Kansas City, MO (February 21, 2018) – Folk Alliance International (FAI) broke attendance records for a second straight year as it celebrated 30 years of community and song during the organization’s annual five-day conference February 14-18, at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO. View the photo gallery from the conference week.

From its humble beginnings at the first meeting in Malibu in 1989 with 130 people in attendance, to 2018’s recording breaking 2,750 attendees from 25 countries, the organization has firmly solidified its mission to nurture, engage, and empower the folk music community.

Kicking off with the International Folk Music Awards Show, held at the historic Folly Theater for the first time, the 30th annual FAI Conference included daily professional development panels and workshops, 180 nightly Official Showcase performances, over 3,000 Private Showcase listening room sessions, 3,050 registered industry leaders, artists and media, and over 1,000 first-timers.

“We couldn’t be happier with the attendance, program, and response to our 30th conference. Our goals were to honor the past, celebrate the present, and firmly set course for the future; we met them in spades. Onward to Montréal in 2019,” said Executive Director Aengus Finnan.

Bringing together global music leaders, musicians, educators, and industry professionals to share ideas, network, and promote folk music; the annual Folk Alliance International conference is the world’s largest gathering of the folk community. It is a unique annual event and is known for its community atmosphere, nurturing ethos, and as an industry hotspot for new talent discovery.

Conference highlights included:

International Folk Music Awards Show: Featuring performances and appearances by Ruthie Foster, John Oates, Guy Davis, Giri and Uma Peters, The Kingston Trio, and Anais Mitchell.

International Folk Music Awards: Presented awards for Lifetime Achievement, Spirit of Folk, and member-voted ‘Best of 2017’ for Album, Song, and Artist of the Year. In a permanent commitment to honor the socially conscious roots of folk music, the People’s Voice and the Clearwater Awards were also presented to Bonnie Raitt and the Winnipeg Folk Festival, respectively. Three inductions were made into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame.

Guest speakers included Mary Chapin Carpenter, Richard Thompson, and John Oates.

Artist in Residence program, The Musical Matrix: Music, Math and Media Arts featuring Henry Nam explored the connection between music, sound, mathematics, and art.

CommUNITY gathering addressing Harassment and Discrimination in the Music Industry. A helpful bystander training was facilitated by MOCSA and The DB Approach.

Showing Up for Racial Justice facilitated a training teaching tangible skills to discuss and disrupt white privilege.

Committing to a Safe Music Community pledge created by FAI’s Advocacy Committee was signed by hundreds of conference attendees including the Board of Directors.

First-ever Global Summits: peer sessions to create deeper connections that help establish and maintain the rich ecology of folk music.

Community Outreach to Children’s Mercy Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

* Three-day Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp featuring 43 instructors teaching 78 distinct classes.

* Third Annual Kansas City Folk Festival featuring four stages of local, national, and international talent, including GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, legendary conjunto musician Flaco Jiménez with Max Baca and Los TexManiacs, and an artisan market.


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