June 30 is the application deadline for artists who would like to be considered for slots during two nights of juried Premiere Showcases at the 2010 Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West) Conference slated for Oct. 21-24 in San Jose, California.

“Our goal is to present a selection of folk and acoustic acts to our region’s presenters who are ready to play their festivals, venues, coffee house and house concerts,” says Bev Barnett, FAR-West’s vice president and conference director, as well as a singer-songwriter in her own right. “My FAR-West showcase experience could not have been better,” says Beth Wood, a singer-songwriter from Eugene, Oregon, who secured a Premiere Showcase at a prior conference. “I appreciated the opportunity to get a sound check and get familiar with the room in advance. And the sound, crew and logistics volunteers were all professional and very nice to work with.”

Bev Barnett

Barnett acknowledges that applications always far exceed the number of available Premiere Showcases, which makes the selection process difficult for the conference’s panel of judges – who include presenters, previous showcase artists, and a past Best of the West honoree, among others. “But,” she adds, “as many experienced touring artists and presenters alike will tell you, FAR-West is not all about showcasing.” Describing the four-day conference as “a gathering of our tribe,” Barnett says “It’s a chance for artists, presenters and radio programmers alike to network, learn from each other and leave inspired and ready to bring the magic of music into the world once again.” In a statement that is applicable to the other Folk Alliance International regional conferences as well, she adds, “The benefits from attending unfold over time, and multiply each time one returns.”

More information about the conference (for which early-bird registration pricing is available through next month) and showcase application procedures are available online at http://farwest.typepad.com.

FAR-West is the nonprofit Western U.S. regional arm of the Folk Alliance International (www.folk.org). It aims to strengthen folk and acoustic music in the West primarily through its annual conference. Besides the Premiere Showcases and a Suzanne Millsaps Memorial Coffee House room featuring performers in-the-round, there will be a number of late-night private guerilla showcases and jam sessions extending into the wee morning hours, workshops and panel discussions, master classes, and an exhibit hall. The annual “Best of the West” Awards, recognizing one performer and one non-performer who have established themselves as true leaders through their talents and efforts on behalf of the community over a period of time, also will be presented during the conference.