Wales@EFEx 2018

What is EFEx?

English Folk Expo is a three-day showcase festival and international folk music trade fair, featuring talent from England plus an annual ‘international partner’. It attracts bookers, festivals, arts centres, folk clubs, agents and promoters from all over the UK, Europe and Canada (and elsewhere), and is held in Manchester in October.

With support from the Arts Council of Wales, 2018 will see a focus on Welsh music at the sixth edition of EFEx. Announcing the partnership, Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International at Arts Council of Wales said: “I’m delighted that Wales will be the Partnership Nation for English Folk Expo next year and we congratulate the success the event has had over the past five years. It’s a great chance for Welsh artists to grow their careers both globally and in a key market on our doorstep and for us to develop the cross-border network with English festivals, presenters and musicians. EFEx has grown to be a great industry event that complements the work we have been supporting through the Cerdd Cymru Music Wales brand in partnership with trac and Theatr Mwldan.”

The event’s primary aim is to help English artists secure live performance opportunities across the world but it also provides one exclusive partnership with another nation each year. Previous partner nations have included Prince Edward Island in Canada (2017), Flanders (2016) and Denmark (2015). An independent survey of the event by the hub concluded that EFEx generated over £2 million of spend on artist bookings by delegates from each event.

An open call is now out inviting submissions from Wales-based artists working in the traditional, acoustic and folk music field to apply for the opportunity to fill four showcase slots for Wales at EFEx 2018 taking place from 18th-21st October 2018. Successful artists will appear in front of the invited delegation of 180 UK and international festival and venue programmers, agents, media, press and industry decision makers, as well as a public audience, under the banner of the Manchester Folk Festival. EFEx showcases over forty artists across three days, providing a packed schedule for its delegates, which also includes networking events, a trade fair, label showcases and receptions.

The deadline for submissions for a showcase slot is 30th November 2017 There are more details of the submission process on the Wales Arts International website

Wales at EFEx 2018 is a partnership between Wales Arts International, trac and Theatr Mwldan under the Cerdd Cymru Music Wales brand, funded by Arts Council of Wales.

Do you want to perform at EFEx 2018?

It’s going to be a unique opportunity for Welsh folk music to be heard on the stages of our nearest neighbour. (No flights, no visas!) Applications are invited for performers to represent Wales’ folk resurgence to new and accessible audiences. The event is a trade fair, so as well as your artistic excellence, you will need to demonstrate that this is the right point in your musical career for you to take maximum advantage of EFEx as a business opportunity.

What’s the selection process?

The closing date for applications is 30 November. Applications will then be considered by a panel of ten industry professionals including representatives from ACW, trac, WAI, Theatr Mwldan, BBC, the media and PR. The panel will score each application and will finalise a shortlist of ten acts. This shortlist will be submitted to the programmer of the Manchester Folk Festival who will select four acts to appear.

What do the successful artists get?

The successful four acts will be booked for a paid gig at the Manchester Folk Festival (the public face of EFEx) and will perform at a Wales Reception for EFEx delegates.

The six shortlisted acts who don’t get the chance to perform will still be able to send one representative to the event for free, to meet bookers and promote their band/themselves.

There are networking opportunities all weekend with industry professionals and other artists. According to the EFEx site “English Folk Expo provides an effective and previously unavailable route into the English folk, roots and acoustic market. Delegates are given access to all Manchester Folk Festival performances, as well as additional industry-only showcases and events which will provide opportunities to make links with and form new working relationships with industry gate-keepers to the folk, roots and acoustic music industry in England.”

Want to showcase as part of Wales at EFEx 2018?

This is what you need to know

  • Artists (at least one member of a band) must be based in Wales.
  • Artists’ work should demonstrate some relationship with the Welsh folk tradition.
  • Artists will have a demonstrable track record of performance including e.g. reviews of festival and venue performances.
  • Artists must be able to demonstrate the ability to maximise the promotional opportunities that EFEx offers through e.g. their own strong web and social networking presence, credible mailing lists, promotional product for the event, or availability of an EPK or live footage.
  • Artists must be able to articulate their rationale for applying and relevance to their career.
  • Artists must be willing to undertake press interviews and photoshoots as required for the Wales at EFEx project.
  • Artists must be able to provide access to their current tracks online e.g. via own/agents’ website.
  • Evidence of existing international industry interest or support is desirable.
  • Artists must be available to perform in Manchester between 18 October and 20 October 2018.

Ready to apply?

These are the questions you need to answer. Email your application to Wales Arts International at reference EFEx 2018 by 5pm on 30 November for consideration by the selection panel

Please describe your work and to what extent you consider it to be influenced by the Welsh folk tradition. (250 words maximum)

Please give details of all (or most significant) UK and/or international performances in the past two years e.g. venue/festival, date, headliner or support (if the latter, please name the main artist).

Please give links to full press reviews if possible

Please provide details of your current marketing/PR activities, and support. This should include information on whether you are self-marketing; supported, and by whom; size of mailing list.

Please provide information about the ways in which you communicate with fans and industry contacts via the internet. Include details of the social networking platforms you use (Twitter, Facebook etc) with relevant links and where applicable indicate the number of “friends” and “followers” you engage with.Do you have an EPK or live footage available of your work?

Please detail contents of footage, how and where it can be viewed.Please provide information about your most current CD e.g. title, release date, availability, and links to press reviews.

Please outline why you want this opportunity to perform at an international showcase. Why is this opportunity relevant for your career ambitions; what do you expect to gain from the experience; and how will you evaluate success? (250 words maximum)

Training days with trac for folk music professionals

As part of the preparations for Wales at EFEx 2018, trac will be running workshops in January covering topics like

  • Touring & Gigging : Where, when, why; International or UK? : with international promoter Neil Pearson
  • What makes you distinctive? : with visiting US agent Kari Estrin who’s worked with major names like Steeleye Span and Suzanne Vega
  • Conferences and how to work them : with Alan James, 9Bach’s manager and former chair of Welsh Music Foundation
  • Integrity, authenticity and stagecraft : also with Alan James

Plus a second series in March:

  • Mailing lists and social media: reaching & engaging
  • Contracts : MU / Copyright & Mechanicals : PRS
  • Website management + what’s on your site
  • Agents, managers, PR, labels : what they do and when you need them
  • “Do It Yourself together” – co-operative working for artists

The workshops will be held in Cardiff and there’ll be news of dates and venues as soon as the details are confirmed. The workshops will be open to any folk musicians in Wales. Costs will be kept as low as possible thanks to a subsidy from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales.

Make sure you’ve signed up for trac’s email news (below) to keep in touch with developments.

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