• What does my registration fee include?
Registration includes panels, workshops and master classes, showcases, networking events, our Networking Center, Best of the West Awards Luncheon, Sunday brunch and other special programs. Travel, lodging and food (other than Saturday luncheon and Sunday brunch) are not included.
• Are there discounts available?
Early bird registration discounts are available and members of Folk Alliance International receive a member rate for registration. Information about other registration discounts is on the Registration page of the conference website.
• Are there scholarships available?
Applications are accepted for The Roz and Howard Larman Memorial Scholarship Fund, established in 2007 in memory of Folkscene radio show co-founder Howard Larman and then renamed to include his wife, Roz, after her passing in 2016. When applications open, information will be posted on the FAR-West listserves and on the conference web page.
• Do I need to attend the conference for all four days?
Single day conference passes are not available for pre-purchase, only at the conference. However, we encourage you to attend the entire conference to get the most out of your FAR-West experience. The conference kicks off with our Thursday evening Venues’ Choice Concert and officially ends with the last session on Sunday afternoon.
• Why does FAR-West hold its conferences in hotels?
Folks often ask this question, along with making comments such as “Hotels are expensive – why not use a retreat center? Or a college?”
When FAR-West started out in 2002-2003, the folks involved had all attended “big” Folk Alliance conferences, which are held in hotels. So this was a model we understood. The 2011 conference in Eugene used a community center in conjunction with a hotel. That worked well and we were able to lower the costs. When planning for 2012 and 2013, the board was presented with considerable cost savings and logistical simplification from booking the same hotel two years in a row. So, at the recommendation of the conference coordinators, the board authorized using a hotel for those years. Then we were offered significant discounts for early booking in an Oakland hotel and we also committed for our 2014 and 2015 conferences.
One important consideration is choosing locations that have reasonably priced air and public transportation access. Also, hotels provide us with discount room rates for large groups and meeting facilities for our activities. They recoup many of their costs by requiring that we book a specified number of “room-nights” and by specifying a minimum catering bill. FAR-West has ALWAYS met these minimums. Could an alternate type of venue provide the meeting spaces, sleeping rooms and catering at a lower cost? Possibly – but that requires volunteers who will locate and negotiate with a venue.
Our board and conference committee members are all volunteers and have busy lives and many commitments outside FAR-West. We try to plan the best event possible, at the lowest cost to you. We solicit your input on how to do this, and your comments are always welcomed. For those who believe strongly in alternate types of venues, please run for the board or volunteer to coordinate the conference.