NERFA IS COMING!!

It has been a whirlwind summer for me. I managed to get a few vacation days together with my family, spent at my favorite NJ beach at Ocean Grove. We had a few glorious days to bask in the sun, enjoy the surf, and relax in the historic beach town.

Vacation time also marks the beginning of judging for the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA). The annual conference will once again take place at Kutsher’s in November. NERFA is an “industry” conference/trade show for folkies. About 500-600 people show up, which includes some extraordinary talent. I am the chair for the Formal Showcase Committee and each year we listen to submissions from over 200 artists and choose a handful of performers who will strut their stuff in a showcase that is the centerpiece of the weekend. Over the years we have been introduced to artists who have become staples on the folk circuit. From the first batch of submissions, I think this year is going to feature some exceptional talent. Organizations like NERFA and the Folk Alliance have helped to provide guidance to artists and also create a community that nurtures acoustic music. From traditional performers to contemporary songwriters, there is something for everyone at NEFA.

For those of you who might be interested in attending, here is a recent communication from Diane Tankle, the coordinator of the conference:

NERFA NEWS

We apologize for this cross-posting. This is very time sensitive material and we felt it necessary to get this message out to as many as possible as quickly as possible. This is all about the NERFA conference taking place November 9, 10, 11, 2007 at Kutsher’s Resort and Conference Center in Monticello, NY.

This communication is also to officially notify those of you who are members of the Folk Alliance and live in the Northeast that we are now accepting nominations for the NERFA Board of Directors. Our Board consists of nine members. Each serves a three year term and we elect one third of our board each year. If you are interested in running for the Board or would like to nominate someone else to do so, please send their name, contact information and a short bio to nerfa at comcast.net. Also, please make sure this person is interested in running before you nominate them. Deadline for nominations is August 15. Ballots will be mailed out shortly after Labor Day.

AND NOW FOR THE CONFERENCE – Due to circumstances beyond our control and much to our dismay, the NERFA snail mail will be received much later than we anticipated. Therefore, in fairness to everyone, we are extending the postmark deadline for Formal showcase applications to August 10, 2007. The deadline for the TriCentric showcases shall remain August 24, 2007. Remember, if you apply for both of them together and are selected for a formal, you may apply the tricentric application fee to the formal showcase fee.

It is not possible to extend the formal showcase deadline beyond August 10 because it would cut too much into the time our judges need to listen to all the entries and still have the results ready around Labor Day. We encourage you to mail in your entry as soon as you possibly can and not wait until the last moment. It really does put a tremendous amount of pressure on our judges if too many people apply at the end of the eligibility period.

Speaking of showcases, we rotate some judges off the committees every year. This means we have openings for both the formal and tricentric judges. The judges are asked to listen to anywhere from 120 to 250 CDs (just 3 tracks on each). Almost all this listening is done during the month of August. Our judges are usually Folk DJs or presenters. If being a judge interests you or you wish further information, please contact us at NERFA at comcast.net.

We also need several people for our programming committee. We do have a new chairperson this year. She will need help reviewing the program proposals which are submitted as well as examining our entire workshop schedule to determine needs for something we are not fulfilling. We also look at programming from previous years and choose which workshops, if any, need to be repeated. If you wish more information about the programming committee, once again contact us at NERFA@comcast.net.

Remember we are now offering the presenters incentive to anyone who books a folk venue – not just to first timers. You are eligible for this ONLY if booking your venue is your main purpose in attending the conference. Sorry, we cannot make this available to you if you are also coming as a performer with intentions of showcasing.

If you are not able to get the information you need or the necessary forms from of our website, www.nerfa.org please write to us (NERFA@comcast.net ) We will send you a PDF with everything you might need. If for some reason you can not read a PDF, send us a FAX number and we will fax the entire package to you. We do expect our regular mailing to go out later this week. If you are a member of the Folk Alliance or have been to a previous NERFA, you will automatically receive this packet. If you live outside the NorthEast but still wish to receive this information, just drop us a note at nerfa@comcast.net with your address – snail mail or e-mail – and we will be happy to send it to you.

We also want to remind you why being selected for a NERFA Formal or TriCentric showcase is truly an honor. We have heard from many presenters who say this is where they book almost their entire Festival or concert series. We have heard from performers who consider this the best place to showcase since you have a captive audience. This is because NERFA is held at a resort where everyone eats together as a community and, then, almost all attend the showcases as a community. This is unlike similar conferences where meals are not included and one may or may not make it back in time for the showcases when they go out to eat. Also, remember all NERFA juried showcases (both Formal and TriCentric) are completed protected. NOTHING – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – may take place at the same time. There is only ONE Formal showcase happening at the scheduled time – and only three TriCentrics happening right next to each other at the same time. Now the Private and Guerilla showcases – that is a bit different. These showcases may happen any time of the day or night (other than during Formal and Tricentric showcases) and there may be several dozen at once.

One of the reasons this mailing is going out so late is because of the negotiating we did with Kutsher’s. We actually did spend time this past year looking into other possibilities. But, so far, no other place meets as needs nearly as well as Kutsher’s. We are wide open to your suggestions for future years. However, please remember we need a place which can sleep at least 600 people and has adequate conference facilities. We have received many suggestions from people who did not bother to check that the place they were suggesting only held 250 people. Also, we feel very strongly about staying away from an urban setting.

Now, let me tell you what we worked out with Kutsher’s this year. They have done many repairs and have renovated many of the hotel rooms as well as the public areas. They have done nothing to fix up the Wings – and this is where we had so many problems last year. THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT BE USING ANY ROOMS IN THE WINGS. What does this do to our price structure, you may ask? Because we no longer will be offering those super cheap rundown rooms, it allows us to lower the price for the remaining rooms priced at the lower end of the scale. Check out the actually prices which will be up on our website shortly and also will be included in the snail mail.

If you are coming to NERFA, we encourage you to consider coming on Thursday evening. This is when the special Folk DJ showcase happens. In addition, the official programming begins Friday morning; some of the very best workshops are scheduled then. If you have any further questions, suggestions, have an idea for a workshop, etc, please e-mail us at NERFA@comcast.net and we will get right back to you. No one answers the NERFA phone line until after Labor Day when we start keeping regular office hours.

Thanks for reading through this long communication. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Dianne Tankle,

coordinator on behalf of the Steering Committee for the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference.

About Ron Olesko

For over 40 years, Ron has been a radio programmer with WFDU-FM in Teaneck, New Jersey. He created WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS in 1980, a show that he continues to host and produce every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6pm Eastern Time. He's the president of and booker for the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and is a regular contributor to Sing Out! as well as the host of the Folk Music Notebook blog on this site. Ron can also be found emceeing concerts and festivals around the NYC/NJ area. A lifelong Mets fan and a rabid soccer geek, Ron is a Red Bull season ticket holder since their inception and will most likely be in his seat when not in the studio.

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