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Kansas City Music Collective to focus on private showcases at Folk Alliance conference

Bands performing spontaneous concerts in the Westin Crown Center lobby were a common sight last year at the Folk Alliance International Conference. This one was the Vivants, a new-Western Swing group from San Francisco.
Bands performing spontaneous concerts in the Westin Crown Center lobby were a common sight last year at the Folk Alliance International Conference. This one was the Vivants, a new-Western Swing group from San Francisco. Special the Star

For the third straight year, Kansas City will host the Folk Alliance International Conference, a five-day festival that convenes more than 2,000 musicians and music and festival industry personnel from nearly two dozen countries.

This year’s conference, the alliance’s 28th, runs Wednesday through Sunday at the Westin and Sheraton Crown Center hotels.

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In the previous two conferences, four local entities — Money Wolf Music, the Midwest Music Foundation, Ink magazine and KKFI (90.1 FM) — formed the Kansas City Music Collective and sponsored opening-night multistage Kansas City and Lawrence music showcases in the Westin hotel.

“We put together a big celebration of Kansas City music and talent,” said Christian Hankel, a Kansas City musician and co-founder of Money Wolf Music. “It was one hell of a party.”

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Things will be different this year.

“We’re concentrating on helping a smaller group of Kansas City musicians get the most they can out of the conference,” Hankel said. “We have a single room this year, but it’s a suite, which will give us more space and allow us to create a more comfortable listening-room environment.

“We’re going to record audio and video of all the performances, and then provide raw files to the artists to use as they please. After the conference, we’re going to curate those files and pick the best performances to be released online and in CD format to promote KC music.”

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The collective has scheduled dozens of private showcases for Suite 739 of the Westin Crown Center Hotel. These showcases require an all-access pass. The 30-minute performances start at 10:30 p.m. each night of the festival.

Three Kansas City acts have official showcases at the conference, which are open to the public: Gerald Trimble’s Celtic and World Music performs at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Liberty Ballroom; Jessica Paige performs at 8:30 p.m., Thursday in the Brookside Ballroom; and the Blackbird Revue performs at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Pershing East/West Ballroom.

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Several others perform Sunday at the Kansas City Folk Festival, including Ayllu, Sara Morgan, Under The Big Oak Tree and Ensemble Iberica.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

Folk Alliance International Conference

Many events and performances at the Folk Alliance International Conference are open to the public, including the awards show, dozens of official showcases, the music camp (which requires registration) and the Kansas City Folk Festival. The $110 showcase package includes admission to the awards show, three nights of showcases and the folk festival (a $20 savings).

The Folk Alliance Awards Gala: 6 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $25. It includes awards, presentations and musical performances. (Officially sold out.)

Official showcases: 8:15 to 11:15 p.m. Wednesday; 6:15 to 10:45 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $25 a day. (Thursday’s is officially sold out.)

Music camp: World-class musicians will give lessons to musicians of all levels of expertise. Registration is required. Price is $60 per day or $150 for a three-day pass. Sessions start at 10 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Kansas City Folk Fest: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Westin Crown Center. Admission is $30. Discounts available for seniors, students and children. The festival is a mix of music, dance, art and artisan booths. Musical performances include Alison Brown, Peter Case, Robbie Fulks, Eric Andersen and a closing concert by Los Texmaniacs. It will also include a square dance and a gospel session.

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