Performing at the Conference

Showcases are a way for artists to show off their talents to festival and venue bookers, agents, record labels, DJs, media, and more. While Official Showcases are exclusive to jury-selected musicians, anyone can perform a Private Showcase. Many artists book multiple Private Showcase slots, and we recommend all artists take advantage of the opportunity to perform in Private Showcases.

Official Showcases

Official Showcases feature 180 jury-selected, tour-ready musicians representing diverse cultures, languages, and sound. These 30-minute sets are performed on full production stages at the conference. In a commitment to more equitably represent the folk community, FAI has pledged to achieve a 50/50 gender balance in programming across all stages.

To play an Official Showcase, performers must apply before the deadline and await approval by a board of jurors. Official Showcases are not awarded more than two years in a row. FAI saw a record number of Official Showcase applicants for the 2019 conference; over 1,000 applications were submitted (a 30% increase from 2018). Artists who receive an Official Showcase may also submit a song for the conference Official Showcase Compilation CD.

John Blek performing an Official Showcase at Folk Alliance International's 2018 Conference.

Private Showcases

Private Showcases turn hotel rooms into listening rooms. These performances are more intimate, often without any amplification, and offer a unique opportunity for the artists. The rooms are very fluid, and some people cycle in and out of different performances. It is acceptable to stay for only a song or two, but please remember to be courteous to the performers!

Hosts are artists, record labels, publicists, agents, managers, state/provincial music offices, national export offices, collectives, and extraordinary fans of folk. Artists are encouraged to apply to perform in a Private Showcase by connecting with presenters.

Lobby Jams

Lobby jams are one of the most notable things about FAI. Music happens in all corners of the conference, and lobby jams offer a chance for artists to collaborate, explore music, and connect in authentic ways. Feel free to find other folkies, pull out an instrument, and embrace the spirit of folk together.