It's no secret that the Fairbanks music community is active and thriving. Many tout our music scene as being one of the best parts of living in Fairbanks. One group that has brought together our folk music community since 1987 has been the Fairbanks Folk Fest.
The Fairbanks Folk Fest has orchestrated the Summer Folk Fest and the Winter Folk Fest to showcase the incredible talent in this town and give as many performers as possible an opportunity to play in front of an appreciative audience. These festivals are run by volunteers under the guidance of the organization's volunteer board of directors.
After 30 years of running these festivals, one issue has plagued us: burnout. Like all events worthy of attending, these festivals take a lot of money and a lot of effort. And people have been feeling tired. Two festivals a year is a lot to run.
Our board has been asking hard questions to ourselves: How can we sustain our mission? Should we disband? If not, what's next? Can we handle two festivals a year? How can we continue to keep this event free to the public? What other revenue streams can we pursue? How can we attract volunteers to help?
Maintaining a sustainable organization requires the right people, the right partners, the right resources, all while focusing on the mission. We have all these pieces. We just need to figure out how they fit together.
After careful consideration, three big decisions have been made: - We are not dissolving the board. We still have hard work in front of us, but the Fairbanks Folk Fest organization will continue to operate. - For 2018, at least, the Winter Folk Fest is cancelled. This gives us time to regroup and look forward. - The 2018 Fairbanks Summer Folk Fest is officially still happening! It will be held at the Ester Community Park as planned.
We are looking at several new strategies to achieve our mission. Some of these include:
- Hosting a Fairbanks Folk Fest Presents concert series showcasing local, statewide, national, or international talent. We have scheduled the first of these for February 24th, at the Marlin. - Creating new membership tiers for families, volunteers, and artists, to encourage and reward engagement in the Folk Fest community.
As we plan our next steps, we need input from you. Our next meeting is on February 28th, 5:30 at Collegetown Pizzeria. Please join us for the discussion and bring your best ideas and willingness to help make your ideas work!