Several thousand people are expected to converge on New York City, Jan. 15-19, for the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). Now in its 59th year, the global performing arts marketplace and conference will feature more than 1000 artist showcases, a large EXPO Hall featuring nearly 400 exhibitors, networking opportunities galore, daily plenary sessions and keynote speakers, and a wide array of professional development workshops and forums. Plenaries and select sessions will live stream free for industry professionals, artists and the public.

The theme for the 2016 conference is Makers – recognizing the craft and contributions of performing artists and all who are critical to the process of making art and bringing live performances to communities worldwide. The conference coincides with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, and some sessions will focus on the performing arts as they relate to resolving societal challenges posed by conflict, violence social injustices, racial and religious discourse, poverty, and humanitarian crises, as well as opportunities for collaboration. Conference subthemes include Make Art, Make a Difference, Make Decisions, and Make Money.

“APAP members – artists, presenters and industry leaders – view APAP/NYC as an indispensible tool for conducting the business of performing arts, but when our members gather in New York city, non-members and enthusiasts wanting a glimpse inside the business of performing arts presenting also benefit,” said Mario Garcia Durham, APAP’s president and CEO. He cited pre-conference public events on Thursday and Friday (including the Wavelengths: APAP Global Music Pre-Conference featuring workshops, panels discussions and artist pitch sessions arranged by music PR firm Rock Paper Scissors) and the live streaming of select conference activities via that began with last year’s conference. For information on the plenaries and other sessions to be live-streamed and to find a link to RSVP to them, visit

Folk and Roots Artists to Showcase Their Talents

As in years past, 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 conference. Among them will be string-band duo The Aching Heart, Punjabi vocalist Kiran Ahlywolia, singer-songwriter Kristen Andreassen (with Jefferson Hamer), Asleep at the Wheel (masters of western swing), rollicking roadhouse blues singer and pianist Marcia Ball, Balsam Range (2014 IBMA Entertainers of the Year), Birds of Chicago, Blind Boys of Alabama, Grammy Award-winning banjo player Alison Brown, Buckwheat Zydeco, the rollicking Washington, DC-based roots music ensemble Bumper Jacksons, Caladh Nua from Ireland, Colcannon (Irish music), DakhaBraha (Ukrainian folkdrone Bjorkpunk quartet), indie-folk quartet Darlingside, Newfoundland harmonic duo Ennis Sisters, female international roots vocal trio EVA, Lauren Fox’s “The Songs of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen,” The Grahams, The Hillbenders Present The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, The Hunts (Virginia-based band of siblings), Isle of Lesbos (klezmer), Bettye LaVette, Los Llaneros (music of the Colombian and Venezuelan savannas), Makem & Spain (continuing the Irish tradition), Matuto (a NYC-based Brazilian bluegrass ensemble), Metropolitan Klezmer, David Orlowsky Trio (klezmer), singer-songwriter Eliza Paltouf, Americana band Parsonsfield, jig-rockers The Prodigals, singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez, Samite of Uganda, folk-rock jam band The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, New Orleans’ The Subdudes, Celtic-Americana duo Switchback, singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, and the French-Acadian party music of Vishten.

Ken Waldman, Alaska's fiddling poet,  performs and hosts showcases during the APAP Conference.

Ken Waldman, Alaska’s fiddling poet, performs and hosts showcases during the APAP Conference.

Alaska-based fiddler and poet Ken Waldman presents “From Red Hook to the Real Alaska” and “From Manhattan to Moose Pass” roots music variety showcases featuring a number of acts at Brooklyn’s Jalopy Theatre on Thursday night and at the Manhattan nightclub Don’t Tell Mama on Friday. Featured artists include The Aching Hearts (Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells), Anna & Elizabeth, Riley Baugus, Corn Potato String Band, Ken’s Class party, Ken Waldman & The Secret Visitors, Evie Ladin & Keith Terry, Mo Mojo, and Richie Stearns & Rosie Newton. A FOLQUEBEC Trad Fest on Saturday night at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre at the West Side YMCA, organized in partnership with the Quebec Government Office in New York, will feature performances by Quebecois artists Nicolas Pellerin et Les Grands Hurleurs, Yves Lambert Trio and Melisande [electrotrad], as well as a reception. Gilles Garand, FOLQUEBEC’s leader, also hosts a World Trad Forum networking meeting on Friday afternoon, from 2-3 p.m., at the Sheraton New York.

Randy Noojin portrays Woody Guthrie in "Hard Travelin' with Woody"

Randy Noojin portrays Woody Guthrie in “Hard Travelin’ with Woody,” a one-man multimedia show.

Artists in various other musical genres also will showcase their talents, while there will also be comedy, dance and theatrical showcases. Randy Noojin will present excerpts from Hard Travelin’ with Woody – his one-man multimedia show featuring the music and artwork of Woody Guthrie, while Tayo Alukp will share excerpts from Call Mr. Robeson: A Life, with Songs (a one-man show about Paul Robeson).

Conference exhibition halls will again teem with booking agents and presenters eager to speak with them, and there’ll be a whole lot of networking opportunities.

A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, APAP is a national service, advocacy and membership organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenters field and the professionals who work within it.