Preview Our Slate of AMERICANAFEST Conference Speakers and Panels |

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Preview Our Slate of AMERICANAFEST Conference Speakers and Panels

Preview Our Slate of AMERICANAFEST Conference Speakers and Panels

// 8.15.19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2019) -- The Americana Music Association® has revealed the first-rate lineup for its 20th annual AMERICANAFEST® conference, headquartered at The Westin Nashville on Sept. 11-13. This year’s programming highlights include a keynote interview with Brandi Carlile and Change the Conversation’s Tracy Gershon; an artist development panel led by NPR Music’s Bob Boilen with Jade Bird and Daniel Glass; a discussion on the current state of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) with Keb’ Mo’ and Regan Smith, the general counsel from the U.S. Copyright Office; plus, live tapings of Chris Shiflett’s “Walking The Floor” podcast featuring Delbert McClinton and Yola. A preview of the three-day conference can be found below.


The seminal music industry forum will include more than 60 panels and workshops during the week of Sept. 10-15, bringing together more than 200 professionals from the top tier of the music business to discuss and engage in current topics and issues in front of Conference Registrants. Exact dates and times can be found here and on the AMERICANAFEST mobile app.


Brandi Carlile will deliver a memorable keynote this year as she is interviewed by Change the Conversation co-founder Tracy Gershon. The 2019 Americana Artist of the Year Nominee will recap her milestone GRAMMY®-winning year and groundbreaking career as both a musician and producer while also sharing her ongoing mission to support women in music.


As previously announced, Rhiannon Giddens will sit down with writer John Jeremiah Sullivan for a second keynote interview during “Erasure of American Music History.” Picking up where her recent New Yorker profile left off, the pair will take a magnifying glass to America’s folk traditions and share why they believe there is a lack of awareness on musical contributions by African Americans like the late Frank Johnson, who is co-recipient of this year’s inaugural Legacy of Americana Award along with Giddens.


One of this year’s Americana Emerging Act of the Year nominees Jade Bird will sit down with her label founder and president Daniel Glass (Glassnote Records) for a conversation on what artist development looks like in 2019. Moderated by NPR Music’s Bob Boilen, Bird will offer up her own experiences from a quickly blossoming career that’s included a critically acclaimed debut and opening for acts like The Lumineers.


Keb’ Mo’ will join an in-depth discussion on the state of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) alongside U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel Regan Smith and Concord Music Publishing’s Brad Kennard. Facilitated by the Artist Rights Alliance, this panel will cover the current events surrounding the legislation following a brief overview by consultant Erin McAnally.


Key players from the Americana music community will be sharing their inspirations, hardships and triumphs during two live tapings of the fan-favorite podcast, “Walking The Floor.” Hosted by Chris Shiflett, attendees will have the chance to experience uncut interviews with 2019 Americana Lifetime Achievement for Performance Honoree Delbert McClinton and Yola, who is nominated for both Americana Album of the Year and Emerging Act of the Year.


Additional highlights include topics that invite an opportunity for important and timely discussions with influential media, musicians and other industry members. Freelance writer Marissa Moss (Rolling Stone, Billboard) has curated a panel to address the gender imbalance often found on music festival bills. “Out of Balance” rounds up Moss along with Mark Cunningham (Red Light Management), Ali Harnell (Live Nation), 2019 Americana Emerging Act of the Year Nominee Erin Rae, Traci Thomas (TT Management) and more for a talk on the Americana and country music genres’ endeavors to create equal opportunities for today’s lineups.


Boilen will also explore how artists and advocacy can go hand-in-hand, unpacking insight from panelists who understand firsthand the impact of a platform in music. He’ll be speaking with Rising Appalachia's Leah Song and Chloe Smith; The War and Treaty’s Michael Trotter and Tanya Trotter; as well as Jody Whelan (Oh Boy Records).


The AMERICANAFEST conference will also host a never-before-seen U.S. screening of “Woody Guthrie: Three Chords and The Truth,” an upcoming documentary that reveals a previously unheard recording from one of the most celebrated songwriters of all time and offers an inside look into his extensive archive. After the film, Woody Guthrie Center Director Deana McCloud will provide commentary alongside singer-songwriters Jaimee Harris and Will Hoge.


Gospel scholar and DJ Kevin Nutt will guide a deep dive into the 1970s gospel music movement that was led by The Staple Singers, whose successes inspired several southern groups to experiment with funk and more. Formerly the lead singer of the Staples Jr. Singers, Annie Caldwell will be sharing her own experiences from this time with Nutt and Luaka Bop President Yale Evelev during “The Time for Peace is Now: Navigating African-American Gospel in the 1970s.”


This year’s conference will also give attendees an up-close look at the Americana Music Association's recent membership initiatives, such as the Americana Tour Blueprint. The panel “Understanding the Americana Tour Blueprint” shines a light on this helpful touring resource with singer-songwriter Caitlin Canty, who was the first artist to use the tool for the Blueprint’s inaugural tour. Moderated by Craig Havighurst (WMOT Roots Radio), she’ll be joined by her agent Mark Lourie (Skyline Artists Agency), Anna Lee Crenshaw (Americana Music Association), Bruce Houghton (Hypebot) and Jesse Lundy (Point Entertainment).


In partnership with the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville, AMERICANAFEST will once again provide CLE (continuing legal education) panels geared toward attorneys with an emphasis on entertainment law. Presented by The Recording Academy, “Developing Songwriting and Music Publishing Communities in Smaller Music Markets” will examine how to foster songwriting communities in one’s own hometown. Moderated by Gebre Waddell (Sound Credit), attendees will hear words of wisdom from Gershon, Linda Edell Howard (Adams & Reese LLP), Michael Molinar (Big Machine Music) and singer-songwriter-producer PJ Morton.


Radio-focused panels round out the many facets of the music industry covered during these workshops, expanding on conversations relating to the history of the Americana radio format. This programming will also provide a year’s recap of the new Americana singles and albums chart, powered by CDX.


Conference Registrations are currently on-sale at the standard rate of $449 with a discounted rate of $349 for Americana Music Association members. These passes can be purchased here and offer admission into all daytime educational panels, showcase venues and sanctioned special events. Registrants also have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets per registration to the 18th annual Americana Honors & Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. For more details on ticketing, click here.

For more information and to purchase an AMERICANAFEST pass, please visit