Folk Alliance International Starts Village Fund to Aid Musicians in Need

Jim Lauderdale
Scott Simontacchi

Jim Lauderdale

Folk Alliance International has established The Village Fund, a grant program for folk artists and independent music industry professionals experiencing financial hardship.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages on, folk artists have been among the hardest hit since they make their living almost exclusively through touring.

FAI, which launched in 1989 to connect the folk music community, has committed $25,000 from its reserve and hopes to raise an additional $75,000 in public support for the fund in order to initially distribute 200 grants of $500, with plans to continually replenish the fund. The Village Fund will open applications in April for FAI members and those who have participated in FAI events over the past three years. Recipients will then be drawn by lottery.

To raise additional funds, the FAI will allow donors exclusive access to FolkUnlocked showcases, a virtual music festival taking place Feb. 22-26 with more than 800 hours of performances.

The lineup features a wide range of artists, including Los Lobos, Terrence Simien, Cedric Burnside, Sawyer Fredericks, Jim Lauderdale, Keb'Mo', Flor de Toloache and the McCrary Sister. The suggested minimum donation, to be made here, is $20.

Like other organizations, the FAI’s annual conference, slated for February, has been canceled, but it will hold its annual International Folk Music Awards as part of FolkUnlocked’s four-day virtual gathering.