We are delighted to announce that Sarah McQuaid has been selected for an official Performance Alley Showcase at the 23rd Annual International Folk Alliance Conference (http://www.folkalliance.org), taking place between 15th & 20th February in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
One of the five largest music conferences in North America, the Folk Alliance draws over two thousand registered attendees each year, including representatives of venues, festivals, record labels, broadcast and print media, agents and performers.
Two hundred artists are invited for official showcases each year, but of these, only around twenty come from outside the US and Canada, so it’s a great honour for an overseas artist such as Sarah McQuaid to be selected. Other artists who will be showcasing in 2011 include such high-profile names as Suzy Bogguss, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson, Kieran Goss, Diana Jones, Si Kahn and Raul Malo.
Sarah attended the conference for the first time in 2010, and received several bookings as a direct result of the unofficial “Guerrilla” showcases she performed there.
Among these was an invitation to appear next April on 'Folkstage', a live concert radio show broadcast by Chicago's public radio station, WFMT. The show’s host, Rich Warren, had previously named Sarah's album ‘I Wont Go Home 'Til Morning’ CD of the week on his nationally syndicated show 'The Midnight Special' (http://www.midnightspecial.org/syndication.htm).
"I'd written to Rich to thank him for the mention and to ask if he'd book me for Folkstage," Sarah explains, "but he told me he never books anyone for Folkstage until he's seen them perform live. I was well nervous when I clocked him in the audience at one of the unofficial showcases I did last year -- the showcases are in hotel rooms, so it's a slightly bizarre setup -- but thankfully he came straight up to me as soon as I finished, took out his diary and said he'd be delighted to book me.
"I'm thrilled that the Folk Alliance have invited me for an official showcase next year," Sarah continues, "because those are in big halls, with stage and lights and PA, and they're much better attended than the unofficial ones. It's a big deal to be selected and I'm very excited about it!"
Sarah's Folk Alliance appearance will follow hard on the heels of a twenty one date tour of the Netherlands and Germany in January and February 2011.
Immediately following the conference, she'll be travelling to Nashville for meetings with two record labels and a co-writing session with well-known songwriter Thomm Jutz, guitarist and producer for Nanci Griffith amongst others.
On her return to her home base in Cornwall, she'll barely have time to draw breath before setting off on a densely packed UK tour that fills the month of March, followed by an Ireland tour in April and a five-week USA tour from late April through early June.