Montreal to Host the 2019 Folk Alliance International Conference

FAI 2017At an event in downtown Toronto during Canadian Music Week, Folk Alliance International (FAI) announced new details of their 2019 conference happening at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal from February 13 -17, 2019. It’ll be the first time the event has been held in Canada since 2013 when it was in Toronto.

The theme of the 2019 conference is “The Spirit of Creativity” which will explore the creative process from inspiration to vocation through discussion of innovation, collaboration, and spirituality in art.

“Montreal was a natural choice for our return to Canada. From Harmonium and La Bottine Souriante, to the McGarrigles, Paul Piché, Connie Kaldor, Jim Corcoran, Penny Lang, Lasha, Orealis, Kashtin, and of course Leonard Cohen… Montreal has always been an epicenter for folk music,”  says Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of Folk Alliance International.

Founded in 1989, FAI is the world’s largest organization and conference for the folk music industry. In 2018, 2,850 delegates (agents, managers, labels, journalists, festivals, venues, artists) from 35 countries attended. The conference program features professional development workshops, industry panels, master classes, business networking sessions, and keynote presentations.The economic impact for the conference host city has been assessed (by VisitKC) at $5 million (USD). Previous Canadian editions have included Calgary (1992), Vancouver (2001), Montréal (2005), and Toronto (1997, 2013).

Over the past four years, FAI has focused on diversity, inclusion, and international expansion. New initiatives and updates include:

– An Artist in Residence program

– Two Global Summits; an Indigenous Music summit convening global industry leaders and artists and an Ethnomusicology summit focused on endangered languages.

– Three Entrepreneur Training Accelerators for emerging agents, managers, and artists.

– A CommUNITY gathering focused on addiction and mental health issues in the music industry.

– A galvanized International Folk Music Awards show.

Musical genres represented at the conference include Appalachian, Americana, bluegrass, blues, Cajun, Celtic, Francophone, global roots, indie folk, Indigenous, Latin, old time, traditional, singer-songwriter, spoken word, and various fusions.

Past speakers at the conference include Vice President Al Gore, Graham Nash, Bob Lefsetz, Rita Coolidge, Commander Chris Hadfield, Judy Collins, Ani DiFranco, Richard Thompson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Billy Bragg.

For more information, go to

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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