17th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference

An assortment of live music, showcases, workshops and conferences warmed up Montreal's cold February days and nights at the International Folk Alliance Conference. With panels and workshops held at the Palais des Congrès and the Hyatt Regency hotel, music lovers could attend workshops on such topics as CD Production, Touring and Music Business Basics. When the conferences are over, it's time to wrap up the day with some music that goes on late into the early morning hours. A walk through the downtown Hyatt on Friday night on different levels in different rooms one could find some banjo picking bluegrass, the blues, Celtic sounds and of course, some mellow folk music by musicians from all around the world. Sets were half an hour long and the last performance of the night was typically scheduled for 1:30a.m. There are also live shows taking place at the Gesu, Club Soda and the Medley. Some standout sets on Friday night at the Hyatt were Juno winner and Montrealer Ray Bonneville, whose set consisted of a solo performance on electric guitar, some smooth slide guitar, infectious foot tapping and soulful blues sounds from the harmonica. For a set that started after 12:30a.m., there was barely an empty seat in the room. No time think about the late night hours. Next band to catch was Butterfly Sky at 1:30a.m. After releasing their debut album "Turn", a 12 song acoustic album, Greg Greer and Barbara Nashold displayed strong vocals and stirring harmonies and blended a mixture of musical styles ranging from rock to blues to soul. One guitar and 2 strong voices made it a captivating set. With so much going on in one short weekend, the only problem is having the opportunity to check out all the music. Check out this wonderful festival even if you're not a music fanatic; you'll enjoy it.

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