Hybrid in-person/online conference to be held Feb 23-27 in Kansas City, MO/online anywhere

Folk Alliance International, (FAI), the foremost global nonprofit for folk music, has confirmed 137 official showcases for its 34th annual conference being held February 23-27, 2022, in Kansas City, MO. The event will be held in a hybrid format: in person (requiring proof of vaccination to attend) as well as online. More online showcases will be announced closer to the conference.

Full list of Official Showcase performers (subject to change).

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

Artists are confirmed from twenty U.S. states and thirteen countries and are highlighted by the following:

Kyshona Armstrong has sung on Late Night with Steven Colbert and on a TEDxNashville performance. NPR praised her “descriptive songwriting and soulful vocals … Kyshona sings of fear, hope, community, love and understanding.”

NPR Music said, “Michaela Anne is an inspiring artist” while the New York Times described her superb musical footing [in] new oldfangled country.” (online showcase)

The New York Times called Livingston Taylor “magic,” continuing, “[his songs] have a depth you can stick your arm into… There’s something in the way he sings that’s wonderful to hear.” He has written four Top 40 hits and saw his national PBS concert special broadcast in 2019.

Waahli is an artist, musician and member of hip hop collective Nomadic Massive. He is known as a trilingual MC. Following the release of his 1st solo album Black Soap in 2018, Waahli toured the United States and Europe. Recently, he released Soap Opera, an excellent EP, mixing Hip-Hop, Haitian and Afro-Caribbean influences.

“Singer-songwriters are often called poets. In truth, only a few deliver the deep insight and sense of the new that breaking through the predictable achieves. Anna Tivel is one,” said NPR’s Ann Powers. (online showcase)

Proud to be an Indigenous woman belonging to the Lumbee/Tuscarora Tribes, musical powerhouse Charly Lowry from Pembroke, NC, is one of FAI’s Artists In (Their) Residence participants.

Lilli Lewis has performed at the Kennedy Center and her AMERICANAFEST set inspired Rolling Stone Country to say, “Among many highlights was New Orleanian singer-pianist Lewis.”

American Patchwork Quartet sees GRAMMY-winning guitarist/vocalist Clay Ross, three-time GRAMMY-winning drummer Clarence Penn, GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Falu Shah, and acclaimed bassist Yasushi Nakamura showcasing the dynamic diversity by reimagining a repertoire of centuries-old American folk songs that highlight its immigrant roots.

In the new supergroup LÓN, one of Iceland’s most beloved artists, Valdimar Guðmundsson (better known as simply Valdimar), explores his folk roots along with powerhouse performers Ásgeir Aðalsteinsson and Ómar Guðjónsson.

Past International Folk Music Awards Artists of the Year, The Small Glories are the duo Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. Folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss, and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping claw hammer banjo, guitar and harmonica.

Two-time Juno nominee, Digawolf’s music bridges the gap between modernity and tradition. Inspired by his Tlicho culture, Diga’s work is fused with the land and people of Canada’s North. His latest album High Arctic was featured on NPR’s New Music Friday: The Top 10 Albums Out On Nov. 6, 2020, where he was referred to as “an artist you might not know, but should.”

Two-time GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Eliza Gilkyson’s songs have been covered by Roseanne Cash and Joan Baez. (online showcase)

Upstate New York songwriter Sawyer Fredericks won NBC’s The Voice and has won two Independent Music Awards.

Texas Monthly said “It takes great effort to be poetic and not sound forced, and [Danny Schmidt’s] command seems effortless… amazing.” He will join the Welcome To Nightvale tour in 2022.

John Prine called Declan O’Rourke “a great songwriter” and he has played on bills with James Taylor.

GRAMMY-winning band Los Texmaniacs espouses the traditions of Tejano music they grew up with and combines them with elements of blues, rock, country and jazz. NPR said, “This music is not a dusty museum relic, but a vital heartbeat for a group of folks who truly have one foot on either side of the border and live a daily code-switching identity.” (online showcase)

O’Connor Lee (Kate Lee and Forrest O’Connor) earned national recognition as co-lead singers and primary songwriters of the O’Connor Band, whose lone studio album, Coming Home, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and won a GRAMMY Award in 2017. They recently signed to Compass Records.

Irreverent cult favorite, the “talented and prolific songwriter” (NPR) Steve Poltz survived a stroke to make some of the best music of his career.

The Accidentals display a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops,” said Billboard.

Official Showcases are presented and filmed on full production stages in the host hotel ballrooms and posted later for online attendees, while late-night private showcases are held in hotel rooms turned into listening rooms, often without amplification, and will have the option of streaming via the virtual conference platform, Pathable.

FAI previously announced stringent COVID-safety requirements. Capacity to the in-person event will be limited to 2,000 delegates, and as announced in May, proof of vaccination will be required to attend, and masks will be required indoors at all times other than dining or for artists while on stage. FAI will monitor the pandemic and exceed all local, state, federal and CDC guidelines for safe gathering, and should it be required, FAI reserves the right to move the event entirely online with a hassle-free full reimbursement policy.

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 Folklorist 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.

The in-person side of the conference will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Panels will be a mix of in-person, live-streamed from Kansas City, and pre-recorded.

The conference offers various networking and mentoring opportunities, including Peer Sessions (for agents, labels, festivals, and artists), speed meetings, artist mentorship meetings, and Affinity Group sessions for communities including BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, Women, Folks 55+, Folks with Disabilities, and more.

Recent keynote speakers have included Margaret Atwood, Rhiannon Giddens, Judy Collins, Mavis Staples, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, Vice President Al Gore, and Commander Chris Hadfield.

Registration information here.

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), the Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp, an Artist in Residence (AIR) program, The Folk ExChange global market development program, the Ethno USA gathering, the Kansas City Folk Festival, 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.