My Adventures at the 2015 Folk Alliance Music Fair

by Keith Koenig
Sheraton Hotel at Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri, Feb. 19-21
  Last year’s initial Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City was a revelation to someone who has always loved and supported live music in this city. Although I bought tickets for the public showcases last year and did not register for the conferences and afterhour jam sessions in the hotel rooms, I still managed to check out a song or two in all 11 rooms featuring music at the Westin Crown Center Hotel and ended up seeing 40 acts over three nights. So many great discoveries and the vibe in that hotel was magical, with constant jam sessions going on in the lobby, the stairwells, outside, and on the skywalk between Union Station all the way to the Sheraton Hotel on McGee.This year, they moved the public showcases over to the Sheraton Hotel, stating that there would be more room (so not true) as the Westin got so crowded last year that it was rumored that the Fire Marshall almost shut it down. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to see the showcases at the Westin this time around, so I was a little disappointed and wondered how this would impact my overall experience this year.The verdict: Last year was just a magical, life changing experience. This year, I had to seek out the magic, and overall, this year’s music fair was pretty fulfilling, but I didn’t get the same warm and fuzzy feeling I took home last year.

It was still a grand experience, though. So, I will definitely not procrastinate like I did after last year’s fest and will register early for the whole conference next year. That gets you all of the performances in both hotels, including the after hour hotel room performances.

One advantage of the public showcases this year is that the artists got to play longer sets. At the actual conference, each artist gets 20-25 minutes and then another artist sweeps in immediately to play their showcase. Having said that, it does allow you to sample a wider variety of artists.

Nearly half of the artists at the 25 dollar a night public music fair were local. Love me some local music, but I see most of these KC artists throughout the year as it is. Anyway, Here is what I experienced at this year’s 2015 Folk Alliance Music Fair.

Settle in…

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