Hundreds of musicians carrying instruments are filling the hallways of the Westin Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Mo. this weekend. Clustered in small groups picking, strumming and fiddling, they are gathered for the 27th Annual Folk Alliance Conference and Winter Music Camp.
On day two of the conference, fiddler Betse Ellis was fighting off a cold and trying to pace herself.
“I’ve certainly been sicker than this onstage,” says Ellis with a laugh.
As Ellis and the other half of her musical duo ‘Betse & Clarke’ prepared for their evening showcase, Clarke Wyatt had a look of wonder on his face as he took in the scene before him.
“I am kind of mind boggled by this right now,” says Wyatt. “This is my first Folk Alliance Conference.”
Until recently, Wyatt said he considered himself a closet banjo player and being around so many other great players was a little overwhelming.
“Whenever I get nervous, I just tell myself, 'Let’s go over there (pointing to the stage) and play some music that we like.'”
The 27th Annual Folk Alliance Conference and Winter Music Camp presents musical showcases open to the public through Saturday, Feb. 21. There is a full schedule on the Folk Alliance International website.