Folk Alliance Region-West (FAR-West) and Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA), regional affiliates of Folk Alliance International, are currently accepting applications for juried showcases during their respective annual conferences this fall. All showcase entries must be submitted online.
The regional events provide useful and enjoyable learning and networking opportunities, not to mention plenty of listening and performing opportunities for artists, presenters, agents and managers, DJs, and others engaged in the folk music field. Booking gigs is a primary objective of some performers who attend these annual conferences, while many presenters and folk DJs come primarily to scout out new artists and those who they have not previously heard and seen in live performance. However, along with other Folk Alliance International regional conferences, the FAR-West and NERFA conferences are much more than that – they are really about forging connections and building community.
FAR-West has set April 20 at 11:59 p.m. PDT as the submissions deadline for its 12 juried Official Showcases that are set to take place during the evenings of Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bellevue, Washington, where its 14th annual conference opens Oct. 5 with a Venues’ Choice Concert. Six artists will showcase their talents during 20-minute sets each night.
Artists are required to submit links to videos of three song performances extending no more than 18 minutes in combined length, along with a $25 fee via PayPal. Videos should be as current as possible and must have a consistent performance presentation that resembles what you bring to the conference. At least two of the videos must be in front of a live audience and show how well your performance engages and connects with the audience.
Judging will be based on performance quality (including talent, musicianship, song craft/song interpretation and other elements that make a showcase-worthy act), not the quality of the videos. However, sound quality is important.
Finalists and alternates will be contacted on or about July 7 and announced on July 18.
Showcase applications, along with more information, guidelines and tips may be found online at www.far-west.org/showcase2017.html.
Online registration for the FAR-West Conference is now open as well. Early-bird registration prices of $160 for Folk Alliance International members, $185 for non-members, and $140 for Canadians is available through May 31. Discounts on top of this also are available for presenters and DJs.
NERFA, which draws the largest number of people to its conferences of any FAI region, is accepting applications for both its juried Formal and Semi-Formal Showcases that are slated for Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 10 and 11, during its 23rd annual four-day conference at the Crowne Plaza in Stamford, Connecticut – a location to which the conference moved last year after many years in New York’s Catskill Mountains region.
NERFA has set the following submission deadlines: June 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST for its Formals, and July 16 at 11:59 p.m. for its newly renamed Semi-Formal. Application forms, may be found in the Annual Four-Day Conference drop-down menu on its website (www.nerfa.org), along with rules, fees and more information.
The14 juried 15-minute Formal Showcases (seven each night) are the premier and most coveted showcase opportunities at the NERFA Conference. Immediately following the Formals, conference goers will shuffle between several rooms to enjoy juried 15-minute Semi-Formal Showcases – 15-20 of which will be scheduled each night. As with the Formals, nothing else is allowed to go on during the Semi-Formal Showcases. Professional sound, lighting and production services are provided for both of these official showcases, while the Fomals will also be mixed, recorded and have a CD produced by a professional sound engineer.
Those applying for Formal and Semi-Formal Showcases must submit three songs in MP3 format, along with a one-page bio and applicable fees ($25 and $45 for the Formals; $15 and $25 for the Semi-Formal – with the higher fees assessed for non-FAI members).
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Folk Alliance International (www.folk.org) — which hosts its annual conference, music camp and fair in February — is a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization that aims to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community – traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy and performance.
Editor’s Note: I serve as president of the NERFA board of directors and am also an elected board member of Folk Alliance International. I have been a workshop presenter, moderator and mentor at FAI, FAR-West and NERFA conferences.