There is no doubt that the global pandemic has had an immense impact on almost every aspect of our lives. Of all the world’s industries that are having to cope with massive interruption and upheaval, the arts are suffering in truly profound ways. The music industry has had to practically re-invent itself in order to survive, and in the spirit of this major shift, FAR-West is offering a vision statement for 2021 to specify how our work going forward will dovetail with our intended mission as an organization.

This vision statement outlines how our organizational goals are being met with swift pivots to online content, covering the five stated points of mission:

  • Education
  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Field Development
  • Professional Development

Without our annual in-person conference, we have shifted into educational programs offered online that cover topics concerning many of the new needs of the performing community in the pandemic world; our networking has branched into a wider broadcast to our community via weekly newsletters, a bi-monthly online “campfire” gathering, the Community project of curated showcase-type presentations, and broader outreach via social media and targeted publicity; advocacy has been expanded through our presence at the Folk Alliance International virtual conference, showcasing success stories and new talent, as well as integrating popular culture into music forecasts; field development is growing through the promotion of venues who choose to participate in live streaming, and through the process of gathering suggestions and strategies from industry leaders; and professional development is funded through what we believe will become permanent fixtures in our work going forward, touching on all of these goals. In addition, we have added an organization level content element to our work, touching both on networking and advocacy, the curation of our Spotify playlists featuring artists from official showcases, Venue’s Choice concerts, and past Best of the West honorees, as well as our new “Best of the West and Beyond” YouTube series coming early this year.

The proactive and creative bonds we form through this year-round presence in the community will be maintained as we move into the years ahead. Through these programs, we are enriching relationships and strengthening our network, forging richer connections than ever before.

Read more about our mission goals here: https://far-west.org/about/mission/

There are more silver linings to note. With virtual communication, we can reach out more equally across our region since former barriers to conference attendance don’t exist in the online world. More growth possibilities are on the horizon, such as the opportunity to provide more help to venues so they will be there for us when we can all return to in-person concerts. Most significantly, we intend our online presence to continue year-round.

Throughout 2021 and beyond we will be strengthening and expanding our community in new ways, a community that will be there when we can come back together in person.

To all of you who are struggling during this time, know that the Board of Directors of FAR-West are striving to provide support to you, our community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can contact us here: https://far-west.org/about/board/

Remember: FAR-West Connects!

Our best,

The Board of Directors, FAR-West

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