FAI Statement Regarding New Laws in Louisiana and Missouri

Folk Alliance International (FAI) has a contractual obligation to hold our 2020 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. We are also contracted for three conference years (2021, 2022, 2024) in Kansas City, Missouri, where our office and staff are also based.

In recent days, we’ve heard from several members with concerns regarding new laws passed by the legislatures of those states. We’ve also received several questions regarding a possible change of venue/state for this year, and for future events.

Our current contracted conferences cannot be relocated. Buying out our hotel contracts would cost about $1.5 million, instantly bankrupting FAI and dissolving not just the charitable status of our regional conferences, but also the more than 50 US-based non-profit folk music organizations covered under FAI’s IRS Group Exemption program. It would also impact the careers of all our members.

Please know that we inquire about existing laws that may not reflect the overall mission and values of FAI when considering new conference cities (which is a three-year selection/contracting process), and before committing to a hotel contract.

We encourage the FAI community to be vocal on all issues and hope that the conference (and music) will continue to bring people from all over the world together to inform, inspire, and challenge each other.

While we respect the choice to respond to issues and legislation in different ways, including not traveling to an area based on activities or legislation, we encourage everyone to consider how the folk community has shown up on the front lines of support for many communities previously, including during the civil and human rights, pacifist, union, and environmental movements.

In a year when we will be discussing many issues relating to the theme of People and Place, dovetailing with a summit on Cultural Equity, we hope you will join us in New Orleans to have open conversations with all voices at the table.

Aengus Finnan

Executive Director

Lisa Schwartz

Board President