Who are we?
Folk Alliance International (FAI) is an international arts nonprofit and NEA-designated National Arts Service Organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Founded in 1989, we’re a community of passionate and driven artists, managers, agents, DJs, festivals, record labels, fans, and more. We exist to keep the tradition of folk music thriving through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
Folk is more than just a genre of music. We’re committed to the ethos of folk by creating a welcoming and inclusive space for all, no matter what it takes. We understand the value of folk music and where it fits in with the broader arts community and have dedicated our lives and careers to pushing the genre forward and breaking boundaries.
We’ve built our community over the years to now include an expanded global network of more than 3,000 cultural sector entrepreneurs and leaders.
Through our responsive programming built on the foundation of community building, and dedicated resources intended to support those who create this art form we love, we hope to continue sharing the music of the people for years to come.
So… what is folk music?
Folk is the music of the people, reflective of any community they are from. It’s the banjo traditions that originated in Africa, it’s mariachi ensembles, and it’s electronic-infused fiddle tunes. We don’t limit folk to any one genre or group of instruments.
At its roots, folk music is how people have shared their stories through time that have survived long enough to be sung generations later.
FAI programs a diverse array of sub-genres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco, and various fusions.
Folk Alliance International’s mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
Folk Alliance International’s vision is to advocate for the folk music community; create thoughtful, intentional growth; be a respected organization within the music industry; and continue to produce high profile, meaningful events.
FAI values diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, strives to ensure gender parity in all its programming, celebrates multiple languages and cultures, and actively welcomes participation from marginalized, disenfranchised, and underrepresented communities.
We believe that greater diversity throughout the organization allows Folk Alliance International to:
Build a more creative and compassionate community. Folk music has historically been inclusionary at all levels and by nature brings community together. It has often been a part of movements for social and political change.
Spur awareness of other cultures and perspectives. We value sharing knowledge and conducting ourselves in a respectful manner. Interaction with a broader membership base introduces us to traditions from different countries and regions, along with perspectives of sub-communities within Folk Alliance International. Openness to and acceptance of these varied interests and perspectives will lead to greater inclusion and participation.
Provide enhanced opportunities for the organization and members. These additional viewpoints and communities will support our intrinsic value by fostering international and multi-cultural understanding, allowing FAI to make a greater impact in the music community and the world at large.
We also believe that bringing greater diversity to the organization will challenge our assumptions while revealing our similarities. It will have indefinable, intangible, and unpredictable effects. The costs of international expansion are worthwhile and of value.
Harassment and Discrimination
As emphatically as we welcome people of all national, geographic, cultural, ethnic, social, economic, gender, sexuality, orientation, mobility, and other forms of diversity to our events and organization, we also wish to express our rejection of discrimination and harassment.
As defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): “Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).” In accordance with US law, our board recently adopted refined language regarding harassment in our employee handbook. For reference, please see the way FAI defines and informs our staff of this important issue. We encourage our membership to adopt similar policies in their places of work and to adhere to this standard at their events.
Please see our Safe Community Pledge for more information about what to do in the event of harassment or discrimination at any music event, conference, venue, or festival.
We are constantly seeking new ways to welcome and support creators, helpers, and lovers of folk music worldwide. If you have any questions or comments about these belief statements or anything related to Folk Alliance International, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.