by Elena See, Folk Alley
Wednesday, February 25, 2017. 7:08pm (CST).
Here I am at the 2017 Folk Alliance International Conference, in Kansas City, Missouri. Airport code MCI, in case you like knowing things like that – I do. 29th floor, lovely view of the old part of downtown (according to the friendly lady who checked me in). I’ve discovered there’s a fitness center on the E level (“That’s for Executive Level and, ma’am, no. You do not need a special card or key to access it. Your regular key will work.”) and there appears to be a coffee shop and a couple of bars within strolling distance. Bathroom stuff unpacked. Suitcase opened and arranged. Computer on and internet code typed in.
Do you know how long it has been since I’ve been to one of these things? “Things” being a real, honest to goodness, folk conference? It’s been 9 years, that’s how long. 9. Years. Some things you never forget and I will never forget how much fun I had 9 years ago at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Memphis.
Something I did forget? How many people show up to these things. I mean, sure, you’ve got musicians (amazing musicians – have you seen the line up? Here it is. But you also have “Industry” people and “Press” people – each of us has our own special name badge, by the way, color coded to go with whatever category we fall into. (Mine, if you’re curious, is “Press” and it’s a purpley-reddish color.)
Walking into the hotel to register before walking over to the other hotel to check in, I was assaulted by a barrage of…noise. Laughing, shouting, echoing, yelling, talking, glasses clinking. There are guitars everywhere. I mean, everywhere. It’s an assault on the senses, for sure. And, to be honest, it’s kind of overwhelming, especially for a radio person with, shall we say, rather introverted tendencies. There’s a reason we work in closed off studios, you know.
But. I just downloaded the official Folk Alliance app. And I just added the musicians I want to see to my calendar. And I can feel myself getting excited to experience some amazing new music which I will, hopefully, get to share with you very soon.
So, let’s do this. Notebook? Check. Pens (4)? Check. Fresh batteries in the recorder? Check. Water bottle, gum, phone, ID, cash, room key. I am ready.