The Two Things Everybody Needs To Know
(please read this carefully)
This is an application to be a
the headliners, all performers at the Tucson Folk Festival are volunteers
(as are all the staff). If you got here because you want to be considered
as a headliner for a future festival, you or your agent should
There is no formal application process for headliners, but selection usually
begins during summer of the year before the festival.
The Tucson Folk Festival is an
event, with some exceptions: Electric bass is OK, and we even provide a
bass amp at each stage. Electronic pianos are OK (played as a straight
piano, without special effects), as are pedal steel guitars and small
harmonica amps. Percussion of all kinds is welcome and small drum kits are
fine (large kits are allowed but discouraged because of stage space and
limited set-up time). Drum machines and backing tracks of any kind
are not allowed. Pedal setups for guitar players are strongly
General Festival Information
The 32nd Annual Tucson Folk Festival will take place
on Saturday May 6th & Sunday
May 7th, 2017.
The center of Festival activity, including the Plaza Stage, Kitchen Store
and Vendors area, is El Presidio Park in Downtown Tucson. Additional stages
are located within walking distance of the park at
Old Town Artisans and the Tucson Museum of Art.
(This year we are unable to use the Old Pima County Courthouse because
of construction, so there will only be 4 stages. We expect to have the
Courtyard stage open again next year.)
Sets are 25 minutes long on a half-hour schedule. If you bring a lot of
instruments, the set-up time will cut into your time with the audience.
We provide a complete sound system with plenty of DI's for your instruments
that have pickups and mics for those that don't, as well as for your
vocals. We also provide a bass amp at each stage so you don't have to haul
one around. If you need music stands, those are up to you.
The deadline for Performer applications is
December 26, 2016. We will try to notify
applicants of their selection status
by February 1, 2017.
All applications must be submitted online using the form on our
web site. There are no paper application forms.
There is no fee for applications submitted by
Oct 31, 2016.
After Oct 31, 2016, there is a non-refundable
late-application fee of $25.
Applicants do not automatically become TKMA members (even those who
pay the late fee) as they did when a fee was charged to everyone.
You do not have to be a member to perform, but we encourage everyone
to support the Folk Festival by becoming members.
We encourage you to upload your demo tracks to our server, as this is
easiest for our selection committee to work with (the online application
form will lead you through the process). If you choose to mail a CD, we must
receive it no later than one week after the application deadline. Only CDs
(no tapes) will be accepted. Demo CDs mailed to us will not be returned.
We ask bands to identify both “core performers”
and “side performers”:
In order to provide opportunities for as many musicians as possible, and
to increase the diversity of the lineup, we try to avoid having bands
with the same core performers performing similar material under multiple
We try very hard not to schedule two acts at the same time when they
have a core performer in common.
Musicians are welcome to sit in as side performers with as many acts as
they wish. However, we can't guarantee to schedule things so that every
side performer can join every act he or she wants to.
This year, we are not offering to reuse demo CDs from previous years. In
some cases, we've lost track of the CDs, and in all cases, we'd just like to
hear your lastest work.
We use a very broad definition of “Folk Music,” and like to
include performers who bring something a bit out of the ordinary to
The selection committee's goal is to create a diverse program of
high-quality music including new performers as well as perennial favorites.
For the Festival as a whole, we try to achieve a balance between original
material, covers of less-well-known songs and popular standards (especially
innovative arrangements of the latter). Individual acts may focus on one of
these, or a mixture of them all.
Your demo tracks should reflect the way your performance will sound at the
festival, with members and instrumentation as similar as possible.
We do not judge you on recording quality, but a poor-quality recording can
hurt your chances if it makes it hard to tell what you really sound like.
The selection committee will do a “blind” listening to all demo
tracks, ranking them on several factors. After the blind listening, the
selection committee will consider other information submitted with the
application to choose between similarly-ranked performers.
We cannot honor requests to perform on a particular stage. To be fair to all
performers, we try to put returning acts on different stages than they have
performed on in the past. Because the Plaza Stage may be broadcast on KXCI
Community Radio, we make an extra effort to vary its lineup from year to
Because the Plaza Stage may be broadcast on KXCI, performers assigned to that
stage are asked to sign a broadcast release. Performers who do not want to
be broadcast must indicate that on the application; doing so will not affect
your chance of selection, but you will not be scheduled to perform on the
Tips for Demo Submissions
Don't include more than 3 pieces. If you mail a CD with more than 3 tracks,
indicate clearly (preferably by writing on the CD itself) which ones you
want us to use.
Please delete all talking from your submissions,
as the selection
committee uses blind listening, so breaking this rule interferes with the
integrity of the process.
Select pieces that show off your strengths.
It is recommended to not include songs that take a long time to get rolling.
We do not judge you on recording quality per se, but a poor recording
(such as one made on a phone in a noisy place) can make it difficult to
assess the quality of the music.
Electric and/or over-produced CDs are not recommended as the selection
committee would like to hear your group as it will sound at the festival.
Performers may sell their CDs on consignment through the TKMA Kitchen Store
with TKMA keeping 20% of total sales as commission. CDs are typically priced
at $15, but you can price yours as you wish. Details on consignment will be
sent after selection notification.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Festival (in addition to
performing) please use the
page on our web site to contact the Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteer jobs
include selling T-shirts, beer, soda and raffle tickets; acting as MC, stage
manager and general roustabout.
Pre-festival volunteer opportunities include helping with fundraisers,
publicity, selling program ads, soliciting sponsorships and lining up raffle