There is no shortage of music, talent or heart at the 24th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference. Singer-Songwriters, artists, gypsies, an array of musical instruments and lyrical styles takes over the downtown Marriott of Memphis, TN. We will, we will folk you!
Full of first-time rodeo cowboys and old-time favorites, attendees comb the hallways of the hotel. Buzzing from videos, to live music, to panel discussions… they are in search of a fix for their musical soul. In the distance you can hear fiddles, banjos, and snare buckets giving a rhythm to this conference that is like no other.
What is Folk Music?
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century but is often applied to music that is older than that. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. This music is also referred to as traditional music and, in US, as “roots music.”
The International Folk Alliance conference is an annual event that draws together music industry professionals from throughout the world to share ideas, network, and celebrate traditional music and dance. It is an event of celebration, education, and entertainment. Held over five days, the Conference includes:
- Over 2000 registered attendees
- Over 50 workshops, panel discussions, and peer group meetings that address critical issues relating to presenting, promoting, and preserving folk and traditional music and dance.
- 100+ industry exhibitors
- Special events, such as the Folk Music & Business Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, networking receptions, official Performance Alley and private showcase performances, feature shows, exhibit hall, block booking sessions, Memphis Tours, community outreach concerts, etc.
- 200 official juried performances (Performance Alley)
- 300+ unofficial private showcases
From showcases in the hallways, official showcase rooms, and nightly private rooms, musicians are pouring out their hearts and leaving their lyrics tucked in the walls of the hotel. Groups like The Cumberland Collective or The Roys are some of the featured acts to be seen. Individual artists and groups sing their songs from deep within their spirits in hopes of winning over fans, tour partners and booking agents. You never know what magic is going to happen at this conference.
If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year, do yourself a favor – check out the website and think about stopping by next year or learning about how you can join the folk alliance and roll your way down the musical highway of life!