15590878_10154797487818334_3260903741533013130_oFebruary 1 is the deadline for receipt of applications from artists seeking official showcase opportunities during the 2017 Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA) Conference, slated for Wednesday-Sunday, May 17-21, at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Black Mountain and Asheville. An extended weekend of contemporary and traditional folk music, networking, and educational sessions, the conference attracted 250 people last spring.

The official showcases take place Thursday-Saturday from 7-10 p.m., with each artists/act performing a 15-minute set. In addition, the conference will feature a keynote address by Grammy Award-winning folk-country singer Kathy Mattea, late-night guerilla showcases from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., informational seminars and workshops, a Wisdom of the Elders session, informal jamming, one-on-one mentoring, exhibit space, and plenty of opportunities to learn, share and network. Conference attendees also can enjoy strolling around the beautiful grounds and hiking along the trails at Montreat.

More information and official showcase applications may be found at www.serfa.org, There is a $35 showcase application fee, and all applicants will be notified of the selections by March 15.

Early-bird registration for the conference, priced at $95 for Folk Alliance International members and $125 for non-members (not including lodging and meals) opens Jan. 2, while there are deeper discounts for presenters and folk DJs. A rate equivalent to the early-bird discount will be available to Official Showcase applicants after March 15.

SERFA is a regional affiliate of Folk Alliance International (www.folk.org), a Kansas City, MO-based nonprofit organization that seeks to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community – traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy and performance. SERFA serves the southeastern U.S. plus the Caribbean.

Here’s a link to a short video that provides an introduction to SERFA and its annual conference:


Editor’s Note: An elected board member of Folk Alliance International and president of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance board of directors, I have been an active participant at SERFA conferences since 2011 – hosting guerilla showcases, mentoring and serving as a panelist.