Folk Alliance International’s 32nd conference heads to the vibrant port city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the birthplace of jazz, home to cajun and zydeco music, beignets, and Mardi Gras. The international music event takes place January 22 - 26, 2020, at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on Canal Street and will feature four days of artist showcases, industry panels, mentoring sessions, networking events, a global summit series, artist in residence program, awards show and more. Visit folk.org/conference for more information.
The Folk Alliance International (FAI) conference is the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community, with over 2800 delegates from 35 countries. The annual event includes daytime panels, business accelerators, career-development sessions, industry meet-ups, community gatherings, and evening artist showcases. Also featured are notable programs including the Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp, the International Folk Music Awards, an Artists in Residence program, and community outreach to schools, hospitals and community centers.
The 2020 conference theme is “The Story of People and Place” and will explore ideas of diversity, inclusion, immigration, intersection, and influence. As a historical center of trade, New Orleans has long been a setting for people to overcome language and cultural barriers by connecting through music and cuisine. With the theme as a guide, the conference will highlight collaboration and how place impacts shared identities, art, and forms of expression. Ultimately each person has a story (especially as folk artists) of who they are, where they are from, and how the places they live in shape them.
Reid Wick, Sr. Membership & Project Manager at the RECORDING ACADEMY and Board member of FAI explains, “the entire region is a hotbed of musical history talent, and we have major developments in the music industry at a city and state level that dovetail perfectly with the arrival of this global event.”
A platform for luminaries and rising stars, FAI’s 180 jury-selected Official Showcases are diverse in sound, culture, geography, and language. Artists perform for hundreds of festivals and venue bookers, agents, managers, labels, media, and music industry representatives. The curated showcases are 30- minute sets on full production stages featuring touring and export-ready artists representing a diverse array of folk genres including Appalachian, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Cajun, Celtic, Francophone, Global Roots, Indie-Folk, Indigenous, Latin, Old-Time, Traditional, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Zydeco, and every imaginable fusion.
Past conference keynote speakers include Vice President Al Gore, Graham Nash, Bob Lefsetz, Rita Coolidge, Commander Chris Hadfield, Judy Collins, Ani DiFranco, Richard Thompson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Billy Bragg. The 2019 conference keynote speaker is Tanya Tagaq.
High profile artists from previous conferences include John Oates, Peggy Seeger, Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers, Lake Street Dive, Rhiannon Giddens with The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lhasa de Sela, AHI, Béla Fleck, Sarah Jarosz, The Milk Carton Kids, The War and Treaty, Darlingside, The Stray Birds, Valerie June, John Fullbright, The Wailin’ Jennys, Kaia Kater, The Waifs, and Nickel Creek.
“Coming on heels of our Montreal edition, there is no better host location than NOLA to celebrate and elevate the diversity of our growing contemporary folk music community” states Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of FAI.
About Folk Alliance International
Folk Alliance International (FAI) is a registered nonprofit based in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1989, FAI is an advocacy, professional development, and networking organization that produces the world’s largest conference of the folk music community and industry. Guided by a mission “to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion,” FAI serves over international 3,000 members and five regional affiliate organizations in North America.