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News & Press: E-News

FAI E-News May 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016   (0 Comments)
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You are receiving this monthly e-news as an FAI member, a past event attendee, or a mailing list subscriber.

2016 Conference Recap

The 28th Folk Alliance International conference was a huge success, with glowing reviews, countless success stories, and a 96% satisfaction rating in post-conference survey results.

This year’s conference had 2,423 registrants from 17 different countries. We saw overall growth in attendance, with an increase in Presenter (Buyer) attendance with 339 identifying this as their primary or secondary role. Of these the lead categories were Concert Series organizations, Festivals, and Year-round venues.

In terms of Industry representation there were 132 Arts Organizations, 104 Managers, 68 agents, and 51 record label representatives, among many other industry attendees.

Overall results of the post-conference survey were very positive. Feedback indicated appreciation of changes made this year based on last year’s survey, and staff received valuable suggestions for continued refinement in programming and logistics for 2017.

2016 Survey highlights noted:

  • Dramatic improvement in sound and lighting (per: 2015 survey requests)
  • Better layout, flow, and program content/pacing (per: 2015 survey requests)
  • Improved format and location of exhibit hall (per: 2015 survey requests)
  • Positive response to public launch of Sunday’s Kansas City Folk Festival (per: 2015 survey requests to not program public events during the conference)
  • Appreciation of refined and expanded Awards Gala on Wednesday night

To improve or of importance in planning 2017:

  • International expansion
  • Greater cultural diversity
  • Inclusion of visible minorities
  • Longer and later exhibit hall hours
  • Attention to environmental impact and recycling

Interesting to note:

70% of respondents indicated they have not yet attended any regional conferences.

While 92% of respondents were aware of the Music Camp at the Sheraton, only 4% indicated it was their primary reason for attending. To help offset the cost of producing the three-day Camp, 73% of respondents indicated a $5 to $20 fee (per class) would be appropriate. Conference priority and timing were reasons for not attending the Camp.

2015 respondents indicated the primary way they were aware of the conference (and associated events) was by word of mouth. In contrast, 2016 respondents overwhelmingly indicated that FAI’s new e-news format was the primary way they were aware.

A post-conference registrant report can be found on our website.

Thanks to those who filled out the post-conference survey. The winner of the free 2017 conference registration (by random draw) is long-time FAI attendee, Ken Gaines.

Partner Event

This year Folk Alliance International is building a relationship with MIDEM (the Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale). Billed as the leading international business event for the music industry, MIDEM is focused on core music business (labels, publishers, rights societies, etc.), the technology sector, and brand agencies.

FAI will be attending for the first time this year to build international bridges and music industry partnerships. Meetings with FAI's Executive Director Aengus Finnan at MIDEM can be arranged in advance by email to

2017 Conference Launch

A reveal of the the 2017 conference artwork and the announcement of the 2017 keynote speaker will be made Tuesday, May 24th. The media launch event will be held in Kansas City at 11am on the steps of The National WWI Museum and Memorial (FAI's 2016 Artist in Residence partner). 

Earlier Deadlines for 2017 Conference

June 1 - NEW earlier date - Registration Launch Date
June 15 - NEW earlier date - Official Showcase Applications Open
July 5 - Volunteer Applications Launch
August 1 - Private Showcase Applications Open;
                  Official Showcase Application price increases to $40
August 31 - NEW earlier date - Early Bird Prices End
September 1 - Fall Rate Starts*; Scholarship Applications Open
October 3 - Official Showcase Applications Due
October 11 - Final Jury Decision
October 17 - Official Showcase Artists Notified
October 24 - Official Showcase Artists Confirmation Deadline
October 31 - Official Showcase Artists Announced
November 14 - Official Showcase Artists Scheduled
November 30 - NEW earlier date - Fall Registration Rate Ends*
December 1 - NEW earlier date - Winter Registration Rate Starts*
December 13 - Member Voted Awards - Ballot Opens
December 19 - Member Voted Awards - Ballot Closes
Jan. 31, 2017 - NEW earlier date - Winter Registration Rate Ends*
Feb. 1, 2017 - NEW earlier date - Final Registration Rate Starts

As in past years, all Official Showcase artist applicants and International delegates (who incur substantial flight costs from outside North America) receive a discounted registration at the earlier rate once Early Bird pricing ends. For example: during Fall Rate period the previous (Early Bird) rate is offered. During the Winter Rate period the Fall Rate applies. No discount is offered during the Early Bird period. 

Anyone with a Group Membership (who is registering three or more people at once) is also offered a discount Group Rate after the end of Early Bird pricing. 

Please note: There is a NEW earlier start date of June 1 for Early Bird registration, and as of February 1, 2017, a NEW Final Registration rate has been introduced. The following chart identifies the four Registration Rate periods, group discounts, and the additional discounts provided for FAI members.

2018 - Celebrating Our 30th

As we prepare for our 30th anniversary in 2018, we hope to draw on the collective memory and archives of our community. If you'd like to help, we invite you to:

1) Look for old photos, posters, and materials from previous years.

2) Consider key or interesting stories from years past to share.

3) Help us locate a few past Board members we no longer have current contact information for. If you are in contact with anyone listed below please let them know we are trying to connect, or let us know how to reach them by emailing
  • Ray Bloom
  • Camilla Bryce-Laporte
  • Peggy Bulger
  • Hardin Davis
  • Barbara Karol
  • Jo Long
  • Doug Miller
  • Jordy Sharp
4) Help us complete our collection! We are missing programs/print material from the following years. If you have a copy you would be willing to donate, we would be most appreciative.
  • 1989 - Malibu
  • 1990 - Philadelphia
  • 1991 - Chicago
  • 1995 - Portland
  • 2006 - Memphis
  • 2011 - Memphis
You can fill out this form to upload files, images, and reflections:

2019 Location Announcement

The conference travels to Canada approximately every 6th year. The Board, Staff, and Site Selection committee of Folk Alliance International are thrilled to announce that the 2019 conference (February 13-17) will take place in Montréal, Québec at the beautiful and historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

This decision completes a year-long search that encompassed six Canadian cities and the review of over 20 hotels. Many factors were weighed including travel options, room price, local resources, and most importantly each hotel capacity and layout. Based on the growing size and contained "in hotel" format of FAI conferences, only two Canadian cities remain able to accommodate the event in future years (Toronto and Montréal).

More details regarding Montréal and the Fairmont as host city and hotel will be shared at a later date. For those outside Canada, please check that your passport will current or plan to renew in time. For those outside the US and Canada, please check to see what, if any,  Visa requirements might be required to access Canada.

To view a list of all past year locations visit

Good'le Days: A John Hartford Tribute

As part of a public outreach grant from the Missouri Arts Council to help address FAI’s year-round mission, a tribute concert is being presented to celebrate the life and musical work of Missouri-born folk hero John Hartford.

Missouri-born Hartford was a legendary figure in the folk and bluegrass communities. After appearing on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and writing the hit song Gentle on My Mind (popularized by Glenn Campbell), Hartford left the mainstream music industry for adventures in new-grass, songwriting, Ozark fiddle tune collecting, steamboat captaining, and curating music (including music for The Cohen Brothers' movie, "O Brother Where Art Thou").

With additional support from KPR (Kansas Public Radio), KKFI 90.1 FM, KCUR, Mandolin Cafe, and Bradford & Franzke Fine Instruments, the event will be hosted by past FAI Spirit of Folk Award Winner, Chuck Haddix, and features a fantastic line-up of regional musicians who will present their interpretation of Hartford songs.

The event will be held May 25th, 2016, from 7-9pm at Prohibition Hall, 1118 McGee St, Kansas City, Missouri. Advance tickets are available HERE

FAI Board Member Receives National Award

FAI is proud to celebrate one of its own Board members, Mary Sue Twohy, who will be awarded a national award at The Gracies on May 24th in Los Angeles, California, for her work with the Village Folk Show on Sirius XM in the category of Interview Program or Feature.

Others to be recognized include such esteemed honorees as Tina Fey, Angela Bassett, Cynthia Nixon, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford, along with many other talented women.

Shining a spotlight on women in media, the Gracie Awards recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women, and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. They also acknowledge the individuals who have made inspirational contributions to the industry. Named after the late Gracie Allen, these awards acknowledge outstanding team leadership and individual achievement and focus on women who are making positive changes and who further the discussion of what a fulfilling career in media looks like.

Congratulations Mary Sue!

Have good news of national significance? Let us know at

FAI Staff Updates

Leah Watts is the newest addition to the Folk Alliance family and joins the Kansas City staff as Administrative Assistant. Her name will be familiar to many as she was FAI's summer intern last year. Leah recently graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Music Education and previously interned at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). She is a singer/songwriter who has had the opportunity to sing the US National Anthem at Kansas City Royals baseball games.

"I'm so excited to begin my working journey with such a great non-profit organization!"

Click here for a complete staff listing. 

Regional Updates

FAI has five regions who each hold their own conference annually. Our thanks and congratulations to all the Directors and volunteers who produce these events.

The next regional conference is SERFA and takes place May 19-22 at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, NC. For registration information visit:

Official Showcase applications are currently open for FARM (deadline of May 31) and NERFA (deadline of June 1).

For details on all regions, their conference dates and applications:
FAI Staff and Board members look forward to saying hello at each of the regional events.

A Member Organization Celebrates 30 Years

FAI is delighted to share news that Folk Music Ontario (previously the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals) will celebrate their 30th this fall. The annual Canadian conference features showcases, exhibits, networking, mentorship, awards, and a keynote presentation. This year's event will be held October 20-23, 2016 in Ottawa.

FMO has welcomed many American and International delegates and showcase artists wishing to connect with Canadian festivals and clubs over the years.

Official Showcase Applications and discounted registration are available until May 31at

Does your organization have a major milestone to celebrate? Let us know at

Donations and FAI's In-Kind Wish List

Folk Alliance International is a federal charity that relies on revenue from registration, membership, advertising, sponsorships, grants, and donations to operate. FAI delivers its mission year-round through advocacy, public outreach, promotion of folk music nationally and internationally, hosts an educational public music camp, a public folk festival, an artist in residence program, and a premier global folk music conference. FAI also provides group exemption to over 50 organizations in order for them to operate as 501c3 charities who in turn can issue tax receipts.

As a charity FAI welcomes in-kind donations of goods and services that help keep operating costs, registration, and membership fees as low as they are.

The following is an in-kind wish list for the FAI office. FAI will provide a tax deduction letter in exchange for anything you or your organization is not using and wishes to donate.

  • AV cart
  • High lumen projector
  • 16x9 (or larger) free-standing screen
  • PA system (speakers, stands, mixer)
  • Smart Board (for the office)
  • Polycom-style conference phone (for the office)
  • An apartment-sized refrigerator (for the office)
  • Dishwasher (for the office)
  • 10x20 outdoor tent (with or without walls)
  • Use of a 15-passenger van or mini-van for the conference week (Feb. 13-20, 2017)
Tax deductible US donations can be made online.
Contributions to FAI's scholarship programs can also be made online.

Follow this link to see a list of FAI Donors for 2015-16 (Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2016).

Job Board

Communications Coordinator - DEADLINE Friday May 20, 5pm
Folk Alliance International
Kansas City, MO
>> link to job posting

Have a job opening you want included? Email


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Thanks to Our Funders!

All 2016 sponsors & donors are listed at
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Contact Us: Folk Alliance International, 509 Delaware #101, Kansas City MO 64105

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