• What is the FAR-West Conference?
FAR-West is the western regional chapter of Folk Alliance International. The annual FAR-West conference is both a gathering of the folk community and a business conference. It provides a four-day, music-filled weekend for the folk and acoustic music community to unite, exchange songs and ideas, re-charge and do business. FAR-West also honors the History, Diversity and Multiculturalism of the Folk Community. It is designed to provide contact and communication between and among musicians, presenters, radio programmers, and artist support consultants and others interested in promoting and supporting folk and acoustic music and dance. In addition to networking with others in the folk community, FAR-West offers workshops and panels where musicians can develop their skills both as performers and in marketing themselves. We also emphasize showcases large and small to provide opportunities for as many people as possible to perform in different-sized rooms. This allows concert hosts and others involved in booking acts to sample a wide variety of the talent available. With the exception of the public evening concerts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, conference events are only open to registered participants.
• Who puts on the FAR-West Conference?
The FAR-West Conference is run entirely by volunteers; there are no paid staff members. Our working board and “Movers and Shakers” Conference Planning Team work year-round to plan and execute this conference. There are no discounts for volunteer work completed prior to the conference – these planners contribute their time and talents in support of the FAR-West community.
• Who attends the FAR-West conference?
FAR-West is attended by folk and acoustic musicians at all career stages, festival presenters, venue owners, concert programmers, house concert hosts, radio programmers, record label personnel, journalists, management and booking agents and other artist support personnel. The common thread that ties attendees together is the love of folk and acoustic music and a desire to bring it to wider audiences.
• I’m a presenter and I’m already overwhelmed with artists contacting me for bookings – why should I attend FAR-West?
FAR-West is first and foremost about networking, community, and recharging your batteries for another year of bringing music to your audiences. Many presenters find FAR-West a great place to a) keep an eye out for up-and-coming new talent, b) personally preview talent they are considering booking and c) reconnect with touring artists they haven’t seen in awhile. In addition, connecting with other West coast presenters and participating in educational sessions is a great way to build camaraderie and further the goals of your organization.
• I’m an artist – if I attend FAR-West will I get bookings?
The most important thing you can do at a FAR-West conference is to make connections, and keep building those connections over time. The connections you make at FAR-West may not result in bookings right away, but the relationships you build will serve you well through your career. That being said, many of our artists – both those who are selected for Official Showcases and those who are not – find themselves booking shows with presenters either at or in the weeks following the conference. Many presenters – especially house concert presenters – do not book their next year’s series until after attending FAR-West.
• If I go to the Folk Alliance Conference, why should I attend FAR-West too?
The Folk Alliance International Conference provides a tremendous opportunity to connect and network with music business contacts from all over North America and the world. The regional conferences are much smaller and more focused. This creates a more targeted opportunity for artists interested in touring specific regions, and a more focused, less hectic atmosphere for presenters and DJs who want to really connect with artists.