Hot Rize's Nick Forster Announced as 2015 World of Bluegrass Keynote Speaker


Musician & radio show host Nick Forster, who will present this year's IBMA Business Conference keynote speech, pictured with his eyes closed & playing his bass Nick Forster, best known for his work with influential bluegrass band Hot Rize and as host and founder of the musical and environmental radio program, eTown, will deliver the keynote address during International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2015 event, brought to you by Chiesi USA, which takes place September 29 – October 3 in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

“I was honored to be asked to deliver the keynote address this year for IBMA,” said Forster. “I’ve been really fortunate to have been in the bluegrass world for so long, starting out as a scrappy kid who was ready to learn anything and do anything (including driving the bus and showing up on time) to keep things moving forward. I’ve had great partners and mentors along the way, but I assume that one of the reasons that I’ve been asked to speak this year is that now, even more than ever, we all have to be scrappy, creative and nimble to make it all work out. I look forward to sharing my perspective at IBMA this year.”

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 29 – October 1; the 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 1; Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC, October 2-3 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 29 – October 1.

Forster’s address is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, acting as the official kick-off for the IBMA Business Conference portion of World of Bluegrass 2015. Located in the Raleigh Convention Center, the Keynote Reception will take place 4-5:30 p.m. The IBMA Business Conference features the best in bluegrass networking, showcasing, and professional development.

“We are thrilled to have Nick as our Keynote Speaker at this year’s World of Bluegrass,” said IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “One of our big priorities for the Business Conference is to elevate the learning and sharing experience. Nick’s extensive background and broad perspectives as a successful artist, radio show host, and businessperson make him the ideal person to kick-off the conference. We look forward to his insights to set the tone for a great conference!”     

Nick Forster is a professional musician, record producer, radio host, and Executive Director of a non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado. He is most widely known as a long-standing member of the award winning bluegrass band Hot Rize, and as the host and founder of the musical and environmental radio program, eTown.

Raised in upstate New York, Forster’s desire to pursue music as a career led him to Colorado; it was there that he met the three young men with whom he would form the contemporary bluegrass band Hot Rize in 1978. For the band, Forster supplied bass, vocals, and guitar and was also well known as the emcee and host.

Hot Rize established an acclaimed international reputation, releasing 10 albums and touring worldwide fulltime for more than 12 years. Hot Rize earned both a Grammy nomination and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 1991. Despite this success, the band members collectively decided to pursue individual projects later that year and went into semi-retirement. In September of 2014, Hot Rize released When I'm Free, their first new studio record in 25 years. The bluegrass world has welcomed them back with open arms, as Hot Rize has been nominated for several IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards this year, including – once again – Entertainer of the Year.

Based on his varied experiences, Forster conceived the idea of a new concept in radio - eTown, the popular weekly radio variety show now heard worldwide. As eTown’s host, Forster leads a radio program that entices the audience with live performances from today’s top musicians, then engages listeners with conversation and information about our communities and our environment. His warm on-air wit, insightful interviewing skills, and stellar guitar playing are hallmarks of the show. eTown shows are recorded live at the brand new solar-powered eTown Hall in downtown Boulder, adding eco-friendly and innovative high-end music venue building skills to Forster's resume.

In addition to eTown and Hot Rize, Forster remains an active player in the music world, performing at major festivals around the globe and playing recording sessions for various artists across all genres. He also is an accomplished record producer with a Grammy nomination and other prestigious awards to his credit.

Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone – The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

Official hashtags: #WOB, #IBMA, #Raleigh