Keynote

Thursday Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce Thursday morning's Keynote Speaker - Dar Williams.  

Dubbed by The New Yorker as "one of America's very best singer-songwriters," Dar Williams has built her career not by performing in stadiums, but by touring America's small towns. She has played in their venues, composed in their coffee shops, and drunk in their bars. She has seen these communities struggle, but also seen them thrive in the face of post-industrial identity crises.

In a musical career that spans more than two decades, Williams has released ten studio albums and authored four books, including her latest, What I Found in a Thousand Towns (A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities - One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time), published this past September by Basic Books. In it, Williams muses about why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.

Williams describes What I Found In a Thousand Towns as “sort of my take on urban planning via touring and what has helped cities and towns become very unique and vibrant. That’s really just an exciting ride. It’s opening up the world of city planners and regional planners and city leaders to me. I’m really enjoying my ride there right now.” (3/21/18 Valley Advocate interview with staff writer Chris Goudreau). 

During her keynote address, Williams will share her observations with us as well as discuss what she calls “positive proximity” - the social capital-building that allows towns to become unique, prosperous and self-reliant.  

To learn more about Williams, visit her webpage