On Thursday, Folk Alliance International—an organization based around connecting folk musicians as well as preserving and promoting folk traditions—announced that Mavis Staples and Rhiannon Giddens will be the keynote speakers for their 2020 conference in New Orleans.
The theme of the conference is “The Story of People and Place,” which is why FAI felt that Staples and Giddens were the perfect choices.
“Both Mavis’ work as a civil rights activist and Rhiannon’s focus on the historical narrative of African American music and history are the perfect complement to our 2020 theme and focus on cultural equity at the conference,” FAI said in a statement. “The conference theme will explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and address topics of immigration, intersection and influence.”
The conference (now in its 32nd year) is a celebration of folk music from around the world. Featuring over 2,900 artists and industry members from more than 45 countries, the week-long event is the world’s largest gathering of the folk music community, featuring an array of genres including Appalachian, Americana, blues, bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Francophone, global roots, hip-hop, indigenous, Latin, old time, singer-songwriter, spoken word, traditional and Zydeco.
Considering the influences and cultures that blend together into the gumbo of folk music and tradition, New Orleans is an apt host of the conference. Being the birthplace of jazz and an indispensable hub of cultural integration for the United States, the stories of American folk’s past will be present in this celebration of its future.
In addition to Staples and Giddens’ keynote appearances, the conference will feature a showcase series of 180 performances, opportunities for musicians of all calibers to connect and an amazing time for any lover of folk.
Learn more about the Folk Alliance International Conference 2020 here and watch an informational video below.