Minnesota Bluegrass And Old-Time Music Association

P.O. Box 16408
Minneapolis, MN 55416


Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA). MBOTMA is 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, educational programs, a monthly magazine, and other events that keep people who love to play and listen to traditional acoustic music busy throughout the year and throughout the state of Minnesota.


In September of 1975, bass player Tom O'Neill circulated a proposal to a group of people whose names had been gleaned from the personal address books of his bluegrass and old-time music playing friends. He sent out a preliminary newsletter announcing The Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA), based on the San Diego Bluegrass Club and its newsletter format. MBOTMA got started with its first official newsletter, mailed to a new membership of 40, that October.

The organization introduced its first three-day festival at Wildwood Campground in Taylor's Falls (MN) in August 1980. This event would eventually become the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, now located near St Cloud (MN). Its 25th anniversary edition has been nominated as "Event of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). 1980 was also the same year MBOTMA held the very first Buy, Sell, Swap Meet, which would develop into today's Winter Bluegrass Weekend: A Festival of Bluegrass & Old-Time Music & Dance, held annually the first weekend in March at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Plymouth (MN).

The goal of moving the two summer festivals to a new home was realized in 2002 with a move to El Rancho Mañana, a campground and riding stables located in the rolling hills of central Minnesota west of St. Cloud. The venue is large enough to accommodate increased interest in bluegrass and old-time music and offers amenities such as horseback riding and a swimming beach. Volunteers designed and contributed much of the labor to build a new concert area and stage, larger then the old, that is now considered one of the Midwest's most beautiful outdoor festival grounds.

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