Folkie Town 

The annual International Folk Alliance Conference descends on Memphis this week, bringing some 1,800 guitar-wielding registrants to the downtown Marriott and Cook Convention Center for a sprawling, music-laden, five-day happening that runs from Wednesday, February 17th, through Sunday, February 21st.

While most of the conference is open only to registrants, the Memphis-based Folk Alliance has planned several open-to-the-public events in conjunction with the conference. Here's a civilian's guide to the conference. Look for an on-the-scene report from the Folk Alliance get-together in these pages next week:

Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center: BPACC will host two big public Folk Alliance shows this weekend. On Friday, "A Sacred Steel Gospel Revue" will bring together more than half-a-dozen noted sacred steel guitar performers, most prominently Miami's celebrated Lee Boys ensemble. [UPDATE: The "Sacred Steel Gospel Revue" has been moved to the Center for Southern Folklore, same night, same time. It will now be free.]

On Saturday, "Songwriters in the Round Super Session" will unite four venerated modern singer-songwriters — Danny O'Keefe, Willis Alan Ramsey, Kevin Welch, and Memphis' own Keith Sykes.

Both concerts begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Center for Southern Folklore: This downtown venue will host a couple of public Folk Alliance shows Friday and Saturday night. Friday's "Roots Music Spectacular" will feature Austin's Stonehoney, British folk singer Martyn Joseph, Alabama's Act of Congress, and alt-folk duo Hudost. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Saturday night, "Songwriters in the Round" will bring together a quartet of Nashville troubadours — David Olney, Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack, and Phil Lee. A second set at 9:30 p.m. will feature Memphis folk stalwart Sid Selvidge, up-and-comer Amy Speace, ex-BR5-49er Chuck Mead, and New Englander Anais Mitchell.

All of these showcases are free.

Cook Convention Center: From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Folk Alliance will make a portion of its conference open to the general public. Admission will be free but limited to the first 500 participants. Attendees can get a free CD with the donation of a non-perishable item for the Memphis Food Bank.

The public schedule begins with a series of kid-friendly events. At 10 a.m., there's an "Instrument Petting Zoo" which will allow kids to test out a wide variety of musical instruments. Kids can also bring their own stringed instruments (or use one on hand) for a music lesson during the 10 a.m. hour. At 11 a.m., the "Folk Alliance Kids Music Revue" will present a 90-minute concert featuring children's-music performers attending the conference.

Adult sessions get under way at 11 a.m. with a "Music Business Basics" panel touching on every aspect of the industry. A "Songwriters Workshop" follows at 1 p.m., with a panel on sponsorships and endorsements going on concurrently.

A trio of public events closes the session at 3 p.m. Local industry leaders, including representatives of the Memphis Music Commission, Memphis Music Foundation, and the local Recording Academy chapter, will be on hand for a panel on the Memphis scene. An open-participation "Community Sing" will also be held at 3 p.m.

Otherlands Coffee Bar: Otherlands will host Folk Alliance-connected shows nightly from Wednesday the 17th through Sunday. Wednesday's show (admission: $7) will feature locals Susan Marshall and Kim Richardson. Thursday night ($7), Louisiana's Dirtfoot and Austin's the Trishas will share the stage. Friday night ($8), area native Cory Branan will host various guests from the conference. Saturday night ($8), Memphis' Jimmy Davis leads a band of conference guests. Finally, Peter Hyrka & the Gypsy Hombres will perform on Sunday ($10).

For more information on the Folk Alliance Conference and related events, see

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


The Latest

News Blog

Terri Freeman Talks About Her Resignation from NCRM

News Blog

Eleven COVID-19 Deaths Recorded in Last 24 Hours

Tiger Blue

Tigers 83, Arkansas State 54

Letter From The Editor

Come Into My Parler

The Rant

The Long and Sad Goodbye of Lamar Alexander


More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »
© 1996-2020

Contemporary Media
65 Union, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation