Several thousand people are expected to converge on New York City, Jan. 10-14, 2014, for the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). Now in its 57th year, the global performing arts conference and marketplace will feature more than 1000 artist showcases, a large EXPO Hall featuring nearly 400 exhibitors, daily plenary sessions and keynote speakers, and a wide array of professional development workshops and forums.

The theme for the APAP/NYC 2014 conference is “Shine,” and attending performing arts professionals will be challenged to rise up and direct their creative energy to make a difference in the communities they serve. Professional development sessions will focus on three sub-themes: catalyzing communities, transitioning to new models for connecting to audiences, and making the case for the arts in an ever-shifting landscape. Among the sessions will be one entitled “Presenting Bluegrass: Engaging a New Audience.”

Dozens of performers from the folk, roots and singer-songwriter communities in the U.S., Canada and several other countries will showcase their talents during the multidisciplinary arts business conference. As in years past, exhibition halls will teem with booking agents and presenters eager to speak with them, and there will be a whole lot of networking opportunities.

Abigail Washburn plays the banjo.

Abigail Washburn plays the banjo.

Among the conference’s featured speakers will be Abigail Washburn, an accomplished, globally attuned singer-songwriter and old-time-inspired claw hammer banjo player noted for pairing venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds in her music. Engaged in efforts to enhance U.S. – China relations through music, Washburn will join comedian and author Baratunde Thurston and performance artist Taylor Mac in a Sunday plenary session exploring how the arts illuminate alternative ways to think about and respond to issues that shape our world.

Several pre-conference forums will take place prior to the official start of the APAP Conference. These include a two-day World Music Preconference (Jan. 9-10) organized by marketing firm Rock Paper Scissors that organizers claim is the largest U.S. gathering of world music professionals. It will feature workshops and panel discussions focusing on such music business topics as labels, technology and touring. New developments and tools for professionals in the world music realm also will be highlighted.

A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, APAP is a national service and advocacy organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenters field and the professionals who work within it. More information on the association may be found online at, while more information on the conference is available at will be there and will report on select highlights after the conference.