Folk Alliance International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Folk Alliance International
FAI-Logo TextVertical website.jpg
Abbreviation FAI
Formation 1989
Type non-profit music organization
Purpose folk music advocacy, education and performance
Headquarters Kansas City, Missouri
Executive Director
Aengus Finnan

Folk Alliance International (previously the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance) is a non-profit organization that produces an annual conference that is the world's largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. Founded in 1989, FAI is an advocacy, professional development and networking organization, and is one of the five largest music conferences in North America. As of 2016, FAI has a membership of approximately 3,000, and a budget of $1,000,000 USD.

Members include record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, music support services, manufacturers and artists that work in the folk music industry.

Aengus Finnan is the current executive director, who joined the organization in July 2014. FAI currently has 7 full time staff members, and 8 contract staff members who work for the organization from various international locations.

Folk Alliance International[edit]

Folk Alliance International (FAI) is now the official name of the former North American Folk Music & Dance Alliance. Their headquarters are currently in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference has been in Kansas City since 2014 and will remain there through 2018.

Folk Alliance International has five regional affiliates that provide conferences in their respective markets: Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA), Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM), Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA), Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West), and Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA). FAI defines 'folk' as "anything rooted in tradition, indigenous to one's culture. The organization consists of a large variety of songwriters, storytellers, bluegrass, blues, soul, old-time, traditional, global roots and world music, spoken word, Celtic, cajun," etc.

In addition to the conference, FAI provides a range of member benefits, including a non-profit group exemption program for U.S.-based organizations, an FAI/PRO House Concert Agreement Program, and Visa Writing Services. They also offer to their membership special discounts with various companies covering insurance, publications, travel, and manufacturers.

Annual conference[edit]

The annual conference is an event that draws together music industry professionals from throughout the world to share ideas, network, and showcase emerging, mid-career, and legendary artists. Held over five days, the conference includes a keynote speaker, awards shows, over 2,400 registered attendees from 18 countries, 75 exhibitors, 150 panels & workshops, 200 juried official showcases, and over 2,800 private showcases held late at night. The conference is always held at a local hotel, and while in Kansas City has been at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.

Each conference typically has a theme. The 2017 theme is Forbidden Folk, and is meant to "celebrate activism in art and look at the ways folk music has, in the past and currently, played a role in labor movements, the civil movements, environmental movements, pacifist movements and political movements as the voice of the people".[1]

2017 Conference Artwork

List of conferences[edit]

List of past and future conferences(as available).[2]

Year City Venue
1989 Malibu, California Camp Hess Kramer
1990 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Howard Johnson North
1991 Chicago, Illinois Holiday Inn, O'Hare
1992 Calgary, Alberta Marlborough Inn
1993 Tucson, Arizona Ramada, Downtown
1994 Boston, Massachusetts 57 Park Plaza
1995 Portland, Oregon Red Lion, Lloyd Center
1996 Washington, D.C. Renaissance Hotel
1997 Toronto Westin Harbour, Castle Hotel
1998 Memphis, Tennessee Cook Convention Center/Crowne Plaza
1999 Albuquerque, New Mexico Albuquerque Convention Center/Hyatt
2000 Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Convention Center/Sheraton
2001 Vancouver, British Columbia Hyatt Regency, Vancouver
2002 Jacksonville, Florida Adam's Mark Jacksonville
2003 Nashville, Tennessee Renaissance Hotel
2004 San Diego, California Town & Country Resort
2005 Montreal, Quebec Hyatt Regency Hotel
2006 Austin, Texas Hilton Hotel
2007–2012 Memphis, Tennessee Memphis Marriott Hotel
2013 Toronto Delta Chelsea Hotel
2014–2018 Kansas City, Missouri Westin Hotel Crown Center
2019 Montreal, Quebec Queen Elizabeth Hotel
2020–2025 TBD TBD

Conference themes[edit]

Year Theme
1989–1993 none
1994 Enriching the Folk Community Through Multicultural Diversity
1995 Building Community
1996 Expanding Alliances-- A Capital Idea
1997 Window on Our World
1998 Rich at the Roots
1999 Under One Sky
2000 Spanning the Centuries
2001 Tuned to the World
2002 Southern Exposure
2003 none
2004 One Strong Voice
2005 none
2006 For the Sake of the Song
2007–2014 none
2015 Planet Folk
2016 Cultural Crossroads
2017 Forbidden Folk
2018 30 Years of Community and Song


  1. ^ Janovy, C.J. "Folk Alliance Raises Clenched Fist, With Ukulele, For 2017 Conference in Kansas City". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Past Conferences – Folk Alliance International". Retrieved 10 August 2016.

External links[edit]