Testimonials

What do people who attended FAR-West Conferences say about their experience?

From FAR-West 2019:

I think not many were as surprised as was I was while experiencing my first FAR-West Conference. As I pulled up to the hotel and saw folks unloading I had a mild PTSD reaction from years at the NAMM shows, where if I was playing with notable acts, I was welcomed in high esteem, and, in contrast, treated with much less enthusiasm when returning and not working in a high profile situation. That was the first thing about the people running and organizing the FAR-West conference affected in me. They seemed happy to have me there. I was humbled by it, and amazed by the high level of quality in every aspect of the weekend. It was not a scene where big deal performers were there to get all the praise; it was the feeling of heart, equality, appreciation and respect for all of us. The response for Underground Exchange was gratifying after sustaining 3 years locally, to be merged with some of what I consider to be the most integrity based performance rooms in the state and beyond. In the aftermath, I realized folk music is all music for the most part, a welcome realization for someone who has been playing many decades without ever learning to fingerpick proper! You have reawakened my heart and outlook and I can’t thank you enough. – Bernie Larsen, Ojai Underground Exchange

This (2019) conference was our third and definitely the best so far. An unbelievable labor of love by so many people. – Gordon Currie, Notable Journey

Thanks to Peter Krantz and FAR-West,  Live At The A-Frame was honored to participate in the Venues Choice Concert where we presented Hardly Sisters. From the performers’ perspective and from mine as a house concert host every effort was made to make us feel welcome and to provide Hardly Sisters with the best possible support – and they sounded terrific. What an amazing opportunity FAR-West provided to this excellent, local, 5-piece band and to me. The effort and attention that goes into producing this conference is staggering and supports the songwriting and listening community in all the most effective and fun ways. I am looking forward to San Jose next year. – Coddy Nuckols, Live At The A-Frame
FAR-West is by far the best conference we’ve been to. The connections and friendships we’ve made are priceless. The whole conference is wonderful, but to us, the real party begins after 10 in the PGS rooms! We love getting to share music with so many wonderful artists. And connecting with so many like-minded people in the industry. – Ashley E. Norton of Whitherward
I brought my friend Owen Dara as a co-host.  This was his first time attending so he had no idea what was in store.  It’s one thing to explain it but nothing compares to the actual experience.  On the last day, a group of us decided to jump on the early registration and now we are planning a mini-tour on our way up to the 2020 conference in San Jose.  Owen said, ‘we all went to FAR-West as friends, and left as family’.  It’s truly a special thing.  I love FAR-West. – Dolly Ramirez, Divine Rebel Music
It was so wonderful meeting you this weekend at the FAR WEST conference. I can’t wait to get more involved with this community. Thank you for all your encouraging words and for creating spaces for artists to share their work and connect – everything was really special.I especially enjoyed the storytelling on Sunday! – Shelley Segal
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to attend my first FAR-West this year! It was an experience to be remembered!  I could not have been a part of it without your support and guidance, and I know it is an event and network I will be drawing on for many years to come. Thank you for creating a space for all of us to come together and explore, connect, share, sing, story, and celebrate. I am so glad to be a part of the FAR-West family now. –Licity Collins
Shawn, Davy, and I had an awesome time at our first FAR-West conference!  Thank you all so much for welcoming us so warmly to L.A. and for the opportunity to share what we do with all of you!  I look forward to seeing how the seeds of music and community we had a hand in planting will take bloom. –  Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio
Hardly Sisters had an fantastic time at the FAR-West Conference. We were asked to play in the Venue’s Choice concert on opening night and were treated with such warmth, love and respect. The audience of talented peers was so supportive. The crew was incredibly professional and welcoming. We would like to thank Peter, Coddy, and Bill for an amazing experience. It opened the door for us in ways we could never have done on our own. Leslie Barker


From past FAR-West conferences:


I found FAR-West to be highly organized and helpful, and the people were extremely friendly. –
Judy Coder, Notable Exceptions
I attended my first FAR-West Conference in 2018. I had been approached previously and knew several who had attended past conferences and were involved with the organization in some capacity. I had remained ambivalent – unsure whether the time spent was “worth it.” Wow! After the first few hours of my conference, I changed my perspective. In that time, I met several new friends, talented musicians, and others who are music passionate! If you are on the fence about whether you should get involved and attend, my advice is DO IT! You’ll walk away richer for the experience. – Matthew Moran, songwriter & author

I was very touched with everyone’s kindness and openness to me, a stranger to the folk alliance world. It was a fantastic experience. I really felt like I had found my tribe or people. It was exhilarating and now I’m trying to focus the amazing shot of energy the conference produced into tangible actions. – Jess Wayne (aka Doug Jessop)

Wow! What a great experience! My first, but definitely not my last, FAR West Music/Song/ Storytelling Festival. Great networking and support opportunity. Fun community. Thank you ‘Aunt Mama’ Mary Anne Moorman and Nick Smith for the invitation. 😊 Thank you, audience, for the great reception and response!Ty Fance

We had a fantastic time at this year’s FAR-West conference, seeing old friends again and meeting new ones! As usual, we “discovered” some exceptional artists that we plan to book at our venue in the future. What a wonderful event this always is. THANK YOU to everyone who makes this possible in any way!! See you next year – Peter Cutler & Deborah Hand-Cutler

I feel fortunate to be included in this great gathering. I am humbled by the talent of other participants and by the volunteer efforts of people of incredible dedication to an idea. But, it’s a great idea. And, while we all bring slightly different skill sets to this gathering, I never cease to be amazed for the chance to play my songs and be included in this community of people. That is beyond what I imagined possible when I started doing this. See you in the fall! – Randall Lamb

Just back from my first FAR-West (Folk Alliance International’s Western Region) Conference in Los Angeles. Their catchphrase is #farwestconnects, and the weekend certainly lived up to that. From the get go, I was made to feel welcome, and included in this wonderful musical community. Being awarded five late night showcases meant performing until the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, I had no trouble sleeping ’til noon! The opportunity to perform before audiences comprised of booking agents, venues, media, etc. was definitely a big part of the conference. However, FAR-West was much more than that to me. I was quite simply blown away by the incredible musical talent being presented. One of the highlights was a chance to meet and hear one of my early folk music inspirations, Eric Andersen!  At 75, he is as inspiring, relevant, and soulful as ever.  But, in the end, it was the relationships that I began building with fellow members of this folk community that I will treasure for years to come. #farwestconnects indeed! – Ken Dunn

You hear this from me every year and I’m saying it again: I look forward to our FAR-West conference like I look forward to nothing else all year. Being a member of FAR-West has made my life much more colorful, fun and rewarding than it was 15 years ago, when I hadn’t yet attended any conferences. Thank you a zillion times for all the work you put in so that us roustabouts can come and have 4 days of acoustic theme park adventures. I don’t know how you pull it off, but I’m grateful that you do. My intention is to never miss a FAR-West conference for the rest of my life. Let’s see if I can pull it off. Phil Ward, 10/12/17

We really appreciate the support and encouragement that the people of FAR-West showed for our first time at the conference, and we had a fantastic time! We’re so grateful for the opportunity that they gave us to play, and the organizers were all so helpful by email in the months leading up to the conference. The event exceeded our expectations in every way – this is an amazing community that was a delight to be a part of. – Jeff Poynter, West My Friend 

I would just like to say that over the past few weeks I’ve been struck more than once by the attention to detail, courtesy and consideration shown by everyone involved at FAR WEST. Looking forward. – Rupert Wates

FAR-West is a warm and inclusive, all-volunteer run networking organization. The organization produces an annual 3 day conference filled with showcasing, education, networking and endless opportunities to meet tons of people in the world of independent music making, promoting, and listening. Yes, it’s a business conference but it is so much more. It’s planting seeds of friendships, encouraging and being inspired by fellow artists and meeting those who are true fans of the music, willing to promote and present this independent music to their worlds of influence. What you choose to put in to it in time, money, and energy is what you get out of it. It’s building for future. We haven’t missed one yet… it’s always one of the highlights of our year! – Julie Paris of Russ & Julie’s House Concerts

FAR-West did a very solid job of organizing, promoting, engaging the community, and covering as many music styles as possible. A lot of memories were made here, from Danny O’Keefe’s acceptance tunes and later his workshop, to panels on what venues look for, to some single songs that touched us. Plan now for next year…Thanks to all for making this so memorable and accessible for The Ancients. – Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys

I came to the FAR-West Conference feeling a little like a “red headed step child,” as the old timers use to say. I’m a storyteller, a radio host, not a musician. In five minutes I was welcomed with open arms and left feeling part of a fun, diverse, magnificent community. If you are a musician, dancer, teller or curious person rush to the 2017 conference. If you watch, listen, love any of it, buy tickets to the Showcases. It’s everything a conference should be and more than you can imagine. Just go, I’m mighty glad I did. – Mary Anne Moorman

The FAR-West Music Conference was, as expected, totally inspiring, encouraging and educational. In addition it was a wonderful reunion with folks from the music scene in Seattle, the Pacific NW and beyond. Many lifetimes converged in that one space and time. Some new lifetimes were born too. – Carolyn Cruso

First time at this conference! I found it to be inspiring, informative, manageable, welcoming, and fun! Staff was friendly, helpful, and felt like a true community. Will definitely go back. – Joseph Eid

Sean and I had a great conference.  I had a ball speaking at two panels, the official showcase sound and stage crew were top notch, and we had a blast at the private showcases as well as the luncheon and other events.  And just like being on the road, the best part is making new friends. – Rita Hosking for Rita Hosking and Sean Feder

I just came home from my first FAR-West conference and a week later, I’m still on Cloud 9. I met so many amazing people, shared wonderful stories and songs, learned so much from the workshops, and (amidst this crazy election season) had my faith in humanity restored. What a wonderful experience! Thanks to everyone who organized and volunteered at this fantastic event. I can’t wait until next year. – Jamie Corff, Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist at Luminous Heart

The Far West Folk conference was heartwarming and fun. I’m so grateful that I get to attend gatherings like this. I was so busy there….rarely slept, ate irregularly…go,go,go loving every minute. All I had to do was get there, register and show up to the concert, showcase, workshop or jam in the foyer with a fiddle, banjo, three part harmony and guitar. Each one offered superb entertainment and or learning experience. It was mingling, encouraging and being nice. It was a safe environment with nary a negative word. At the final breakfast each volunteer stood. It looked like one half of crowd had volunteered in some giant or small capacity. – Mia Edsall

I want to thank you for the great conference….you all were so friendly and welcoming to us Coloradoans. It meant a lot. Of course having a great hotel really can make or break these things (and the Hyatt is wonderful), but the attendees and thoughtfully planned schedule really did it for us. – Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore

I’m about to embark on my spring tour…Many of these shows were booked directly because of the FAR-West community, so thank you all so much for that! – Jaspar Lepak (April 8, 2016)

This was my first time at FAR-West and I’ve never been at anything like it. Complete strangers welcomed me into their world, that is now my world. There was so much talent, so much kindness, as people shared their stories, their music, and themselves. I am grateful for this experience and thank you, Jeanette, for talking me into going! – Judy Nazemetz 

Being an organizer on a small scale with a small venue, I have some idea of the work and time it took to organize Far West.  It was a beautifully run conference and I personally thank you for all your efforts in supporting the promotion of acoustic music.  It truly is a labor of love and I for one appreciate that very much. Elaine Mahon 

We, Chappell & Dave Holt, had another wonderful year at FAR-West, our 4th time. We were delighted to volunteer with our old boss, Tom Hubbard, had a great time in Millsapswith Bum Wagler, enjoyed so many high level performances by our esteemed colleagues, were hosted by some wonderful PGS’s, felt the Networking Center was time well spent, renewed old friendships and made new ones, met in person a number of Facebook virtual friends, came home happy and exhausted. Spent 2 days in recovery! …. Thank you all for making this such a wonderful conference, I know how much work the volunteers who devote themselves to FAR-West do. High praise to you all!      –Chappell & Dave Holt

What an incredible weekend! Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organize this wonderful event. The music played, conversations shared, and community built all brought so much joy! This girl from Kansas felt very welcomed into the FAR-West!Erin Mae Lewis of Erin Mae Music and S.E.A.

I neglected to say out loud in front of people how grateful we all are for the dedicated hard work of all of you who put on such a great conference. You ALL are so appreciated and I for one really admire and respect each of you on the Board and all other volunteers, but especially the Movers and Shakers. You guys really rock. Thank you, thank you, thank you. – Susie Glaze

I went to a Folk Music ‘Conference’ last weekend and a ‘Community’ broke out. Just the Friendliest group of people, hanging out, trading songs, smiles, hugs, and just a fine, FINE time from sun up to sun down…well, from about 10am to 4am anyways—folks HAD to sleep sometime…Kudos to all the AMAZING artists who played (and inspired me to be better), the myriad of volunteers who did so much to make things run smoothly, and especially to the board and staff who spent so many hours making the event ‘Happen’.Dan Weber

At the FAR-West (Folk Alliance Region West) conference: Picture an entire floor of a hotel on which all of the guest rooms, late at night, become micro concert venues. You walk down the hall, hear amazing sounds coming out of each doorway, duck into a room, and get to be part of an audience of two or three or six people listening to an incredibly talented musician or band. Repeat every half hour until 2 AM. Can you imagine anything better than that? – Mark Schaeffer, Rose Avenue Acoustic Delights

FAR West is a convention of everything in the current Folk music scene, but that definition is pretty broad these days.  It’s a way to completely submerge yourself in music, whether it be folk, pop-folk, singer-songwriter, there’s even some alt-country in there.  Showcase after showcase, you’ll be surrounded by performers, talent bookers and the like from all over the west. Why go?  Well, if you’re looking to expand your reach as an artist in this field, it’s great exposure to a large number of resources that will help you.  The house concert scene – yep, all those folks are there.  It’s a networking weekend.  You’ll meet most of the players in the field, tons of performers, writers, singers, etc.  It’s like a really good night at Kulak’s, but on steroids, and it goes on for days. – Todd Lincoln Richards

Do you know about FAR-West? It’s the Western regional affiliate of the Folk Alliance International organization. Each year there is a conference/convention – sort of a business-networking thing for folk musicians (a very broad category, to be sure) and all the other people attendant to the genre. …. It’s pretty insane. They take over the facilities at a major hotel … for 3 days. There are showcase concerts in the ballrooms, networking sessions, classes, workshops etc., and craziest of all, they take over a floor of rooms for Private Guerrilla Showcases. The hallway is packed with people wandering from room to room with different music being performed in each one from 10:30-1:30 am, after the official showcases finish.  It’s impossible to take it all in – an embarrassment of riches. …. Of course, that’s not an issue for most folks, as the conference isn’t open to the general public – you need to be [registered for the conference]. – Maurice Tani

“We can’t wait to be back at FAR West this year! Thanks for putting together such a productive, informative and fun conference!” – The Better Halves

“My husband James and I had such a wonderful time and had the most response from FAR-West than any other Folk Alliance event we have attended. It was also our first time having a booth in a Networking Centre and turned out to be a wonderful investment and something we’ll have the confidence to do again as a result. We have 12 solid offers as a result of my showcase there and made some wonderful new discoveries. I’m so glad to have found out about Barbara Dane. She’s a treasure.
I also wanted to commend the sound and stage crew for all their hard work. The sound and stage organization, timing, etc. was impeccable.” – Linda McRae

“My wife Kathy and I had a wonderful time at the FAR-West conference last month.  We’ve been going to … Folk Alliance conventions since the 90’s and the FAR-West is like coming home for me, since I’m from Salinas, CA and I began my musical career on the west coast so many years ago.  I’d have to say that the Oakland FAR-West at the Marriott was really well attended and the venue was centrally located.  Scheduling was well prepared and the volunteers certainly deserve a big thanks for all their help.  There were so many talented artist and musicians doing showcases that we had a hard time catching up with everyone.   I really enjoyed the radio panel that I was on and it was such a pleasure to be a part of it.  We’re really looking forward to seeing all our old friends and making some new ones next year.  We’ll be at the Kansas City Convention in February and we’ll see you again in Oakland in the fall.” – Bill Wence

“Adding to the chorus of thanks for a full, fun weekend. Pleased to be part of a community as deeply-talented and wide-ranging as ours.” Wes Weddell

“It’s not so often that one’s highest expectations are exceeded, but the FAR-West Conference certainly exceeded mine. What a nice feeling in the air all week, and a great chance to meet and talk with so many diversely talented folks.” – Bill Amantneek

“I have been to many National Folk Alliance Conferences, NERFAs, SWRFAs, and FAR-Wests .and maybe I’m prejudiced because it’s my home conference, but FAR-West has the most heart and the most soul of any.  <It’s> a true credit to the folks who put it on and the musicians who attend.” – Freebo

“After having an excellent and rewarding experience at last year’s FAR-West in Irvine, Laurel and I decided to pull out all the stops and make sure we return to FAR-West again as often as possible starting this year! We were absolutely thrilled earlier this summer when notified we had been chosen to perform in an Official Showcase! (FAR-West) is a wonderful conference full of friends new and old, learning experiences and an explosion of great music that really resonates.  It is beyond an honour to perform there and we’re humbled by the amazing opportunity to share our music. I really enjoy being around so many like-minded people for a solid weekend as I’m sure you all do as well.” – Dan and Laurel

“It was my first time and I was totally amazed and overwhelmed by the experience. The music was outstanding! The production team perfect! Generally everything I experienced from the networking booth to the official showcase to the PGS rooms was excellent. Looking forward to next year!” – Kiki Ebsen

“I am having trouble finding adequate words to express my deepest gratitude to every single amazing person I encountered this past week at my first Far-West . I was completely humbled by the kindness, warmth and welcoming energy of the Far-West community. I was utterly in awe of how well the conference was run and so impressed by all that you do so right.” – Marci Geller

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first Folk Alliance conference, and already pre-registered for next year’s.” – James Woolwine

“Thank you for creating such a beautiful conference. I’m still basking in the spirit of mutual encouragement and goodwill just as much as the music. Great to see, meet, and hear so many dear people all in one place. Looking forward to Oakland and to crossing paths again and again as part of the extended community of song.” – Donna Lynn Caskey

“Thank you to the Board, the volunteers, my PGS hosts, my mentors, my wonderful brothers and sisters in song. The community, inspiration and camaraderie you provide is unparalleled. I have a VERY hard time explaining this to the people in my other life.”
Laura Zucker

“I have had the pleasure and privilege of singing and sharing my songs and stories with many audiences both large and small, schooled and unschooled. What I can tell you (from my experience of standing on the Official Showcase stage) is WOW! I have NEVER played for an audience that was SO INTO the music and really wanting a performer to succeed, shine.” – Kerry Patrick Clark

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this community. Thanks so much to each of you who make it happen and all your efforts. Once again, the good vibes will feed me `til we see each other again…thank you, thank you… ” – Aireene Espiritu

“Another heavenly three days of conferencing… because they allow me to have the time of my life annually.” – Phil Ward

“From my completely subjective point of view, this was probably the best FAR-West of the 5 I’ve attended… The lineups at the Venues’ Choice and Official Showcases were stellar, the venue-oriented workshops were very helpful.” Gary Trobridge

“Now that we’ve actually slept a bit, we’d like to thank EVERYONE for creating the amazing heartfelt experience that we all shared. To create an event like this takes vision, heart, commitment, and cooperation. We’re glad to see that this organization has that in abundance.” – Sabrina & Craig

 

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