Live From the International Folk Alliance, Christine Lavin Hosts an Olympics of Singer-Songwriters

By Amelia Mason - February 19, 2014

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Just as NBC beams the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia around the globe, the International Folk Alliance will host its first ever broadcast from the annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri, this weekend. (The comparison may be a stretch, but at least the Folk Alliance broadcast will be live, unlike NBC’s Olympic coverage.) Over the course of two sessions on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22, somewhere on the order of 60 singer-songwriters will each get a chance to make an impression on the world. No medals will be awarded, but all the money raised will go to the Folk Alliance scholarship fund.

“Live from the Folk Alliance Conference,” which will be broadcast on Concert Window, is the brainchild of the New York City-based singer-songwriter Christine Lavin. Since her first solo show in January, she has participated in four co-bills on Concert Window and has become a vocal proponent of their live-from-your-laptop concerts, which save artists considerable expense since they can be performed from home. She has seen viewership grow with each successive show.

“I realized by doing one of these at Folk Alliance I can help so many other singer-songwriters by putting them on camera for a song, and also asking them to talk a little bit about themselves,” says Lavin. “We'll have viewers logged in from all over.”

Lavin, a witty and gregarious presence known for her comedic lyricism, will host the two three-hour-plus broadcasts. She plans to project the audience comments onto a screen for the in-house audience to see and respond to as well. As a veritable Concert Window veteran, she has strategically opted for the “pay whatever you want” option.

“For as little as one dollar people can log on, and if they like what they hear, they can tip,” Lavin explains. “I encourage anyone doing this to go this 'pay whatever you want' route. No risk for the audience, and the folk crowd is generous and if they like you, they'll show it.”

The shows will be very much in the spirit of Folk Alliance, whose business it is to support up-and-coming folk artists. Lavin’s plan to fit as many performers as possible into the two timeslots will probably lead to some chaotic, off-the-cuff moments--though that is precisely the appeal of a live broadcast.

“This will be a fun learning experience for those songwriters who haven't done this yet,” says Lavin. “And it will be two days' worth of discovery for the curious people gathered 'round their computers all over the world, wondering about all these musicians gathered 'round Folk Alliance in Kansas City.”


Friday 2:30 - 6:00 PM Eastern Christine Lavin, host

Heather Styka Tim Mason Jenna Lindbo Catie Curtis Laura Smith Uncle Bonsai Amy Speace David Newberry Mark Stansberry Todd Newman Don White Hayley Reardon Molasses Creek The Amigos Don Henry Gina Forsyth Raina Rose Kathy Moser
The F5Four Bluegrass Band Diana Lawrence Honor Finnegan Andrew McKnight
Spencer Scholes Chuck Mitchell Buddy Mondlock Finale

And there may be surprise guests dropping in.

Saturday Concert Window Concert 1:30 - 5:00 Eastern Time Christine Lavin, host

Guy Davis Bob Gramman John Statz Vincent Cross Bob Wright Mara Levine The Jessica Stuart Few
Spook Handy William Harris Graham Scott Alarik David Tamulevich Brother Sun David Newberry Salina Darryl Purpose Ann Zimmerman Celtic folk band: Burning Bridget Cleary Josh White Jr. Jim Kweskin Shane Lamb Dan Navarro Erin Rogers Ellis Paul Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers FINALE

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