About Kari Estrin

It’s no wonder that working with Kari Estrin is in demand, with her over 40 years of demonstrated expertise in management, touring, concert/festival promotion/production, A & R and publicity/ promotion. Kari offers the artists she works with a virtual fast track from regional to national success with strategies and promotion tailored to the individual artist. While Kari is known for breaking developing artists, Kari also has worked with many established artists looking to raise their profile and refresh their career plans for expanded results.

The die was cast quite young with Kari booking her high school coffeehouse and by age 24 producing large-scale concerts with her own company, Black Sheep Concerts. Kari promoted shows at Harvard’s 1200- seat Sanders Theatre, Boston’s Symphony Hall, The Berklee Performance Center and area clubs throughout the 1980’s. Soon afterwards Kari began both managing and tour managing iconic artists like Tony Rice, while publishing one of the country’s few widely distributed folk magazines, The Black Sheep Review.

I’ve known and worked with Kari for over 30 years and there is almost no one I know who has a more thorough knowledge and catalogue of experience in the folk music world…Kari has the long memory and the long vision. She’s assisted in connecting me and my music to the public and helped me focus my whirlwind of projects and ideas. There is no really no one like her
in our world.”

John McCutcheon

Si Kahn and Michael Johnathon at SERFA (Southeast Regional Folk Alliance, Kari is Founding President

While working with a variety of artists, Kari observed recurring issues which seemed to prevent the artists from obtaining the degree of success they deserved. Business-oriented, yet empathetic, Kari began to develop her groundbreaking artist management consulting, both discovering and filling a need roughly a decade before coaching was introduced. Kari’s practical nuts and bolts expertise, paired with her holistic and integrative perspectives, defines her trademark to strategically plan, and work with the “person behind the persona.”

Kari Estrin with Americana Radio Promoter Leslie Rouffe and the legendary Billy Block

Broadening her expertise, Kari mastered a wide range of skills in the music business, integrating this knowledge into everything she undertook. Initially focused on concert, event production and periodical publishing, Kari expanded her realm to include publicity, promotion, advertising, sponsorship, A & R, Artist Development, management, touring, booking, writing and graphic design. Kari’s tireless work with the UK’s 3 Mustaphas 3 helped them to secure Billboard Magazine‘s No. 1 World Music Record in the US. Working as one of the few female tour managers with acts as diverse as Suzanne Vega and gothic rock’s Peter Murphy, Kari unknowingly blazed a trail for women in the music business. She was one of the few large-scale woman promoters in the country, booking acts such as Steve Goodman, David Bromberg, Nanci Griffith and Doc & Merle Watson.

Always innovating to serve the artist, Kari added acoustic music radio promotion to her arsenal of services in 1999. She developed programs to help artists through the entire CD process from conception to promotion. Many of the artists Kari promoted at radio garnered No. 1 records or scored significantly within the Top 10 on the Folk DJ-L Chart.

In addition to celebrating her 40 years in roots/acoustic music, 2012 is also the 20th Anniversary of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, which Kari co-founded. Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt and Adrienne Young are included among the roster of winners. Kari was also Asst. Festival Director at MerleFest for five years, as well as for Newport Folk Festival in 1997. She is the Founding and Past President/Conference Director for SERFA, the South East

With Tony Rice

Highlights of Notable Achievements


  • Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA): 2001 – 2016
  • Nashville Sings Woody (month long events/Ryman concert): 2003
  • Americana Conference (Co-Chair of Inaugural Conference): 2001
  • Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (29 Years): 1992 – 2021
  • Black Sheep Concerts & Publications, Inc.: 1980 – 1986
  • The Black Sheep Review Folk Magazine: 1982 – 1985


  • Acoustic Concerts – 3rd & Lindsley: 2001/2002
  • The Radio Cafe Coffeehouse – Nashville: 2001
  • Fest de Ville Downtown Festival – Nashville: 2001
  • Caffe Milano – Nashville: 1998
  • Summer Lights Downtown Festival – Nashville: 1997
  • Black Sheep Concerts – Harvard/Symphony Hall/Berklee: 1980 – 1986

Festival Management

  • MerleFest – Consultant, Asst. Festival Director: 1992 – 1996
  • Newport Folk Festival – Asst. Festival Director: 1986
  • Berkshire Mountain Bluegrass Festival – Asst. to Dir: 1977 – 1982

Tour Management

  • Steeleye Span: 2009 & 2014
  • Janis Ian: 2008
  • 3 Mustaphas 3 (& Manager): 1988 – 1990
  • Tony Rice (& Manager/Agent): 1981 – 1985
  • Suzanne Vega: 1985

International Delegate

  • TradFest & Opening Night Panelist, Dublin, Ireland – 2019
  • Showcase Scotland 2017 & 2019
  • Acadian Music, NB, Canada (2009 & 2011)


  • East Nashville Citizen of the Year 2018 – Nomination
  • How to Be Your Own Booking Agent – Editor: 1997
  • Pickin’ For Merle Video and PBS Series – Assoc. Producer: 1992
  • Music Journalist – Frets, Acoustic Musician, Sing Out!