lots of jam sessions. Visit our ticket page to order online or call 800-635-3037. To book lodging contact the Marriott at 952-544-4400 and ask for the special Minnesota Bluegrass rate. Hey, we need volunteers too so check the volunteer schedule and sign up!

The Member-Get-a-Member Challenge

Have you seen the letter from MBOTMA President Gary Cobus? Download it here.

Are you ready to accept a challenge that will let you have some fun and also earn you glory, honor, and some great rewards in the process? MBOTMA is launching a Member-Get-a-Member Challenge to allow you to help us build our membership base. 

Here’s how it works. Just cut and copy the attached Member-Get-A-Member Challenge Forms, then sign up new members. Complete the bottom of the form as the Recruiting Member so we can award you points. Recruitment point totals will be tallied and posted at the Winter Bluegrass Weekend, and the winning recruiter will receive two tickets to the Saturday Night Headline Concert and be recognized with an on-stage introduction and thank you. Download details and forms here.

Friday-Sunday, March 6-8, 2015, Minneapolis MN: The Winter Bluegrass Weekend: A Festival of Bluegrass & Old-Time Music & Dance, Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West Hotel in Plymouth (3131 Campus Dr, I-494 & Hwy 55). Some fifty groups will be performing bluegrass, old-time stringband, and related forms of acoustic music on several stages, including The Becky Buller Band for the Saturday Night Headline Concert and The Red Squirrel Chasers in the Dance Hall. Plus workshops, dances, instrument exhibitors, and jam sessions around the clock. For more information call 1-800-635-3037 or visit MinnesotaBluegrass.org. To book lodging contact the Crowne Plaza at 763-559-6600 of the nearby Residence Inn at 763-577-1600. Ask for the special Minnesota Bluegrass Festival rate.

Friday-Sunday March 20-22 2015, Duluth MN: Cabin Fever Festival, Inn On The Lake (350 Canal Park Dr). A weekend long cabin fever reliever event including stage shows, draw bands, open stage, workshops, and jam sessions around the clock. Featuring The Walker/Stargel Band both Friday and Saturday night. Plus many others TBA. Weekend tickets are $29 in advance ($26 for members). Day of show $15 Friday and $20 Saturday Teens half price and kids are free. For more information call 1-800-635-3037 or visit MinnesotaBluegrass.org. For lodging contact Inn On The Lake at 888-668-4352 and ask for the special Minnesota Bluegrass Festival rate. Presented by the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA).



More 2015 MBOTMA Festivals
Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff Music Festival, May 29-31, 2015, El Rancho Mañana, Richmond MN
Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, Aug 6-9, 2015, El Rancho Mañana, Richmond MN

Many of our event committees are now booking MBOTMA Member bands for 2015. Is your group interested? You can get all the details for each event (each one has a different committee) by downloading these invitation letters for the Winter Bluegrass Weekend, the Cabin Fever Festival, the Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff, and the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival. To find out more about being a member band of MBOTMA go to our band membership page.

Past Events

Friday & Saturday August 29th & 30th, 2014, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, St Paul MN: Minnesota Flatpicking Guitar & Duet Championships, to be held at the brand new West End Market Stage of the Minnesota State Fair. The best and brightest flatpicking guitarists and performing duos of Minnesota compete for a variety of prizes in several categories to be awarded by a panel of respected Minnesota music professionals. Duet competition on Friday and Flatpicking Championships on Saturday. $2000 in total prize money.

All of this takes place in a new venue at the Minnesota State Fair - the West End Market, which replaces the old Heritage Square. Look for brand new buildings, including the the Schell’s Stage at Hugh & Margaret Schilling Amphitheater, a gathering place for intimate sets of free music and entertainment all 12 days and nights of the fair.

We have really exciting news from our Duet Championship sponsor, The Podium: They are donating a PAIR of full size Breedlove Solo Concert Model Guitars (Retail value $1199 each) as the grand prize of the Duet Championship!

And don't forget, David Vincet Guitars and Mandolins is donating a hand-crafted guitar for the Flatpicking Championship grand prize.

UPDATE: All of the winners are now posted on the website. Congratulations to Gavin Haskin and Eli Bentley, winners of the Duet Championship, and Roy Curry, winner of the Flatpicking Guitar Championship.

View the photo albums on Facebook: Duet   Guitar

Here’s one for your “great-nearby-places-to-go-and-things-to-do list,” the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, which took place August 7-10. There were 30 hours of concerts on the Main Stage by national and regional bands (including Grammy nominated The Boxcars and three time IBMA Male Vocalist of the YearRussell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out), over 30 hours of hands-on workshops (instrumental, jamming, songwriting, harmony-singing, etc.), old-time dances with live bands (plus callers & instruction!), specialty showcases, and morning yoga in the Showcase Tentover 20 hours of activities for kids, including contests, crafts, games, and special stage shows in the Family Areamore alternative action at The Underground,Gathering PlaceMarketplace, and Ranch House Live. As always it was a great festival!

AND - we are proud to announce that the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival has been nominated for the IBMA BLUEGRASS EVENT OF THE YEAR!