Songs and Stories #79: Late-Night at FAR-West

Click to hear Songs and Stories #79 (time = 42:39, size = 39.2 mb)

FAR-West is the western branch of Folk Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes education and support for traditional and contemporary folk music. Each fall, the FAR-West (“Folk Alliance Region West”) conference is held, providing a few days of workshops, showcases, and a chance to network a bit with (and be inspired by) other folks who play, perform, present, or just support what we all do.

This year, FAR-West was held at the Hyatt in Irvine CA, and I gotta say the hotel staff were mighty patient with us folkies taking over a nice hotel. There was a high-priced charity auction taking place in the lobby the night I arrived. I must say that when I walked past the 30-somethings in their black tie best, they just looked jealous at me, my uke, and my cooler packed with snacks for the weekend. (Okay, maybe not. Let’s just say we clashed a bit. But they were very polite)

So the conference: Great workshops. Reconnecting with folks I know well or only knew casually. And a chance to play. A lot. My favorite part of the weekend was the late night “gorilla” (I still can’t spell “guerilla”) showcases held from 10:30 pm to 2:30 am Friday and Saturday nights. These took place in plain ole hotel rooms on the fourth floor. I co-hosted a room with Maggie McKaig and Greg Kitchel and played in both our room, as well as rooms hosted by Steve Key, Rachel Sedacca, Mother Hen Productions, and the bay area folks from The Acoustic Vortex.

This episode of “Songs and Stories” is an audio tour, taking you in and out of a few rooms, while stopping in the hallways to ask a few folks “What was the funnest thing about FAR-West?” It includes performance snippets from Cindy Kalmenson, Mokai, Anna Laube, Aztec Two-Step, Dana Hubbard, James Hurley, and Jeannie Willets. Interviews include chats with Maggie McKaig, Jay Howlett, Dana Hubbard, Laura Zucker, and Walter Strauss.

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