Five Manitoba acts are packing up their gear and heading to warmer climates this month. They’re heading to Memphis, Tennessee to showcase for the folk and roots music industry at the International Folk Alliance Conference. Running February 16-20, the 23rd annual event is the premier professional development conference focused on folk, roots, multicultural, and world music in North America.
This year’s showcasing acts include some of Manitoba’s best established and up-and-coming artists, including singer/songwriter J.P. Hoe, roots rocker JD Edwards, bluegrass outfit The Magnificent Sevens, roots act Fish and Bird, and country songstress Ashley Robertson. Each artist will have three performances during Manitoba Music’s “Fresh Folk” nightly showcases. The Magnificent Sevens, JP Hoe, and JD Edwards will also play coveted official showcases during the event. The showcases at this year’s conference offer artists the chance to perform for audiences that include influential folk festival buyers, booking agents, record labels, managers, and media.
Every year, Manitoba Music provides the framework for these artists to gain further exposure to the movers and shakers in the international folk and roots community through the nightly showcases and networking opportunities at the Canadian booth in the massive tradeshow hall. Manitoba Music will also co-host a special Canadian Reception on February 18 with other music industry organizations including East Coast Music Association, Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Folquébec, Folk Music Canada, and more.
Manitoba has built a reputation for its strong roots scene, dominating folk and roots categories at the Juno Awards, garnering attention from major media outlets, and touring to sold-out halls throughout North American, Europe, Australia, and beyond. This year alone, local artists landed three nominations at the 2011 Juno Awards in roots and traditional categories for groups and solo, with nods for Chic Gamine, Ruth Moody, and Del Barber. Manitoba showed off its roots in November as the host of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards, which packed Winnipeg venues for a weekend of stellar events.
Manitoba artists travelling to Memphis were able to access financial support for their showcases at Folk Alliance through the Market Access Program, a program jointly-funded by Manitoba Music and Manitoba Film & Music.