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Why You Should Consider Coming to FAR-West

31 Jul Posted by in Blog | Comments
Why You Should Consider Coming to FAR-West

In case you don’t know, we local singer-songwriters have a terrific opportunity coming up in October. The Western Folk Alliance is holding their yearly singer-songwriter conference here in Seattle, and Songwriters in Seattle will have it’s own performance showcase this year! We are hoping to display as many of our own performers as there are slots available, but you need to register to perform.

The showcase will be open three nights during the conference, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:30 PM – 2:00 AM and we can have 7 people perform each night. Yes, it’s late. But you’d be surprised how when there, everyone’s enjoying so much music , performing and/or popping into various showcases, that it feels like a wonderful nightly music party. Each room has snacks, and a theme.

The conference is for musicians wanting to be seen, venue operators looking for musicians to book, people wanting to learn how to hold house concerts, or to book ones for an already established venue, etc. It’s also for songwriters wanting to bump up their game. Additionally, this year one of our own SiS member, Larry Murante, will be featured in an official juried showcase at the conference.  (Stay tuned for Char Seawell’s interview with him in our September issue).

This event is regional for the Western US and occurs yearly in rotation in Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington state. It occurred in Bellevue last year (Hyatt Regency – also home to the Wintergrass festival), and this is it’s last appearance here for a while to come. As someone completely new to this event who attended for the first time last year, I can tell you without reservation that it inspired me to improve my songwriting craft tenfold, plus has afforded me the chance to get to know many more talented folks within our songwriting community; both in SiS and out there on their own.

There are panels, workshops, a banquet, other meals, official showcases in a ballroom, and the infamous ‘guerrilla showcases’ which take place in private hotel rooms that line two hallways worth. These are hosted performance showcases which ANY registrant can apply to play in. As purely an audience person last year, I will tell you that attending these felt reminiscent of what Tin Pan Alley must have sounded like in the days of Gershwin; beautiful original music coming out of one doorway after another, though in this case, the tones were a lot more dulcet than the bright pianos being pounded on back then.

Recently I interviewed Joel Tepp, a well-known music presence we’re lucky to have in our community, who’s been involved in Far West for a number of years, and is now serving on the board. Perhaps something you read here will give you an idea why I strongly encourage our members to register and come out for this. **

AG: Joel, when did you start attending FAR-West?
JT: My first conference was in 2006 in Sacramento and I haven’t missed one since.

AG: What makes it worth your while to go?
JT: I go to see my old friends, meet new ones, and learn about all manner of relevant information which applies to my life as a musician. I hear new acts and meet venue operators who can afford me performance opportunities throughout the Western US.
While I don’t go specifically to make a return on my registration, every year I’ve gotten far more income from future work than the cost of attending. This may or may not be the same for everyone but I’ve also learned new things, tried new songs, and most importantly, become inspired to put more into the musical part of my life. The financial payback is just icing on the cake.
I meet artists from other cities who help me book venues when I play in their towns, I get hired by these same people when they travel to Puget Sound and want local music backup. I attended a songwriters panel in 2008. Each writer had gold record cuts and some had Grammy wins on their resume. This one event encouraged me in my more recent journey as a writer of my own songs and solo performer. Hearing these top tier songwriters talk about their own insecurities and processes for overcoming them, held tremendous credibility and inspiration for me.

AG: What are some specific opportunities that FAR-West attendance has brought to you?
JT: I served on a panel the first year and, as a result, was approached by two artists who wanted me to play with them. One of them took me as an accompanist to a summer festival in Alaska; one of the best road trips of my life! And, by the way, she got THAT gig from a connection she made at that year’s conference.
Other people have met new songwriting partners, teachers and coaches to help them hone their craft, and new music friends. It’s also just plain FUN. I go every year because it reminds me of all the things I loved about overnight summer camp when I was a kid. It’s an event where I go to recharge my music batteries, to be seen for who I am, and to rediscover my inspiration to feel compelled to create this kind of acoustic music.

Our Songwriters in Seattle showcase room is being co-hosted by myself, Audrey Goodman, and Susan Elliot, a long time SIS member. If you’d like to play in our SIS showcase after you register, please write to Susan ASAP at:

Any other questions, feel free to write me at:

** there are volunteer opportunities which can result in a rebate of a fair chunk of the fees too.

Audrey Goodman
Audrey Goodman has taught music to kids since 1985. She is an experienced private piano teacher, innovative classroom music educator, musical theater and children’s choir director. A published songwriter, (Mother Mode Music ASCAP) she is also Founder of ‘Seattle Kid’s Music Magic’, a clearinghouse on information for teaching music to children in innovative and effective ways.
In addition to all that, Audrey sits on the board of Songwriters in Seattle, sharing her expertise to help guide the organization to ever greater accomplishments.

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