This March, Geelong will become the home to folk, roots and indigenous musicians when the music community gathers for The ExChange, the International Folk Music Conference which will elevate Australia’s independent folk music community.
A global conference for music industry networking, planning, and international market development with a strong focus on partnership, professional development and music export opportunities, The ExChange is presented by US-based Folk Alliance International (FAI) in partnership with the Port Fairy Folk Festival in the lead up to the iconic annual seaside festival (which goes down on March 6 – 9).
Come March, the international event will bring a number of industry personnel, presenters, top-quality national and international folk acts from all over the world to numerous Geelong venues for three nights and two days. With a focus on economic development, industry partnerships, professional development, sector strategy, First Nations artist panels and performances, the conference is designed for all members of the industry and those interested in folk music and culture.
The speakers and panellists of the highest calibre set to take over the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre during the day include the likes of Bonnie Dalton from the Victorian Music Development Office; Chloe Goodyear from Woodford Folk Festival; Glenn Dickie from Sounds Australia; Lisa Shwartz from Philadelphia Folk Festival, USA; among many others.
At night, a series of showcase concerts will be held throughout the arts and culture precinct of Geelong which will see a number of Australian artists performing, including Alana Wilkinson, Alice Skye, Benny Walker, Charm Of Finches, Cooper Lower, Emily Wurramara, Fenn Wilson, This Way North and William Crighton – just to name a few. There will also be performances from a number of exciting international artists including Canada’s The East Pointers, Celtic pop singer/songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, NZ’s Soulful Hollie Smith, and Nashville singer-guitarist Will Kimbrough.
Alongside the panel discussions and showcase concerts, there will also be a host of development opportunities for the folk music industry, as well as an electric opening night gala event. Hosted by Derek Guille, the gala will feature the presentation of Folk Alliance International’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr Jamie McKew, Founding Director of Port Fairy Folk Festival, alongside performances by Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse – 2020 Port Fairy Artists of the Year, The East Pointers (CAN), Shane Howard and friends, and special guests. The gala event will raise funds for the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery which has been set up by the township following the devastating fires in the Southern NSW region leading to the Cobargo Folk Festival being postponed.
A visual arts exhibition, The Force of Folk, will also be presented at Platform Gallery, and run for the duration of The ExChange.
The ExChange takes place in Geelong from 2-4 March and is for all folk music lovers, industry and general public. For tickets to the gala event and further information visit folkexchange.org/register/