Thank you for another amazing year!

Post-Conference Report:

36th Annual Folk Alliance International Conference 2023

As our community continues to adjust to the changes of the pandemic, this was a special year of re-growth and community building. This year’s conference felt more familiar and like coming home than we’ve experienced in a while! Special guests and an increased global presence made the conference look more like the event we’ve all come to know and love for years.

Attendees

Attendees

Countries

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Venezuela, Wales

Countries

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Venezuela, Wales

Focusing on Sustainability

This year’s conference theme, Facing the Future: Sustainability in Folk Music, was weaved throughout conference programming and centered on the topic of sustainability as it relates to both our natural environment and the businesses and careers of the folk music industry.

A dazzling keynote by Valerie June

Valerie June charmed attendees with her inspiring and motivating keynote about art, creativity, and the beautiful world around us.

Official Showcases

We were blown away by the diverse talent of our Official Showcase lineup, featuring artists from 20+ countries showcasing the music of various genres including bluegrass, blues, Americana, Celtic, global roots, and many more.
 

Pictured: Rainbow Girls

Private Showcases

Private Showcases are always a unique and fun way for attendees to discover new artists from many pockets of the world, and this year was no exception.

 

Pictured: Grain Thief

A dazzling keynote by Valerie June

Valerie June charmed attendees with her inspiring and motivating keynote about art, creativity, and the beautiful world around us.

Photo of the Rainbow Girls performing

Official Showcases

We were blown away by the diverse talent of our Official Showcase lineup, featuring artists from 20+ countries showcasing the music of various genres including bluegrass, blues, Americana, Celtic, global roots, and many more.

Pictured: Rainbow Girls

Private Showcases

Private Showcases are always a unique and fun way for attendees to discover new artists from many pockets of the world, and this year was no exception.

Pictured: Grain Thief

Agent/Presenter Networking Meetings

One-on-One Meetings

Panels and Premiere Presentations

Attendee Breakdown

  • Artist 49% 49%
  • Industry 26% 26%
  • Associate 11% 11%
  • Presenter 9% 9%
  • Media 6% 6%

Presenter Breakdown

  • Festival 40% 40%
  • Concert Series 27% 27%
  • Venue 17% 17%
  • House 16% 16%
International Folk Music Awards 2023

This year’s International Folk Music Awards highlighted the achievements of our international folk music community, and featured some incredible special guests — the show even wrapped up with a surprise performance by The Milk Carton Kids and Iris Dement!

Photo of 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, Living recipient, Janis Ian

Artist of the Year

Janis Ian

 In addition to her Lifetime Achievement Award honor, iconic folk singer Janis Ian received the FAI member-voted Artist of the Year award.

Album of the Year sponsored by Rounder Records

 Crooked Tree by Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway

 

Bluegrass star Molly Tuttle took the prize for 2022 Album of the Year. This is her second IFMAs honoree, having received the designation for Song of the Year in 2017 as well.

 

“Bright Star” by Anaïs Mitchell

 

This year we had our first tie in the Song of the Year category: both Aoife O’Donovan and Anaïs Mitchell, longtime community members and beloved widely, received this honor for their songwriting.

Song of the Year winner, Aoife O'Donovan for her song, "B61"

 

“B61” by Aoife O’Donovan

 

This year we had our first tie in the Song of the Year category: both Aoife O’Donovan and Anaïs Mitchell, longtime community members and beloved widely, received this honor for their songwriting.

All of this year’s award recipients…

Shambala Festival

 

Leyla McCalla

 

People's Voice Award

Alisa Amador

 

Janis Ian

 

Josh White

1914 – 1969

 

Lifetime Achievement Award, Legacy

 

The award was accepted by his son Josh White Jr.

Oh Boy Records

 

Lifetime Achievement Award, Business/Academic Recipient

 

The award was accepted by Fiona Whelan-Prine (the late John Prine’s wife) and Jody Whelan (their eldest son)

Steve Edge

 

Spirit of Folk Award

 

Amy Reitnouer Jacobs

 

Spirit of Folk Award

 

Marcy Marxer

 

Spirit of Folk Award

 

Harry B. Soria Jr.

 

Folk DJ Hall of Fame Award

 

Pat Mitchell Worley

 

Spirit of Folk Award

 

John Platt

 

Folk DJ Hall of Fame Award

 

Marilyn Rea Beyer 

 

Folk DJ Hall of Fame Award

Adrian Sabogal

 

Spirit of Folk Award

 

Robert Resnik

 

Folk DJ Hall of Fame Award

 

Photo of Lilli Lewis speaking on stage

Black American Music Summit

What’s Next

The very first Black American Music Summit was a joyous gathering that carved space for the Black members of our community to connect with each other and share experiences of navigating the music industry.

Folk+

Virtual Conference

Folk+ was our first two-day virtual micro-conference! Designed to be an add-on to the in-person event, it allowed folks who couldn’t travel to our conference or wanted to continue connecting with the community to attend a fun virtual event. More than 200 people attended, and the event featured special group gatherings like a climate solution incubator and Peer Sessions on strengthening collaborative networks. Folk+ wrapped up with a fun open mic session hosted by Dan Navarro.

 

We’re excited about the opportunities we have to continue bringing the community together virtually in the future!

Cary Morin + Friends of the Kaw

Artist in Residence

Colorado-based blues musician Cary Morin performed the song he wrote inspired by his experience floating and fly fishing down the Kaw River, a vital water source and the largest prairie-based river system in the world.

Janis Ian

Janis Ian took the conference by storm this year! In addition to her multiple appearances during the International Folk Music Awards, Janis gave an informal, intimate talk followed by a Q&A during “Janis Ian: In Her Own Words”. She shared lessons learned during her six decades of working as a singer-songwriter and spoke about what being an artist in the folk community means to her.

Rooted Reckoning and Radical Reimagination

As part of our lineup of Premiere Presentations this year, Rooted Reckoning and Radical Reimagination: Confronting the Climate Emergency was a special conversation with Sam Lee, Jake Blount, Jeneda Benally, and Clayson Benally. They envisioned what a just climate movement embodies, explored ideas of civil resistance and collective leadership, and discussed how Indigenous ways of knowing might be respectfully centered as mapways towards climate recovery.

Affinity Groups

Cultivating Community

Now in its fifth year, our Affinity Groups program continued to be an essential community-building aspect of our conference. Folks with shared identities came together to support each other and meet new people in the community.

Peer Sessions

Deepening Connections

Peer Sessions are a highlight of the conference, featuring breakout sessions of specific industry roles (like artists, agents, and festival bookers) connecting over specific topics and sharing resources and ideas with each other.

CommUNITY Gathering

This year’s CommUNITY Gathering focused on the future: FAI has exciting plans with new leadership to move our mission and vision forward, always with community at the forefront of our growth.

Mary Gauthier

In this captivating interview conducted by Marilyn Rea Beyer, Mary Gauthier pulled back the curtain on the artistry of songwriting and shared the journey she took in writing “Saved By a Song: The Art and Healing Power Songwriting”.

Songs of Hope, Songs of Change

This year’s Sunday closing concert was a well-attended and uplifting event, where attendees shared inspiring songs to leave the conference on a high note.

Watch the Conference on YouTube!

We have a full playlist on YouTube of our captivating 2023 programming, with more content on the way! Watch the full playlist and subscribe for updates as we release more from the conference.

Thank you Volunteers!

 

Patterson Barrett, Tony Behrendt, Scott Benson, Betty Berry, Lynn Bielecki, Catherine  Black, Alan Bowes, Liz Boyer, Zach Bozeman, Lyndsey Brainerd, Christine Butchart, Evan Campfield, Angie Cannon, John Casey, Peter Chintis, Rachel Christia, Corey Clark, Jay Coleman, Teri Collins, Kathleen Connors, Brandon Day, Telea Dodge, Shelly Doucet, Christina Ericka, Mehuman Ernst, Brian Fees, Robert Foreman, Mary Fowler, Lona Fox, Phil Franklin, Susan Frazier, Carol Gard, Joey Diana Gates, Bethany Gray, Connie Gray, Al Haeger, William Haight, Kristin Hamilton, David Harmsen, Lesilie Harmsen, John Hatch, Jean Hatfield, Mark Haug, Elaine Hayden, Desiree Holtz, Barney Hubert, Sariyah Idan, Laurie Jarski, David Jeffery, Marcia Johnson, Karen Jones, Ronald Keehn, Michael Kerr, Austin Kessler, Michelle Kester, Jen Kiper, Olive Klug, Conrad Knab, Nancy Knab, Ron Lamendola, David Longoria, Jim Luchsinger, David Luther, Tiffany MacNeil, Rodger McBride, Ayla McDonald , Cathleen McMahon, Jim Meckel, Nancy Meis, Stephene Moore, Terry Moore, Terry Mutchler, Fanaka Ndege, David Parks, Michael Praetorius, Charles Ragsdell, Mary Randolph, Jeff Reece, Trevor Renteria, Jessica Riggins, Louann Rinner, Chris Ruder, Michael Sandbothe, Trisha Leone Sandora, Charles Schulte, Nikia Schulte, Timothy Sheffield, Joan Silver , Carlene Smith, Jeffrey Smith, Lynn Snyder, Lorenze Sparks, Eric Steck, Heather Styka, Randy Styka, Alicia Thao, Adrian Toader, Tom Troyer, Rocky Valentine, Michael Varner, Jake Viache, Laura Jane Vincent, Phillip Vonesh, Zia Wallach, Bob Weiser, Chris Wenske, Laurie White, Grace Wright, Jeffrey Yeckel, Paul Zimmerman

Thank you Sponsors!