This year I attended as a Singer-Songwriter and Performer, and also as a Folk DJ, since I am co-host of a radio show called Folk Talk, a weekly 1 hour folk music & talk radio show hosted by Rik Palieri on WBTV-LP 99.3 FM, Sundays @ 4PM.
Other things I did differently from my first NERFA, last year:
- Came as early as possible on Thursday and stayed through lunch Sunday.
- I got an exhibit hall table, which I shared with The Rix, and which also served for promoting Folk Talk, as Rik Palieri, the host, is a member of The Rix duo. Our table was next to Zoe Mulford, who has appeared on our radio show, and it was a delight to get to talk with her and her husband.
- I have physical CD’s of my new album, Common Man Blues, and was able to give it to DJ’s with a Track Card and Press Release folded and tucked inside the CD sleeve.
- I bought the extra meals and made time for at least one nap.
I also did something NOT recommended: I seriously cut one of my fingers on my right hand carelessly reaching into my bag (shaving razor got loose) and had to detour on the way to an urgent care facility to properly bandage it up, as the single band-aid I had in the car could not contain the flow of blood. I had a GIANT bandage on the ring finger of my right hand.
I attended a songwriter swap called “Unsung Songwriters” with my hand like that, and was glad I had the ukulele! I was able to swap the comically-oversized bandage for two normal fabric ones and at least I didn’t look as weird playing. Good thing I use my thumb and index finger for most picking!
Another new thing: playing a guerrilla showcase with a new accompanist with a single rehearsal! A violinist named Alice Hasen put out on the NERFA Talk Facebook group that she was available to join other artists in their showcases, so I, and apparently a lot of other people, took her up on it. She did a phenomenal job on everything she played on, and her own showcases were delightful! I was very excited to meet a young musician of this caliber, and although she is based out of Memphis now, she is originally from Shelburne, Vermont, up in my neck of the woods, so I am hopeful we will get to work together in the future.
Another way I stepped out of my comfort zone was signing up for the Crab Donkey “Murder Ballads” showcase. I specifically learned two songs for this: “Stagger Lee” and “Banks of the Ohio” and played them on a round-neck, all-metal resonator guitar on loan from Rik Palieri.
The showcases wrapped up, in classic NERFA style, at 3 AM, but we had people singing along even at that hour!
Workshops I attended included Vance Gilbert‘s Performance Workshop (as usual, pure genius, not long enough) a DJ workshop about new digital platforms, and a workshop by Liz Stookey-Sunde, Founder of Music to Life, about connecting activism and music.
Hoping to get Vance to come up to Burlington to do his workshop and maybe a show. Also hoping to connect with Liz at Music to Life to develop a plan for a “Social Change Music Academy” concept.
“Folk Talk” is already part of the offerings on Folk Music Notebook, a new 24-hour folk music internet radio station created by Ron Olesko, DJ and Founder of “Traditions”, now WFDU-FM’s longest running program.
NERFA is an interesting opportunity to connect with the community in a way that is different from the rest of the year, and I look forward to the next one!