The Americana Music Association’s annual c brought in an estimated aggregate attendance of more than 50,000 from around the world during its 20th annual run on September 10-15. The association has also announced the dates for its 21st event, taking place Sept. 15-20, 2020.
For the 20th consecutive year, AMERICANAFEST has united a dedicated community of artists, industry professionals and die-hard music fans over six days filled with 320 musical showcasing acts, over 70 conference panels and more than 100 special events — featuring over 700 performances. Music City served as the ideal backdrop, with festivities in close to 60 local venues located in eight Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County city council districts.
“I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate our 20th annual event,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “For two decades now, AMERICANAFEST has brought together folks from different corners of the globe to our event to enjoy and discover great music. I’m humbled to watch this creative community flourish.”
The six-day gathering commenced with events that set the tone for a week of musical discoveries and unforgettable experiences. These events included a special kick-off featuring Sheryl Crow & Friends at Cannery Ballroom, presented in partnership with Spotify, followed by an empowering keynote with Brandi Carlile and Change the Conversation Co-Founder Tracy Gershon at The Westin Nashville.
The 18th annual Americana Honors & Awards served as the association’s hallmark event that week, celebrating distinguished musicians of the community with coveted awards while presenting show-stopping performances at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Hosted by The Milk Carton Kids, the critically acclaimed program has been taped for broadcast and is scheduled to premiere on November 23 in a special episode of Austin City Limits on PBS.
Official showcases during the nighttime music festival gave attendees the opportunity to witness music legends in intimate settings, such as The Mavericks at the Station Inn, while also offering the chance to discover buzz-worthy acts like Jade Bird at Mercy Lounge. 2019 showcase highlights included Andrew Bird, Hayes Carll, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Lori McKenna, Keb’ Mo’, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, Tanya Tucker, Foy Vance, Yola and many more.
In addition to the Station Inn and Mercy Lounge, official showcases were held at 3rd & Lindsley, The 5 Spot, ACME Feed & Seed, Analog at Hutton Hotel, The Anchor, The Basement, The Basement East, Cannery Ballroom, City Winery, City Winery Lounge, EXIT/IN, The High Watt, ONE, Music City Roots at Yee-Haw Brewing Co., Musicians Corner at Centennial Park and TRUE Music Room at the Cambria Hotel.
Since the inaugural AMERICANAFEST in 2000, daytime conference panels have provided a first-rate educational forum to discuss varying cultural and industry-related topics among top professionals and artists from the Americana music community. This year, forward-thinking discussions ranged from an artist development panel moderated by NPR Music’s Lauren Onkey with Jade Bird and Glassnote Records President/Founder Daniel Glass to “Erasure of American Music History,” a powerful second keynote with Rhiannon Giddens and writer John Jeremiah Sullivan.
Standout conference sessions at The Westin Nashville included a conversation on the state of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) with U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel Regan Smith, Concord Music Publishing’s Brad Kennard, consultant Erin McAnally and Keb’ Mo’; live audience tapings of Chris Shiflett’s “Walking The Floor” podcast featuring Delbert McClinton and Yola; “Out of Balance,” a spotlight on the Americana and country music genres’ endeavors to create equal opportunities for today’s festival lineups; and a special preview of Ken Burns’ highly anticipated documentary “Country Music,” which was followed by a talk with the film’s producer Dayton Duncan and Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).
In an ongoing partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, AMERICANAFEST also presented quality programming at the renowned museum featuring an interview with Rodney Crowell, a Turning The Tables session moderated by NPR Music’s Ann Powers alongside Carlene Carter, Shawn Colvin, Amythyst Kiah and Maria Muldaur, plus much more.
AMERICANAFEST 2019 was both a national and international affair, with 89 percent of Conference Registrants attending from 49 states and D.C., and 11 percent flying in from 14 countries outside of the U.S., including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and more.