Monday, October 27, 2014

FARM: Folk Alliance Region Midwest 2014 wrap up.

It is the Monday morning following another great FARM conference in St Louis. FARM is the Folk Alliance regional midwest  music conference held annually. This year we met in St Louis as we had the prior two. Next year The conference will be in Iowa City.

I was asked to coordinate this years workshops and panels for the conference. As a Folknet board member I was part of a small team that coordinated a private showcase for our membership. As a performer I was given the opportunity to showcase on the mainstage at the invitation of Jim Hall, a folk DJ out of Lansing Michigan.

While my volunteer tasks demanded a lot of time, attention and at times provided some stress, it has been an honor and a joy to be involved in these activities.

Coordinating the workshops allowed me to play a major role in developing the educational portion of the conference. Soliciting idea's for workshops and panels as well as developing ideas of my own gave me the opportunity to build relationships with many in our community who led our workshops.  The workshops addressed many of the personal and professional goals of the attending performers, venues and DJs. Being a part of this process has allowed me to have a greater influence on the direction of the genre than I could ever enjoy as a songwriter and performer. I was proud of the work I did for this. While leading up to the conference I entertained some fears that I had not done enough and that many would be disappointed in my effort. Through out the weekend, many thanked me for my work and reassured me that it had been done well. I have been asked to participate in the same role for the coming year. I have gladly accepted. The workshop presenters, panelists, and FARM leadership were all a great help to me and made my decision to take on a second year of these responsibilities an easy one.

As executive board members of Folknet, we wanted to offer our membership the opportunity showcase during the conference. Red Chrosniak, Becca Rhodes, and I coordinated a private showcase room and helped to bring a greater northeast Ohio presence to this years conference. Our membership all shined with these opportunities. Folknet was able to successfully re-establish itself within the region and share the talent and enthusiasm for folk music our area enjoys. We hope the success of this will help to attract many more to join us at the next conference.

As a performer I was honored to be a Presenter and DJ Showcase artist this year. I was invited to perform Thursday evening to all in attendance by a long time DJ, Jim Hall from Lansing MI. The showcase went well. I carefully prepared some of my best material and also decided to perform a silly song of mine "Catnipped", because I knew Jim had played this on the air in the past. That song made lasting impact on many in attendance, drawing many compliments throughout the weekend. With so many amazing songs from a huge collection of talented performers, knowing that so many had responded so well to one of mine was very special.

When I was a younger performer, I had always dreamed of the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the world of folk music. And while I know that my many years of leading open mics has provided me this, my more recent work with the FARM and Folknet organizations has done more for me to realize this goal than I ever knew possible. Through my volunteer efforts, I have been able to help strengthen our music community locally, throughout the region, and across the continent. As a folk musician, community building is my greatest goal. I am very proud to be a part of that. I hope my actions encourage others to take up this cause. Together we do make a better world.

1 comment:

  1. I'll try to get there next year. Save me a spot.