Getting the most out of attending Folk Alliance Conferences

So you've decided you want to attend a Folk Alliance conference, either one of the regionals or the International conference. This page is devoted to helping you get the most out of going to a conference. It's a work in progress, mostly set up right now so that I can put all the links to useful articles in one public place to refer to. 

Part of attending FARM or other Folk Alliance events is the joy of connecting with our community of artists and music lovers. And having fun with everyone is an important part of conference attendance. 

It’s also a business conference, and you spend money to get here. So it’s important to understand your business goals for being here. If you don’t know, it’s time to figure it out so you do the right things to accomplish that goal. 

If you are an artist, one goal you should have is “ to build relationships with the venues where you want to play and acquaint Folk DJs and Reviewers with your music.” Gigs may get booked, but you are building lasting relationships that will pay off over time.

I've listed some resources that I think are helpful for new and returning conference attendees.

  1. FAI Guide for First Time Attendees:
  2. FAI Tip - Turning Bloodsuckers into Blood Donors: Mike Vial’s post with reference to item 3 and a comment on item 3’s approach to CDs which I think Mike gets absolutely right.
  3. Paul Barker’s NERFA for First Timers: With the exception of the comments Mike makes in item 2, I think Paul’s overall approach for artists is right on track. I first learned about it from Paul at his first timers session at FAI. If you just think FAI when you see NERFA, it mostly applies directly. While Paul and I have somewhat different approaches to capturing what we hear at the conferences, I have found his advice from this document to be very valuable, as have many artists I know. 
  4. Peter Lehndorff’s comments on his first NERFA (smaller than FAI but bigger than the other regionals):

Finally, if you are attending a conference for the first time, event if you've been to one of the other Folk Alliance conferences, I highly recommend attending whatever form of first timers session is available. Even experienced conference attendees may learn something, any quirks of a particular regional are likely to be mentioned, and you can contribute on general topics. 

I love going to the conferences and connecting with new and old friends and hearing all the amazing music. That makes me happy to talk about what I get out of the conferences and answer questions about attending. So feel free to get in touch with questions. And come find me at FAI and FARM.

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