Tuesday, September 22, 2015 – Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) opens its 2015 regional conference in a new city this year, convening at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa beginning Thursday, October 22. In addition to the standard fare of workshops, industry panels, mentoring sessions and networking opportunities for music professionals and others involved in the music industry, This year’s conference will offer several performance opportunities that everyone will enjoy.
Smitty Smith, co-Coordinator for this year’s conference said the choice of Iowa City as the conference location became an obvious one. “We were in St. Louis for 3 years, and before that we were in Chicago. We looked at many locations around the Midwest, from St. Paul/Minneapolis to locations in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and Iowa. Between the facilities available, the local interest in hosting the conference and economic considerations, Iowa City won out. That is where we will be this year, and the next two years following.”
The new location also brings a fresh set of talent to the conference, which will be featured in showcase performances throughout the 3-day event. Official showcases begin at 8 p.m. nightly, presenting approximately 31 acts over the course of the conference. Smith said the talent selected to appear in the Official Showcases are the cream of the crop, so-to-speak. “Approximately 130 acts applied to appear in the Official Showcases, and only about 1 in 10 make the cut.” A panel of 8 judges representing music venues, radio DJs and other “well-known people in the music scene” made the selection.
While the conference itself is designed for those with ties to music and the music industry, Smith said the general public is also invited to attend the Official Showcase shows. “We call it ‘Taste Of Farm.’ The public can come in and enjoy the Official Showcases, which include the DJ Presenter’s Showcase, the keynote address, as well as performances later in the evening.” Tickets are $20 for any single-night show, or $50 for all three nights of the conference. More information on attending the Offical Showcase shows is available here.
Although early-bird registration has ended, Smith said it is not too late to register for the conference, and walk-in registration is available. “It is not prohibitively expensive. If you walk up the day of the conference and want to register for the entire conference it is just $130.” More information on conference registration is available here.
Recently, Smith talked with KC Cafe Radio’s John Dutton previewing the 2015 conference. They discussed the decision to locate the conference in Iowa City, and new features on this year’s agenda. Smith also highlighted some of the acts that will appear in the Official Showcases, and describes the process of selecting from the region’s finest performers for the show.