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Festival Performers Selection Criteria

The mission of the Festival is to provide the general public with the opportunity to experience and participate in the traditional folk-arts of music, dance, storytelling, and crafts using workshops, performance, demonstrations, and jam sessions.

The Albuquerque Folk Festival Inc. is an all-volunteer not-for-profit public charity. Its focus is on teaching and on the traditional and contemporary folk-arts of the southwest. The vast majority of Festival performers are drawn primarily from the local folk-arts community. They perform, provide workshops and demonstrations, and lead jam sessions. The Festival does, however, book a few national and regional acts each year.

If you would like to be a performer or host a workshop at our Festival, please read through our general criteria above and the following criteria for stage performances. Then email . Let us know why you see your performance as a good fit. All music performances must be acoustic-folk and appropriate to our family-oriented venue. Final selections for the June Festival are typically complete by March 31st each year.

The Albuquerque Folk Festival now has four stages. In line with the participatory nature of our festival local, regional and national acts, amateur as well as professional, are scheduled on the following three stages: the SANDIA STAGE, the JEMEZ STAGE and the MOUNT TAYLOR STAGE. In addition we have a SIGNUP STAGE for participants who want to perform but have not been scheduled in advance.

NATIONAL and REGIONAL paid stage performers are selected from a mix of the following criteria:

  1. Deep roots in the traditional folk-arts of the southwest, ability to present one or another of the various folk-arts traditions and to reach various ethnic, economic, and age groups found in contemporary New Mexico and the southwest;
  2. Ability to draw Festival first-time attendees from a broad demographic within and beyond the local folk-arts community;
  3. Ability to draw a large audience in the Albuquerque area, publicity hooks that will attract local media attention, and a recognized high level of performance in traditional or contemporary southwest folk-arts;
  4. Willingness and capacity to participate in workshops and performances in the Festival's core offerings.

LOCAL performers generally follow criteria 1, 2 & 4 and are paid a small honorarium which varies according to the size of audience they are likely to draw. In addition to NATIONAL, REGIONAL and LOCAL bands, AFF performers are categorized in the following ways:

  • DEMO (Demonstration): DEMO acts are culturally diverse groups utilizing instrumentation, vocal styles and/or languages unique to a specific culture. DEMO performers are expected to follow criteria 1, 2 & 4 and are paid a small honorarium which varies according to the size of the audience they are likely to draw
  • SINGER/SONGWRITER: Selection criteria for SINGER/SONGWRITERS include high quality song craft, song topics and language appropriate to the family oriented focus of the AFF, and the ability to present 50 minutes of their original songs using primarily acoustic instruments. Performance ability is important and considered, but songwriting quality is the most important criterion.

The SIGNUP STAGE, introduced in 2011, is a stage where folks can sign up at the Festival to play a set on a stage with a sound system and a sound engineer. Performers on this stage are volunteers and are not compensated by the Festival. Specific sign-up criteria, set length, etc. can be found here.

In addition to these four stages we have a venue called JAM WITH THE BAND. Jam with the Band is lead by high-quality bands that jam with Festival goers. Stage bands may be selected to lead some of these sessions. Jam with the Band performers are volunteers and are not compensated by the Festival.

Jane Phillips, AFF Director of Performances