Folk Alliance seeks new director

folk_allianceNew year, new job? Folk Alliance International is on the hunt for a new Executive Director.

Based in Kansas City, MO, Folk Alliance can be thought of as the folk music analog to the International Bluegrass Music Association. They are a membership organization, promote folk music of every sort, and host an annual conference.

This is a hands on, full time position requiring some years of experience in senior management, and a deep knowledge of the music.

Complete job listing follows…


Folk Alliance International (Folk Alliance), based in Kansas City, Missouri, exists to foster and promote traditional, contemporary and multicultural folk music. The Folk Alliance seeks to strengthen and advance organizational and individual initiatives in folk music and dance through education, networking, advocacy, and professional and field development.

Since 1989, Folk Alliance International has served as the headquarters for the Folk Music and Dance community. With more than 2,800 members worldwide and an annual conference that is one of the five largest music conferences in North America, Folk Alliance continues to grow and mature while providing a unique range of member services to its community. Over the years, that community has grown to include record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, music support services, manufacturers and artists that work in the folk world. Folk Alliance has five regional affiliates in North America: Northeast, Midwest, Far West, South East, and South West, that provide the grass roots efforts in their respective markets.

Folk Alliance’s annual conference is attended by more than 2,000 enthusiastic members of the folk community and includes workshops, panels, performances and networking opportunities. In 2014, Folk Alliance will launch its Music Camp, held concurrently with the annual conference, as part of its earned income initiative. Folk Alliance is governed by an 18-member Board of Directors, comprising folk community and music industry leaders based around North America.

Folk Alliance has established a clear track record of balancing its budget annually. For the year ending June 30, 2012 Folk Alliance’s annual revenue was $607,847. For FY 2013, the organization’s revenue was $780,351 and the goal for FY 2014 is $1,001,860, an increase fueled by Folk Alliance’s first Music Camp, a performance camp for both kids and adults who love folk and roots music.



Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri, with a population of 459,787 and a greater metropolitan population of more than 2 million spanning the Missouri – Kansas border. The city is well known for its contribution to the musical styles of jazz and blues as well as to cuisine, notably Kansas City Barbecue.  In March 2012 Kansas City was selected as one of America’s best downtowns by Forbes Magazine for its rich culture in arts, numerous fountains (more than 200 throughout the city), upscale shopping and various local cuisines.

Kansas City has a legacy of artistic and entrepreneurial innovation spanning more than 125 years. The Kansas City metropolitan area has launched a collaborative campaign, titled America’s Creative Crossroads, highlighting the Kansas City area as an intersection of artistry and technology, designed to elevate Kansas City in the minds of residents, visitors, talented professionals and businesses. Arts organizations include Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kansas City Ballet (all housed at the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts); Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and the Kansas City Chorale. Kansas City is home to four professional sports teams – the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Explorers and Sporting Kansas City.

Kansas City is at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, with four distinct seasons and moderate precipitation. Temperatures average 31 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 81 degrees in summer.




Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director supervises and directs all aspects of Folk Alliance’s operations and is responsible for the consistent achievement of the organization’s mission.The position will maintain excellent relationships with Folk Alliance’s worldwide membership and regional affiliates with a goal of continuing the organization’s growth in membership size and engagement. The scope of responsibility includes oversight of the annual conference, budget, brand building & marketing, membership development, fund development, earned income projects, contract negotiations with and for performers, external relations, and the overall operational, financial, and administrative management. The Executive Director will oversee short- and long-range strategic planning and implementation, including the effective hiring, training, mentoring, and supervision of the organization’s human resources while maximizing the organization’s membership fulfillment and earned and contributed revenue capabilities.

The Executive Director will also provide support to best utilize the talents and resources of the Board, stimulate involvement, recruit new members, and work closely with it to ensure strong fiscal health and community relations. The Executive Director will build and sustain relationships with the Board, ensuring an energetic approach toward achievement of organizational and financial goals while educating, engaging, and energizing the Board in their role as fundraisers, policymakers, and community ambassadors.

The Executive Director will also be the chief spokesperson for Folk Alliance, holding the organization’s mission, vision and values as a guide in representing it to many constituencies. The Executive Director will guide the membership, program and revenue growth, public image and increased brand awareness of the organization, articulating its impact to the folk community and the broader music industry. The Executive Director will be the primary point of contact with the membership and other key stakeholders, and will develop strategies, and define how institutional messages will be delivered to various individuals and institutions to increase visibility, brand, and earned and contributed revenues of the organization.


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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.