Alaskans in Quebec
Folk Alliance International will convene in Montréal, Quebec from February 13-17, 2019. The conference takes place at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel downtown. AKIMI will host a delegation of Alaskan musicians there, featuring performances late into the night at “The Alaska Room” – one of many legendary after-hours hotel room showcase series at Folk Alliance. FAI is a great opportunity for artist development and networking, not to mention musical bonding.
Alaskan performers who plan to attend should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel and Logistics
AKIMI can help connect artists with resources and fundraising opportunities, HOWEVER:
***All artists attending FAI are responsible for arranging their own lodging, transportation, and FAI registration.***
FAI registration is open now, and the rate is discounted through November 30th, 2018. You must register to be allowed inside The Alaska Room. (Not positive you can make it yet? Your registration is fully refundable through December 31st, 2018.)
To inquire about performing a showcase at The Alaska Room, write to email@example.com. You may also apply for other private showcases, here’s a database of presenters: https://folkconference.org/private-showcase-presenters/. If you become a Folk Alliance member, you gain access to a private forum where you can create a profile that improves your odds of booking additional showcases. Want to book some more concerts in Canada while you’re there? There’s an easy touring route through Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto and London to Detroit, MI. You can also head south to Albany, NY or Boston, MA. Remember that blizzards may be a factor in February.
The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel is the official conference hotel. If you want to arrange other lodging there are an abundance of hotels and hostels. Montréal has good public transit at all hours, though staying on the island (rather than across the river) will make your life much easier.
Travel options to Quebec: It’s expensive to get from Alaska to Montréal by plane. Rather than booking entirely on a U.S. airline, you may save several hundred dollars by separately booking Alaska Air to Vancouver, BC or Calgary, AB and then booking Air Canada (directly through their website) round trip from there to Montréal. Let your gate agents know if you do this so that your luggage will be routed accordingly after customs. You can also drive up from Boston (5-6 hours each way), though winter weather is a factor.
If you are performing while in Canada or bringing merch across the border: Technically you are working while in Canada. You do not need a work visa, but you should expect extra questions at customs, and expect them to verify your answers. It’s a good idea to have a printed itinerary of ALL shows and lodging plans, including daytime and mobile phone numbers for anyone arranging the show (i.e. booking party or house concert host). Include the dates you’ll enter and exit the country, ideally with a verifiable detail like plane tickets/lodging arrangements in the U.S. to confirm your exit date. Customs agents may look up your social media or event websites to confirm your itinerary, and they sometimes call booking agents to confirm shows. Be completely honest about all your plans if they ask, including how much (or little) you anticipate earning.
General travel tips: Check your passport to make sure it’s not expiring soon. Adjust your phone plan so you have service and data if you need it. Remember to buy Canadian currency (many shops there prefer cash). Let your bank know that you’ll be out of the country so they don’t freeze your credit cards – and always bring a backup credit card. Leave a black and white photo or photocopy of your passport at home with a friend in case you lose it; you’ll need the details inside. Remember you have to clear customs entering and leaving the country, so arrive early to airports and allow extra time driving.
The average high temperature in Montréal that week is 27 degrees Fahrenheit, the average low is 12 degrees, and it’s very windy. Be prepared for the multilingual Quebecois experience; French will be the preferred language in many shops and restaurants. Most locals speak English as well, but politeness and deference go far toward a pleasant Montréal stay.
If you plan to join us at The Alaska Room 2019, be sure to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and register for FAI. We hope to see you there!