Today, the FreshGrass Foundation announces the addition of Folk Alley to its community of roots music organizations. The Foundation, which began in 2017 aims to preserve, support, and create innovative grassroots music, and actualizes this mission by producing the annual FreshGrass Festival, publishing No Depression, and offering a range of financial commissions and awards. By welcoming Folk Alley into this family of independent roots music entities, the FreshGrass Foundation will continue to fulfill its mission through yet another means — digital folk music discovery, streaming, and distribution.
Each will continue in their current forms at FreshGrass.org, FolkAlley.com, and NoDepression.com.
Folk Alley officially launched in 2003 as a digital music streaming service produced by Kent State University’s public radio station WKSU. Over the past 16 years, Folk Alley has grown to include around-the-clock hosted streams and a weekly syndicated radio show that’s heard in 50 American markets, as well as a range of curated playlists, podcasts, and streams available online and on its mobile app. Like its namesake, Folk Alley strives to highlight the best in traditional folk, roots, Americana, contemporary singer/songwriters, Celtic, bluegrass, and other world sounds.
“Folk Alley is the largest and best showcase of these genres through its multiple 24/7 music streams, curated digital content, and original video recordings,” says Wendy Turner, executive director and general manager of WKSU. “In the FreshGrass Foundation, WKSU and Kent State University found a creative and collaborative home for Folk Alley.”
Impressively, Folk Alley has remained self-sustaining for its entire existence. By launching multiple membership fund drives each year — members who donate annually at $60 or more receive access to the members-only stream and can bypass all fund drive messaging broadcast while streaming — Folk Alley has been able to stay independent and provide a necessary public service to both members and non-members.
Chris Wadsworth, president of the FreshGrass Foundation and publisher of No Depression, appreciates this model and notes the similarities among the three communities that now fall under the Foundation’s umbrella.
“Folk Alley is 100% supported by its listeners, just as No Depression and the FreshGrass Festival are 100% supported by their readers and attendees,” he says. “We share the same determination to preserve critical, independent, and artful resources for the vibrant world of roots music and we share the same philosophy of reinvesting everything we can back into the ecosystem.”
With the addition of Folk Alley, the FreshGrass Foundation will continue build a larger and more complimentary network for roots music fans. By uniting all kinds of listeners, readers, donors, and festival-goers who all believe in the same mission of preserving and promoting roots music, FreshGrass, No Depression, and Folk Alley plan to create an even stronger platform to engage and connect this community.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled or more excited about the future of Folk Alley and our ability to serve our current and future folk, roots, Americana music loving audience,” says Folk Alley senior director of content and producer Linda Fahey. “By joining the FreshGrass family, so many doors open for synergy, new collaborations, and other opportunities to create quality content.”