How many of you out there knew that there was an entity called Folk Alliance International? The organization defines “folk” as anything that is rooted in tradition, indigenous to one’s culture. FAI is made up all types such as songwriters, story tellers, bluegrass, blues, soul, world music, spoken word, zydeco and oh so much more. They hold a huge conference every winter and it attracts hundreds of people interested in the music business: musicians, agents, publicists, producers, etc. There are also sub-divisions of this great organization and they are broken down geographically—Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, and Far West. I just returned from the annual North East meeting (NERFA).
I’ve been attending NERFA for seven years, I believe. It’s one of my most favorite weekends of the year because it’s a love fest devoted to all things related to the music that most resonates with me. Getting to hang out with people who love what they do is energizing. I may not be a musician but I’m a kindred soul. I love listening and I love talking about it and strategizing and doing my best to promote musicians whom I believe in. This brings me much joy.
NERFA takes place at the Hudson Valley Resort in beautiful downtown Kerhonkson, New York. The hotel is abuzz with music 24/7 all weekend long. In addition, there are workshops, seminars, open mics, juried showcases and informal “guerilla” showcases. It’s difficult to explain how it all works but it does! By the last day, everyone is extremely sleep deprived but ecstatic at the same time.
Words escape me right now since I’m still suffering from fatigue so here are some photos that may help you get the idea about what attending NERFA is all about!
This is a panel on Social Media that I was one—left to right: Madalyn Sklar (Go Girls Music); Tracy Delfino (Trespass Music); Michael Kornfeld (Public Relations); and me.
The Stray Birds were part of the Formal Showcase www.straybirds.com
Old Man Luedecke from Nova Scotia was one of the “Quadcentric” Showcasers. http://oldmanluedecke.ca
Here’s DJ Joe Pszonek from WMSC / Radio Nowhere presenting Brittany Ann at the DJ showcase.
Here’s Tall Heights performing in a guerilla showcase in Jane Fallon‘s room.
A special showcase only for presenters! Here’s Crys Matthews showing her chops.
Lobby jams are always a lot of fun. Collaboration is key!
Not shown are communal meals in the dining room, crowded hallways, mentoring sessions, and more. It’s been a few days and I’m finally starting to come down from this music high…but the spirit of NERFA remains with me all year round. Look for me in Kerhonkson next November!