The Southeast Regional Folk Alliance holds conference in Black Mountain, May 14-18

From a press release:

The Southeast Regional Folk Alliance holds conference in Black Mountain, May 14-18

SERFA, The Southeast Regional Folk Alliance, is set to hold their seventh annual conference, with this being their fourth to be held at The Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, North Carolina May 14-18, 2014.

SERFA, one of five smaller regional conferences of the Folk Alliance International based in Kansas City, MO, is a gathering of roughly 200 + artists, venues and music industry people who come together for showcasing, education and special events in a community-based atmosphere.

A variety of workshops will be featured during the conference to both help the artist become better at their trade, while also learning more on how to promote their career, alongside instructional clinics and mentoring. A variety of showcasing opportunities for the artist are offered, with many venues and house-concert presenters in attendance.

This year also includes the inaugural award by Founding SERFA President Kari Estrin for “Outstanding Contributions to Music and Culture In the Southeast” which she will present to the Highlander Research and Education Center located in New Market, Tennessee. The Highlander Center serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the U.S. South. But it is Highlander’s integration of music with social change that SERFA is acknowledging with Estrin’s award.

In the Civil Rights Era, not only did Rosa Parks receive training at Highlander before she gave up her seat on the bus, it was also where the song “We Shall Overcome” evolved and was disseminated. And when Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger made their cross-country trip together in the early ‘40’s, one of their first stops was The Highlander Center. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg of Highlander’s role in combining music and song in order to help promote social change.

The Highlander Research and Education Center has changed the lives of those who have attended their workshops, training and education programs for over 80 years and in effect, many of our own lives because of those who have studied and participated there.

To highlight the recognition of The Highlander Research and Education Center, SERFA is proud to welcome John McCutcheon as their keynote speaker. McCutcheon has attended many gatherings at The Highlander Center to help create opportunities to use music for social change; has worked tirelessly in establishing Local 1000, the only union representing acoustic musicians as a group; and also has distinguished himself in the world of acoustic and Southern music for over 40 years with 36 recordings and several Grammy nominations. Pete Seeger said of McCutcheon,”John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader. And not just incidentally, he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.”

The Keynote and Award Presentation will be held on Friday, 10:30 am at The Montreat Conference Center. To register for the conference or for more information, please go to

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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