AmericanaFest Music Festival, Conference and Awards Show Returning in September After a Year Off

The Americana Music Association is bullish on vaccines and has announced that its annual music festival, biz conference and awards show will return to Nashville in September after taking a pandemic break to go virtual last year.

Dates have been set for Sept. 22-25, 2021, with the org’s annual kudocast, the Americana Honors & Awards, set for the Ryman Auditorium on the confab’s opening night, Sept. 22. Nominees for the awards have not yet been announced, and tickets for that separate event will go on sale at a later date.

Early-bird passes for the full conference and festival are already on sale here, at $249 for members and $349 for non-members. A festival pass for just the nighttime performances during the week goes for $149. These early rates are good though June 28.

“We’re beyond elated to once again be able to celebrate with our incredible community in Music City,” said Jed Hilly, the Americana Music Association’s executive director. “As we prioritize having a safe and positive event for everyone involved, we’re looking forward to bringing back exciting music discovery, industry insight and plenty of networking opportunities that our attendees have come to enjoy over the last two decades.”

There’ll be more democracy among attendees this year at the nighttime shows, presumably to avoid having different lineups at venues. Says a note on the ticketing page, “Please note the Conference + Festival Passes will not receive priority access over Festival Passes into nighttime showcases this year. Everyone will be able to enter together.”

An announcement noted that this year’s events “will be structured a bit differently than in years past,” with a slightly truncated version of the schedule, which usually sees the awards show happening on a Tuesday night and the final showcases on Sunday. For 2021, the festival is heralding three days of music business panels, Wednesday through Friday; three nights of music showcases, Thursday through Saturday; and parties on Wednesday evening, during and after the awards show.

Programming announcements will start to be made in late summer, the org says. Showcase submissions can be made here.

As before, the Westin Nashville will be the host hotel and conference center for the week’s daytime events.

In 2020, the org made the decision to replace the canceled festival with a highly ambitious and packed online conference, “Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference.” Plans to try to put on the awards show at the Ryman on the planned September 2020 date with little or no audience for an online audience were eventually scuttled as too risky for the show’s would-be musical participants.

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