FARM announces 2017 Award Winners

Dave Moore and Andy Cohen

At your 2017 annual conference FARM will present two awards, the Lantern Bearer Award and the Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award. The FARM Board of Directors makes the choice for and awards the Lantern Bearer Award. The FARM members nominate individuals for the Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award.

Information about the FARM awards, including details about the 2016 and 2017 awardees, is below and includes the names of those who have received these awards in the past.

Awardees will both be honored at the 26th Annual FARM conference in Iowa City, October 19 – 22, 2017

Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award

The Annual Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award is awarded at the annual FARM Gathering to a living individual who resides in the Midwest and whose involvement in the Midwest folk music and dance community: 1) has been of significant duration, 25 years or more; 2) has been of significant intensity; 3) has involved significant service to the Midwest folk community; 4) has reached, and reaches, beyond a single sector, such as concert performance, into the wider community; and 5) has extended folk music and/or dance outward, into the wider community. The FARM Board has standardized nomination and selection procedures for this award, which is growing in meaning and prestige and which serves not only to honor one person, but to increase awareness of and strengthen ties within and beyond the Midwest folk music and dance community.

The FARM Membership is proud to honor Dave Moore

2017 Folk Tradition in the Midwest Award Winner

Dave Moore is one of the great songwriters to come out of the state of Iowa and is a Red House recording artist. Known for his elegant songwriting and instrumental prowess on blues guitar, button accordion and harmonica, he has become somewhat of a legend. Coming of age in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Dave enrolled in college only to drop out to follow a girlfriend down to Guadalajara, Mexico. Though the journey lasted only a few months, it was to be the first of many travels in Latin America and totally altered his world view. Returning to the States for the holidays in 1971, his mother serendipitously left a harmonica in his Christmas stocking and he soon found that he could not quit playing it.He began to experiment with guitar and headed back to Mexico with only a little plywood-topped Harmony 6-string, and a box of blues tapes. There he took occasional lessons from a Chiapas guitarist with a passion for American ragtime.

In 1980 Dave returned to Iowa City and teamed up with local songwriter Greg Brown who was just beginning to develop a national reputation. For the next few years Dave backed up Brown on recording projects, extensive tours and several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s popular A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, including time as the show’s band leader

Awestruck by an accordion album featuring Fred Zimmerle’s Trio San Antonio, he traveled to Texas where he sought out the great masters of Conjunto music: Zimmerle, Johnny Degallado, and Santiago Jimenez, Sr. All three men would give him lessons and encouragement on the 3-row button box. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant to further these studies.

In Iowa, Dave has been an artist in residence in the schools. He has appeared on recordings by Garrison Keillor, Greg Brown, and many others. His songs have been recorded by Lowen & Navarro, Larry Penn, Greg Brown, and others.



Past recipients of the Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award include:  Sally Potter (2016), Ann & Will Schmid (2015), Eric Peltoniemi (2014), Jim Blum (2013), Cathy Barton and Dave Para (2012), Bob Blackman (2011), Maggie Ferguson (2009), David Tamulevich (2008), Juel Ulven (2007), Margaret Nelson (2006), Dave Humphreys (2005), Glen & Judi Morningstar (2004), Stan Werbin (2003), Rich Warren (2002), Larry Bruner (2001), Art Thieme (2000)

If you’d like to nominate someone for this award for 2018 click to download the Nomination Form and instructions here.

Sally Potter was honored with this award in 2016:

Sally Potter low resSally Potter is a powerhouse in the Mid-Michigan folk music community as a singer, song leader and successful producer of acoustic music events. In 2003, she founded the Mid-Winter Singing Festival, a huge gathering of singing enthusiasts for a weekend of musical fun. In 2007, she was awarded a Crystal Award by the City of East Lansing for her “outstanding contribution to community life.”





Lantern Bearer Award

The Lantern Bearer Recognition is given to an individual who has contributed locally and regionally to folk performance arts and the folk music and dance community for 25 years or more. The person recognized is selected by—and at the discretion of—the FARM Board of Directors.

The FARM Board is proud to honor Andy Cohen

2017 Lantern Bearer Award Winner

One doesn’t condense seventy years into five hundred words without losing something in the translation, but if you can imagine a life in which all efforts were subordinated to a single, preservationist theme, that’s mine.

I landed on my feet a number of times. In college at Champaign, I had Archie Green (founder of the Folklife Center in Washington) as an example; in Chicago, I had Jim Brewer and Honeyboy Edwards as examples. I moved to Detroit, then Ann Arbor, then Saratoga, then Cullowhee, NC, (where I started a folk festival) and Asheville (where I started a coffeehouse). Then to Kent, Ohio (where I was on the KSU Folk Festival committee for twenty years and ran the festival several times); to Memphis, (where I am immersed in life, citizenly service and Blues Studies). I have been glad to see some of the work I and others have done begin to pay off in the re-seeding of old Black music in younger Black minds and artistic expressions.

I have ten years of grad school, thirty years of Archaeology, fifty years of playing old music and seventy years of listening to it in back of my advocacy position. As older ways of doing, making and thinking get replaced by shallow plastic pat answers designed for particular market niches, the older music that I and others do serves as a touchstone.

The Folk Revival itself began with what Robert Redfield described as a Cultural Revitalization Movement, and to this day remains a separate and energizing force from the Music Business. Simply by virtue of its *anthropological* use of the word ‘Folk’, Folk Alliance has a legitimate entree into every traditional and non-traditional hamlet in the world. Think of what that means.

It means, if you have the guts to go, the will to learn, and a heart for cultural equity, you can eventually do some good in this world, but only if you’re patient.


Past recipients of the Lantern Bearer Award include: Sue Kessell (2016), Matt Watroba (2015), Mark Dvorak (2013), Andrew Calhoun (2012), Lou & Peter Berryman (2011), Susan Urban and Phil Cooper (2009), Chris McIntosh & Alvin McGovern (2008), Joel Mabus (2006)

Sue Kessell was awarded the 2016 Lantern Bearer Award.

Sue Kessell colorSue’s lifelong love of Folk music began in her teens with Jewish youth group and a much older brother, who was an avid fan of all kinds of music. Upon hearing that she liked the Folk music of the 1960s, he said she had to hear where it all began and introduced her to the albums of the Weavers from his large record collection.

Sue became involved in Folk Alliance right from the early years, volunteering to help organize the Chicago conference and attending every international conference since. In 2002 Sue co-founded theannual Folk DJ reception at the International conference, which she is still organizing, including raising the funds to cover the costs of the event. She has attended many of the conferences of the Midwest FAI region over the years, also helping to initiate a Folk DJ showcase and serving on the DJ workshop panel at FARM.

Official FARM Playlist

We are currently featuring our 2017 Official Showcase artists! Give a listen - you can expect more of this at this year's FARM conference!


Friends of FARM


Laura Lind
Andy Cohen
Mark Dvorak
Two Way Street Coffee House
Curt Joa
Sue Kessell
Tim Grimm
Sandy Andina
Deb Kirmer – Last Minute Folk Concerts
Annie Capps
Sue Kessell (WNUR)
West Bethesda Folk Music Conferences
Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen
JLMartin Music

Visit our Sponsorship page for more info.

Future FARM Dates


Dates for future FARM Conferences:

Grand Rapids, MI

Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Airport Hotel
5700 28th Street
Grand Rapids, MI
* October 25 – 28, 2018
* October 24 – 27, 2019
* October 22 – 25, 2020


Dates of the 2017 FARM Conference:

In Iowa City, IA
* October 19 – 22, 2017

FARM States & Provinces

North Dakota
South Dakota