Author: Campbell, Bruce

Membership Has Its Benefits

Like just about every non-profit on this big blue marble, the California Bluegrass Association is always hungry for more members. We can never rest in trying to simultaneously please our current membership while trying to attract new members.

Weíve wracked our aging brains to find a way to attract new, young members to replenish the members who leave the organization due to various factors of attrition (they move, they go through other life changes Ė and they eventually die). Itís a challenge, for a number of reasons, some of which we can only surmise.

Itís been suggested that younger people (say, under 30) are not inclined to join organizations. Itís possible -- I know I didnít ďbelongĒ to any specific organizations when I was that age. I was too busy taking life as it came, and I think we do attract a number of people of that age group to participate in bluegrass, even if theyíre not yet paying membership dues.

We struggle to find a way to make being a member a financial no-brainer. The cost of a membership mirrors pretty exactly the discount for Fatherís Day Festival member tickets. So, itís a wash Ė whatís the incentive to join? You have to think about it in a different way.

Itís not just a catchphrase to say that CBA membership has its benefits. Some are direct, such as the ticket discounts, or the subscription to the award-winning Bluegrass Breakdown newsletter. But your membership dues support the organization itself, and this is not a minor thing at all.

Itís presumed that someone who joins the CBA cares about bluegrass music. California is far from the regions where folks are exposed to bluegrass throughout their lives. The music needs considerate care and feeding to find its audience in an area with so many other distractions, in a time where we are assaulted by so much data all the time.

Despite our use of modern media to promote it, bluegrass takes us back to a simpler time, when human interactions where mostly in person, and the pace of life was slower. I think thereís a deep-seated hunger to recapture this bucolic ideal, and the community that the CBA offers its members helps people to satisfy that hunger.

ďAh!Ē, you say. ďI donít NEED to be a member to attend the events and reap the other benefits that the CBA provides!Ē

This is true, but if everyone took that tack those benefits would dry up; they would cease to exist. Because of the CBA, there is a social organization to encourage the preservation of bluegrass, old time and gospel music. This social organization locates and utilizes energetic volunteers that endeavor to provide outlets for bluegrass fans all over the state to get together, and enjoy the music and the unique level of camaraderie that surrounds it.

So, the benefits of the CBA are deep, and far reaching. If you become a member, you will reap those benefits, and you will help to extend those benefits to the bluegrass fan community at large. Which, naturally, circles back around to benefit YOU, in the form of more events, and more musicians to listen to and jam with. I am hard pressed to think of a better bang for your hard earned buck than a CBA membership.

Posted:  2/6/2013

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