Thank you to the 759 individuals who filled out the post-conference survey. We are proud to share this summary of conference events, data, and post- conference survey feedback. Click on the image to review.
Increased efforts to highlight Indigenous artists included a dedicated panel session and formal showcase. Additionally, a Welcome to Land ceremony and community gathering was led by local Indigenous leader Moses Brings Plenty and included Indigenous representatives from the US, Canada, the High Arctic, Norway, Australia, and South and Central America. The spirit-rich gathering ended with each member of the 100-plus person audience greeting each other with a hug and a smile.
Contemporary Protest Panel Eliza Gilkyson's "The Great Correction" set the tone for a discussion about the artist's role in activism. Moderator Nic Dawes of Human Rights Watch guided panelists through a discussion of their careers as political artists. Panelists included legendary artist-activist, Billy Bragg; pioneering artist, SONiA disappear fear; the voice of the Arab Spring, Ramy Essam; and outspoken songwriter, Eliza Gilkyson. Essam, who was tortured and exiled for his participation in the Arab uprising, spoke of his plans to return to Egypt despite an uncertain future and no guarantee of safety. The panelists urged personal integrity, boldness in sharing, and diligence to honing the craft of songwriting. View a video of the panel here.
Standing Up for Racial Justice Training
SURJ-KC is part of a nationwide network of advocates working to promote accountability through collective action. Through personal support, political education, and solidarity action, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. FAI prioritizes inclusion, diversity, and international expansion in our Strategic Plan, and we were proud to partner with SURJ-KC to provide a training opportunity for conference delegates who are interested in being proactive allies in the fight for a more equitable society. View a short clip from the training here.
Artist in Residence Projects
Launched in 2015 to foster cultural cross-pollination and nurture artistic growth, the 2017 Artist in Residence (AIR) projects focused on channeling the power of music to connect with the human side of the justice system from both sides of prison walls.
Acclaimed Blues artist, Rita Chiarelli spent four days at the Topeka Women's Correctional Facility in Kansas to rehearse with a newly formed choir whose first performance was as the backing choir for her performance at the prison. Film producer, Mikal Shapiro and a crew from State City Films accompanied Ms. Chiarelli over four intense days of rehearsal and produced the film overnight in time for its official airing preceding Ani DiFranco's presentation on Friday, February 17, 2017. View the film here.
In the Summer of 2016, poet and 16-year veteran police officer Chato Villalobos shared his poem "Brown Eyes in Blue" with the US Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, who then recited it in a public reading in Kansas City. This sparked an idea about the life of a poem and the second AIR project for 2017 was born. Past FAI Official Showcase Alumnus, Making Movies was asked to create a piece to accompany the poem, which reveals complex feelings and the sometimes conflicting roles of being a Hispanic officer during a contentious era of law enforcement’s relationship with minority communities. In the process of creating a collaborative piece, band members toured the Lansing Correctional Facility and began to lay a foundation for the soundscape piece. Multiple rehearsals with the band and poet ensued to create the final performance which can be viewed here.
Photo credits: Cover photo, Neale Eckstein; Indigenous Gathering and Ramy Essam, Jake Jacobson; SURJ, screenshot; Rita Chiarelli, Mikal Shapiro; AIR Perfomance, James Dean.
Return On Investment
Stay tuned in the coming months for communications from us as we work to better uncover and share the important story of FAI's financial impact on artists and industry.
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Registration and Applications
NEW! - To celebrate our 30th conference, FAI members receive a special $30 discount from May 15 to May 29 in advance of the opening of general Early Bird registrations. Be the earliest bird and get the best discount.
Registrations open May 15th for Members and May 30th for the general public.
Official Showcase applications OPEN on May 30th!
Join us 'round the campfire next February in Kansas City!
Celebrating 30 Years of Folk Alliance
Photo of the inaugural Folk Alliance Conference in Malibu, CA, 1989.
Please help us identify the smiling faces!
If you know someone in the photo please complete this form to name them and/ or share any current contact information you might have for that person. Any contact information shared will be completely confidential.
Share your Folk Alliance memories! We've started gathering files, images, and stories for a 30-year retrospective at the 2018 Conference. Please contribute to the archive here.
Lifetime Achievement Award Videos
Each year, FAI presents three Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards to honor the cultural impact of legendary folk music figures, one Living, one Legacy, and one Organizational/Academic. The 2017 Living Lifetime Achievement Award honoree was David Amram.
Visit our Awards page to access the full archive of short documentary films featuring past honorees.
Photo credit: Jayne Toohey
Congratulations to JUNO Award Winners!
We're thrilled to see past FAI Official Showcase Artists be honored with Canada's top awards in music. Quantum Tangle (FAI2017): Indigenous Music Album of the Year for Tiny Hands Williams Prince (FAI2017): Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for Earthly Days East Pointers (FAI2015-16): Traditional Roots Album of the Year for Secret Victory Strumbellas (FAI2015): Single of the Year for "Spirits"
Folk Alliance Regional Events
Upcoming Folk Alliance International Regional Conferences
Southeast Regional Folk Alliance May 17-21
Montreat Conference Center | Montreat, NC Register Here
Do you have memorable news to share with us? We want to hear what our members are up to!
Submit your notable career accomplishments [i.e. you're singing the national anthem at an MLB game, you've just been signed to a new label, you've won an award, you had a song placed on tv or a movie]. We can’t post every story we receive, but stay tuned to our monthly e-news & social media to see stories from our community.