In a letter to its members and registered attendees on Friday, Folk Alliance International announced that it is cancelling its 2021 conference, which was supposed to be held in Kansas City, MO from Feb. 17-21. The Folk Alliance International Conference is the largest annual gathering of the roots music industry and an important showcase for artists in those genres.
“In terms of FAI’s standard annual activity, there are countless impacts of the pandemic over which we have no control (uncertainty regarding when things will stabilize, when a vaccine will be discovered and widely available, when cross-border travel will be permitted, when it will be safe to hold large gatherings in close quarters, when our community will feel comfortable to meet, or when folks will have the financial resources to attend events and conferences),” FAI
Executive Director Aengus Finnan said in an email. “FAI must be decisive, nimble, and innovative, and make responsible and proactive decisions. Consequently, in addition to suspending events for the remainder of the calendar year, we have determined that the best course of action at this time is to suspend our in-person conference next February 2021.”
FAI says full refunds will be processed for everyone who has already purchased a 2021 registration, and it will be extending all current membership to the end of the calendar year, at no extra cost. The organization will then be consulting its community about the best timing for the next edition, once it is safe to be held.
In place of producing the conference this coming fiscal year, FAI says its staff will pivot to developing online tools and resources, mounting an online showcase conference, securing financial support, and advocating for the folk community and industry.
A resource page is now available to provide links to emergency funds, informative webinars, details about FAI's ongoing advocacy efforts, a Connecting Folk peer support network, and an upcoming revenue-contributing online concert hub.
As a result of the cancellation and other pandemic impacts on its operations, FAI is forecasting its first deficit in over two decades. It says, however, that a carefully managed long-term reserve will be used to cover the anticipated substantial loss next year.
"Unfortunately," Finnan adds in his email, "this also means that FAI will have to initiate some staff layoffs "of friends and colleagues who have been important members of the team... It’s our hope that by letting you know these things now, it will bring some clarity and relief, and that it might perhaps support others struggling to decide how to proceed."
For more infomratsion, contact FAI: 816-221-3655, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.folk.org.