The Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA) hosts its annual conference at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Austin, Texas, Sept. 27-30. Attendees – primarily performing artists, presenters, managers, agents and others engaged more than peripherally in the world of folk and acoustic music – will enjoy open mics, showcases and shared meals; be enlightened during daytime seminars, panel discussions and one-on-one mentoring sessions; and have an opportunity to forge new relationships, renew existing ones, and help build folk community.

Suzie Vinnick

Artists selected to perform Official Showcases on Friday night, Sept. 28, include Michael Johnson, Barbara Nesbitt, Dana Cooper, Suzie Vinnick, Batdorf & Stanley, Jaime Michaels, The Flyin’ A’s, and Gleny Rae Virus & Her Tamworth Playboys. Saturday night’s official showcase lineup will feature Brad Colerick, Natalie Gelman, The Hems, Ernest Troost, The Sea The Sea, Tom Prasada-Rao, Tommy Eiskes, and Claudia Russell & the Folk Unlimited Orchestra. Alternates include Paper Moon Shiners, Cary Cooper, Moors and McCumber, Nicolette Good, Alicia McGovern, Terry Holder, Michael Jerome Browne, and Honor Finnegan.

In addition to the Official Showcases, various artists, presenters and others will host afternoon and late-night showcases in their hotel rooms; Charlie Stewart and Paul Barker will host showcases for SWRFA Conference first-timers, and singer-songwriter Butch Morgan will host open mics by the pool.

A number of informative seminars and panel discussions are on the agenda during the daytime hours on such topics as radio programming and social media, health and wellness for musicians, performance opportunities outside the box, songwriting, focus on venues, and useful resources for the music community.

The conference begins Thursday evening with an open mic by the pool, followed by an Official Showcase Alternates Showcase. A short welcoming party is planned for Friday, while the conference concludes on Sunday with a brunch, followed by SWRFA’s popular song assignment performances. All artists who are registered for the conference are given a random song topic to write during the weekend and perform on Sunday afternoon.

Although focused on the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, the SWRFA Conference draws people from throughout the U.S. and Canada. SWRFA ( is part of the larger Folk Alliance International, an association that seeks to foster and promote multicultural, traditional and contemporary folk music, while strengthening and advancing organizational and individual initiatives in folk music and dance through education, networking, advocacy, and professional and field development.