Thank you from NERFA 2023

That’s a wrap for the 2023 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference!

Thank you to all our attendees, virtual and in-person: the presenters, performers, DJs, fans, volunteers, mentors, panelists … all the people who create this space every year. As we unpack both our suitcases and our experiences, some further thoughts and thanks:

NERFA is not a place or a hotel or a board of directors or a person, but a culture created by its community, different every year, but also familiar. It’s the kind of community where Crys Matthews would cancel paying gigs to save what she could of her powerful voice for our keynote. Where Steáfán Hannigan would play an instrument from the 18th century while donating thousands of dollars of his very modern video equipment to capture the performances of others. Where near strangers would room together. Where the bedazzled drag queen, Flamy Grant, might seem an unlikely match for our audience until the room was on its feet for that folkiest of messages – fighting the systems that oppress. Where the most respected tastemakers curate the humblest of house concerts, and bona fide folkstars feel comfortable enough to share juicy industry secrets in the panels and workshops. It’s two dozen music lovers making a living, late-night mixtape of a hotel hallway. It’s the people who signed an online petition, and then also showed up to a community meeting to document, listen and lend their voices. It’s all of you who show up in whatever manner you can to give whatever you have to offer, be it virtually, as a volunteer … as a voice. Thank you so much to all of you who gave your time, your talent and your perspective to continue creating our NERFA community.

This conference reconfirmed that the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance is like the very music it celebrates: at the intersection of tradition and change. NERFA “the conference” is over for 2023, but NERFA “the community” is ongoing. It’s less of a tent city resurrected once a year, and more like a whole network of mycelium busy underground, periodically sending up a stunning display. Both parts of the lifecycle are important. Every stage of NERFA, year round, needs care and feeding. If you loved it, hated it, saw a need for improvement, please fill out the attendee survey (A quick survey went out yesterday. Expect a long-form one next week). Give us your suggestions and consider lending us your skills on committees. Keep showing up in this network of preparation and conversation to make our next stunning display even better.

Thank you for being here.

Your NERFA Team