From the President 2015

Update from the President – July, 2015

Hello all,

Planning for Mountaingrass 2015 is in full swing now with three headline US acts already booked! Our US Old Time act are The Orpheous Supertones and bringing bluegrass to us are Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands. 
Laurie hails from the West Coast of the US. She has a very expressive vocal style and has been voted Female Vocalist of the Year twice by the IBMA.

We are also thrilled to have Chris Henry back again in 2015. Chris will be accompanied by US banjo player Kyle Tuttle, and joined by the members of One Up Two Down (George Jackson, Andrew Small and Dan Watkins) to form Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass.

Performer applications for acts from Australia and New Zealand have now closed. We will announce the remainder of our 2015 line-up towards the end of July.

This year we have reduced the total number of acts performing in order to stay within budget and also provide a bit more space in the program to allow folks to move more easily to between venues.

We will continue to have a blackboard concert at the Mountain View Hall on Sunday afternoon and we invite everyone who wants to perform at this blackboard concert to see Angus Golding. Angus will be doing sound at the Mountain View Retreat Hall over the weekend so you will find him there.

The festival site: Feathertop Chalet
The management and staff at Feathertop Chalet are also looking forward to hosting the event again this year and we are already discussing how to make the event as enjoyable as possible for the festival attendees. The café-style set up with chairs and table and wood fires under the covered area outside Reception will be back, along with the Bright Brewery beer and the delicious meals and takeaway snacks. Dogs will not be allowed inside the marquee and we would prefer dogs to be kept off-site altogether during the festival.

Needless to say staging Mountaingrass is a huge amount of work. We welcome volunteers, both during the festival, and during the lead-up to the event. In return, volunteers will be given a free ticket in return for 6 hours of work and hopefully a warm fuzzy feeling from helping out as well!

During the event we need help with setting up and packing down, selling raffle tickets and checking wristbands at the venues.
During the year we welcome help with fundraising, grant writing, sponsorship, publicity, artwork, managing and processing memberships, and other administrative and legal work associated with managing the event.

We would be interested in hearing from anyone who is undertaking Event management or Media and Marketing courses who might be interested in doing an internship with us over the year. You would gain practical experience in the logistics of events, media and marketing, website development, and promotion via social media. The skills learned will be highly transferable to other events and we can provide a report that outlines the practical experience that you have gained.

Aside from a report, the reward would be a free ticket to Mountaingrass and lots of free hugs. Even if you are not studying but might want to organise and run an event some day and want some practical experience please let me know.

If you are interested in giving us a hand please get in touch with us via

Goals for 2015

We have some ambitious goals for 2015, and may not achieve everything, but we want to undertake the following to both improve what ABOTMA can do for the bluegrass and old-time community and the Mountaingrass festival:

  • Having both an Old Time and a bluegrass band from the US at Mountaingrass this year
  • We have now provided information about what we are looking for and how we select our performers. We’ve done that this year with some Guidelines for Performers. If you have any comments or suggestions about these performers send that through to us at

  • Better and more frequent communication with members

  • We are very conscious that while we’ve been putting all of our energy into staging the first two festivals we are now turning to look at what benefits we can extend to ABOTMA members aside from discounted tickets to MountainGrass. We are also very conscious that we need to communicate more frequently with our members throughout the year and will be doing this via regular newsletter delivered via email.

  • Supporting other bluegrass and old time events and performers

  • We are also looking at enabling others who are members of ABOTMA to put on events or concerts and be able to do this using our Public Liability Insurance. Currently, the cost of public liability insurance makes it very difficult for small organisations and community groups to put on a concert. Our current Folk Alliance Australia Public Liability Insurance is well suited to small events of less than 200 attendees and under the terms of our insurance we can put on several events per year.

  • Re-developing our websites
We are also looking at re-developing the website to make it easier for us to maintain. From the beginning the ABOTMA and Mountaingrass websites has been very generously developed, hosted and maintained by Greg McGrath from the Australian Bluegrass Blog. Anyone who manages a website knows that maintaining a website takes up a huge amount of time because information is constantly changing. We are very grateful for Greg’s ongoing support but we also need to allow Greg off to work on his other projects including the fabulous Bluegrass Blog.

Looking forward to seeing you all again at Mountaingrass 2015!

Helen Ludellen

Australasian Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association (ABOTMA)