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© St Bastard goes to the Americana Music Awards, danielle_blue/Flickr
© St Bastard goes to the Americana Music Awards, danielle_blue/Flickr

An Ultimate Guide To Nashville's 2016 Americanafest

Picture of Katie Miller
Updated: 2 September 2016
This September marks the 17th annual Americanafest, a six-day event during which thousands of music fans, up-and-coming artists and industry professionals flock to Nashville for a series of panels, seminars and performances. Here, you’ll find a brief rundown of everything you need to know beforehand in order to take maximum advantage of this can’t-miss Music City event.

The Event: What You Need to Know 

Forget what you know about music festivals; unlike traditional days-long music festivities, Americanafest is composed of a number of different special events that go beyond pure entertainment. Starting on Tuesday, September 20th, and running through Sunday, the 25th, each day of the festival consists of seminars, workshops and panels designed to provide an in-depth educational forum about the music industry. While this conference is geared towards equipping industry professionals — from artists, managers and labels to radio stations and more — with all the information that they need to successfully navigate the music industry. You do not need to be an industry veteran to attend these events; in fact, you do not need to be part of the industry, or a member of the Americana Music Association, at all! Members of the public are more than welcome to purchase a conference registration package and attend these informative events.

So excited to be part of the @americanafest again this year! #americanafest

A photo posted by Sean McConnell (@sean_mcconnell) on

In addition to the conference programming, which will take place at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, each day of the festival is also brimming with live performances at different venues throughout Nashville. The lineup consists of over 200 artists, including Amanda Shires, Billy Bragg, Green River Ordinance, Indigo Girls, Lee Ann Womack, Margo Price, and Shawn Mullins. The shows will take place throughout the city at some of Nashville’s most beloved music venues, including The Basement, Grimey’s, The Bluebird Cafe, The Family Wash, City Winery, The 5 Spot, The High Watt/Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom and The Station Inn. For a precise breakdown of the lineup and the daily schedule, visit the festival’s official website.

So How Can You Attend, And How Do You Purchase Tickets?

If you want to attend conference events (panels, seminars, workshops, etc.) in addition to daily performances, you’ll need to purchase a conference registration package; this will allow you access to every single event in the program guide. Prices start at $275 but vary depending on date of purchase, so the earlier that you purchase your ticket, the better. Big-time fans of Americanafest can also purchase Silver and Gold packages, which include additional amenities such as guaranteed seats at the Honors & Awards Show on September 21st, a guided tour of the Ryman Auditorium, and a ticket to the sold-out Lumineers kickoff show (Gold Package only) at Ascend Amphitheater on September 20th.

If you’d like to take part in the festival but do not want to shell out the cash for a conference registration package, you can still enjoy the nightly performances by purchasing a festival wristband. Wristbands cost $60 and will get you into all five nights’ worth of performances at every official Americanafest venue, as well as a few additional events that will be marked on the daily schedule. Note that priority is given to conference registrants, so if a particular show has already reached capacity, wristband holders may be turned away at the door — plan to get to the venue early. If you only want to attend one particular event, you can do that, too; one-day wristbands cost between $20-25 and will grant you access to only that particular venue on that particular night.

Both conference registration packages and wristbands can be purchased here. After purchase, wristbands must be picked up at Mercy Lounge. Conference registration credentials can be picked up at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel September from 21-23, The Basement from 5-10 p.m. on September 20th, or at the Ryman Auditorium from 5-7 p.m. on September 21st.

While the nitty-gritty details of the festival take some attention and planning, this is truly an event unlike any other — whether you’re a titan of the industry, a rising star, or merely a robust music fan, you don’t want to miss out on this unique Nashville event.

By Katie Miller