NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 29, 2023) — This year, the Americana Music Association has selected the state of Kentucky as the regional music focus for its 23rd annual AMERICANAFEST, Sept. 19-23 in Nashville, Tenn. In partnership with local tourism departments across the state and with festival and venue partners, AMERICANAFEST will present special programming to spotlight The Bluegrass State.
Kentucky will be highlighted through an array of industry panels, music showcases and daytime events. The destination festival and conference peer into the past and look to the future of the Bluegrass State with conversations and performances from state natives that shape Kentucky’s unique and signature sound.
The special programming also includes a celebration to honor the life and legacy of Loretta Lynn with an evening showcase of music featuring a star-studded lineup. A full Kentucky-featured schedule can be found below.
Roots and Branches: Kentucky Music — The Westin | Vanderbilt III | Wednesday 9/20 – 10:00 AM
Three of Kentucky’s finest contemporary musicians–S.G. Goodman, Kelsey Waldon and Nat Myers, along with the state’s poet laureate and bestselling novelist Silas House, join forces to discuss the history, legacy, and current state of Kentucky’s music and the way it has helped to shape American music since the beginning.
Kentucky Bluegrass, Past And Future — The Westin | Gulch I & II | Thursday 9/21 – 2:30 PM
Bill Monroe was born in 1911 in Rosine, Kentucky, and when he named his country band the Blue Grass Boys around 1939, he had no idea the term would later become the signifier for a growing new genre and that he would be regarded as its “father.” Bluegrass traveled all over the world and took on many forms and variations. But it will always be associated with its namesake state. This panel will sketch the story of bluegrass in Kentucky, including Monroe’s mentorship with Black string musician Arnold Shultz, the tutelage of Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, J.D. Crowe and the New South, the New Grass Revival and how the IBMA built a vital bluegrass museum in Owensboro.
Panelists include Craig Havighurst (Moderator) with Jason Carter, Sam Bush, Chris Joslin, Jessica Blankenship and Scott Napier.
Kentucky Music Showcases — 3rd & Lindsley | Thursday 9/21 – 7:00 PM // Vinyl Lounge | Friday 9/22 – 7:00 PM
See Kentucky artists take the stage at 7:00PM each night on Thursday and Friday. At 3rd & Lindsley on Thursday, Sept. 21, Eric Bolander, Ruen Brothers, Jonell Mosser and Nat Myers will each perform a set of their material, with the evening closer as A Tribute to Loretta Lynn. Then at Vinyl Lounge, The Wheelhouse Rousters, Abby Hamilton, Justin Wells and Brit Taylor will also showcase their Kentucky roots with performances on Friday, Sept. 22.
A Tribute to Loretta Lynn — 3rd & Lindsley | Thursday 9/21 – 11:00 PM
Features a house band led by Brian Wright (Adam Chaffin on bass, Matty Alger on drums, Thayer Serrano on Keys, Wade Cofer on guitar and Fats Kaplin on fiddle and steel guitar).
Featured guest singers include The War and Treaty, Wendy Moten, Tayla Lynn & Tre Twitty, India Ramey, Tommy Prine, Brit Taylor, Abby Hamilton, Adeem The Artist, Bee Taylor and Sally Jaye.
Bourbon & Bluegrass — Vinyl Lounge | Friday 9/22 – 4:00 PM
Join us as we continue to celebrate Kentucky music. Come by and sample some authentic Kentucky bourbon and bluegrass music from the Mama Said String Band and the Owensboro Bluegrass Band. Presented in partnership with LogStill Distillery, Visit Owensboro and The Bluegrass Situation.
Commonwealth of Kentucky Party — The Basement OG | Saturday 9/23 – 12:00 PM
Join music venues & festivals across Kentucky to celebrate what makes our music community special. Performances by Kentucky’s finest. Plus there’s bourbon and fried chicken!
Lineup includes Boa Boys, Brit Taylor, Jeremy Pinnell, Laid Back Country Picker, Leah Blevins, Nine Pound Hammer and The Josephines.
Those interested in attending AMERICANAFEST panels can purchase a 2023 Conference+Festival Pass (currently priced at $499 / $399 for Americana Music Association members), giving access to over 70 industry panels, more than 200 nightly showcases and close to 80 special events across town in Nashville.
Music fans who are just interested in the nightly music showcases can purchase a Festival Wristband at $149, which allows entry into official showcases and select special events.
More information on AMERICANAFEST as well as passes can be found at americanamusic.org.