Hybrid conference to be held in-person in Kansas City, MO and online-from-anywhere

Kansas City, MO, December 20, 2021 – Folk Alliance International (FAI), the foremost global nonprofit for folk music, has announced that its 34th annual conference will move from its original February dates to May 18-22, 2022.

A video statement was released late Monday December 20 to all delegates and industry stakeholders:

The sudden announcement was described as a deeply considered action due to growing COVID-19 safety concerns and related conference viability issues.

Last June, FAI committed to producing a hybrid in-person and online event that would exceed all local, state, and national standards for pandemic-related safety and had a modified program planned. The organization also indicated at that time that ongoing and rigorous real-time reviews would take place to make a final decision on whether to move forward or cancel.

The decision to move to May is the result of rising Delta variant cases following Thanksgiving holiday travel and gathering, as well as the arrival of the highly infectious new Omicron variant.

Prior to making the decision, FAI surveyed all of its registered delegates, and conducted meetings with event safety consultants at Majestic Collaborations, the Kansas City Health Department, the Office of Emergency Management, the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center Hotel event planning and security teams, and key stakeholders.

“In many ways the second pandemic year has been much harder to navigate”, stated Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of FAI. “By comparison it was easier to pivot our conference entirely online last year than it has been to navigate all of the issues of trying to safely and viably reconvene in-person.”

The May edition of the hybrid conference will include all of the modified program elements already planned for February, including advance proof of vaccination, recommended boosters where applicable, and a mask mandate during all conference activities onsite.

FAI had previously announced 137 Official Showcase artists, including Kyshona, Michaela Anne, Livingston Taylor, Waahli, Anna Tivel, Charly Lowry, Lilli Lewis, American Patchwork Quartet, LÓN, The Small Glories, Digawolf, Eliza Gilkyson, Sawyer Fredericks, Danny Schmidt, Declan O’Rourke, Los Texmaniacs, O’Connor Lee, Steve Poltz, and The Accidentals. Full list here.

Application for press credentials (online or in-person).

The 2022 conference theme is Living Traditions and will showcase various regional, national and international traditional folk music forms in performance as well as panel presentations. In addition to the NEA-funded Folklorists’ Summit, presented in collaboration with the American Folklore Society, an online summit will be convened on the topic of Centering Disability in the Music Industry. Other confirmed programming offerings include an event-preparedness Art of Mass Gathering full-day training session, Wisdom of the Elders, and Preserving Traditions. The theme will explore topics of music preservation, migration, evolution, and authenticity, presented in panels, performances, keynotes, screenings, and discussions.

About Folk Alliance International

Founded in 1989, and governed by a 21-member board of directors, Folk Alliance International (FAI) is the world’s largest membership organization for the folk music industry and community. Its mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
FAI values diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, is committed to gender parity in all its programming, celebrates multiple languages and cultures, and actively welcomes participation from marginalized, disenfranchised, and underrepresented communities.
FAI defines folk broadly as “the music of the people” (reflective of any community they are from), and programs a diverse array of sub-genres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco, and various fusions.
FAI produces the International Folk Music Awards (IFMAs), an Artist in Residence (AIR) program, The Folk ExChange global market development program, the Ethno USA gathering, and the world’s largest annual folk music conference (drawing 3,332 delegates from 41 countries in January 2020).
Past Artist in Residence partnerships include UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, the WWI Museum, Kansas City Ballet, the Kansas City Police Department, the Topeka Women’s Correctional Facility, UMKC’s Mathematics Dept., and the KC Art Institute.

Additionally, FAI provides advocacy, education, and professional development for over 4000 members, and oversees an IRS Group Exemption program in support of over 50 US non-profits.
For more information, please contact Marisa Kolb at marisa@folk.org.

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