The Australasian Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association was founded in Harrietville on 27 April 2013, at the site where, for over 20 years, musicians have gathered to play and share music at the foot of the Snowy Mountains of northern Victoria.
At that time, over 50 Australian and New Zealand musicians, enthusiasts, and local townsfolk had a meeting to decide whether to continue the tradition of a bluegrass and old-time music festival in the town each Spring. There was also a sense of an overriding need for a regional organisation which could not only coordinate and administer such a festival into the future, but could also represent, support, and promote this music in the Australasian region. The meeting elected an interim steering committee for the Association and agreed to delegate responsibility for organising the annual spring music festival in Harrietville to it.
The founding executive committee was made up 7 people: the president, vice-president, secretary & public officer, treasurer, and 3 ordinary committee members. There are also 3 Coordinators for Volunteers, and 2 Fundraising Coordinators. These members live all over Australia, meet monthly by teleconference, and reflect the increasing interest in Australasia as this music spreads.
The broad mission of ABOTMA is to support the teaching, performance, and promotion of bluegrass & old-time music. This includes:
- sponsoring and coordinating workshops, masterclasses, and music seminars
- organising performances by bands and solo artists in urban and rural concerts and festivals
- awarding scholarships and prizes for achievements in bluegrass & old-time music
- cooperating and collaborating with affiliated music organisations
ABOTMA is building affiliations with bluegrass & old-time music organisations, teachers, and performers within the region and internationally, and in particular with the USA where these music forms originated. Over time, an Australasian ‘flavour’ will no doubt develop as the music evolves through local influences.