Texas Music Office presents Texas Music at Folk Alliance International Conference in Canada
For the third consecutive year, the Texas Music Office sponsored stages at the Folk Alliance International Conference. This year the conference took place at Montreal, Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s recording of “Give Peace a Chance.”
In addition to official showcases from Texas artists Jackie Venson (pictured left) and Eliza Gilkyson, nearly twenty additional Texans braved the single digit temperatures to perform for media, booking agents, promoters, festivals and venues from more than 35 countries over five days.
The conference included informational panels, meetings and a tradeshow during the day along with official artist showcases in the hotel ballrooms. The Folk Alliance Conference is unique among festivals and music confrences, featuring “private” showcase rooms; three floors of the host hotel are reserved for private presenters to put on any acoustic music they wish, with each hotel room becoming a small venue for the evening.
The first of the co-sponsored TMO showcases kicked off on Wednesday with Handshake Management’s “Lone Star Music Live” where host Charlie Stewart presented acts including Rachel Laven, Claudia Gibson, Danny Schmidt, Ali Holder and more. Thursday saw the TMO sponsorship move to the ComboPlate Booking room where Folk Alliance board member Laura Thomas showcased music from fellow board member Matt the Electrician, along with Rebecca Loebe and other Texas performing artists.
On Friday February 15, Dr. Lloyd Berg from the Dell Medical School and SIMS Foundation Executive Director Heather Alden presented the results of their study on the impact of life as a musician on mental health in one of the conferences informational sessions.
"Exporting the message of mental wellness to the international folk music community is a proud feat for the SIMS Foundation," Alden said after the conference. "Presenting our research on musician stress with Dr. Lloyd Berg of UT Dell Medical School helped dispel the myth that musician's are predisposed to mental health issues and returned the focus to the prevalence of economic and work stress causing depression and anxiety among musicians. SIMS was proud to be included in the Texas delegation of artists and industry led by the Texas Music Office."
Exporting the message of mental wellness to the international folk music community is a proud feat for the SIMS Foundation...
- Heather Alden, SIMS Foundation Executive Director
Friday night Jackie Venson and Los Texmaniacs kicked off a showcase co-sponsored by the TMO and Project ATX6 featuring Trouble in the Streets’ Nnedi Nebula, Michael Booher, Georgia Parker of Big Cedar Fever, Carrie Fussell of Calliope Musicals, Jacob Alan Jaeger and Cory Reinisch of Harvest Thieves.
On Saturday, the TMO’s Steve Ray joined music exporters from around the world to discuss tactics and strategy to get their homegrown musicians performance and business opportunities abroad. Texas was the only US state involved in the discussion with several foreign countries.
The conference wrapped up on Saturday with the TMO/House of Songs showcase featuring Austin’s SaulPaul as MC and performer, 2018 Folk Alliance Artist or the Year Ordinary Elephant (picutred right), Little Mazarn’s Lindsey Verrill (whose music brought many audience members to tears) and a closing set by Jackie Venson.
The 2020 Folk Alliance Conference will be much closer and much warmer as it moves from Canada to New Orleans.
"Folk Alliance International (FAI) is proud to partner with the Texas Music Office to present the State's incredible and diverse talent to the international community of industry and buyers at our next annual conference to be held in New Orleans (Jan. 22-26, 2020),” Folk Alliance International Executive Director Aengus Finnian said. “We invite Texans to take advantage of the proximity of our 32nd edition to access the career and professional development opportunities that FAI affords. The 2020 conference theme is The Story of People and Place, and conscious programming will explore issues of diversity, inclusion, immigration, intersection, and influence."
The Texas Music Office thanks the Cain Foundation for its support in presenting Texas music at Folk Alliance.