Trendsetters and Trailblazers to Attend Americana Music Festival and Conference

Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow to Keynote

Conference Panelists include:
Joy Williams & John Paul White (The Civil Wars),
Ann Powers (NPR Music), Lou Plaia (ReverbNation),
Michael Huppe (SoundExchange), Rich Bengloff (A2IM)
Ashley Capps (Bonnaroo/AC Entertainment),
Ariel Hyatt (Ariel Publicity/Cyber PR),
Chris Porter (One Reel/Bumbershoot)

The Americana Music Association is pleased to announce the first group of industry participants for the 12th annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, presented by Nissan, October 12-15, in Nashville, Tennessee. Focusing on all facets of the evolving business of music – from high tech to grassroots – attendees will get a chance to listen, learn and engage with trendsetters and trailblazers.

Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow will deliver the Americana Keynote Thursday morning, October 13, at 11AM, followed immediately by an Artist Development panel featuring Joy Williams and John Paul White of The Civil Wars. The Artist Development panel will also bring together integral members of the breakout act’s marketing and promotion team. It will be moderated by NPR Music’s Ann Powers.

“The music industry delegates attending Americanafest in October are truly the crème de la crème; leaders who are shaping our business for years to come,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “I am especially excited that Neil Portnow will deliver our Keynote. Quite frankly, there is no one who touches all aspects and genres of the music business today like he does, and for him to participate is truly an honor.”

The Americana Music Festival and Conference presented by Nissan, now in its twelfth year, has grown in size and stature, establishing itself as Nashville’s most comprehensive music industry conference and a premier music event in the United States. Innovative marketing and artistic integrity are cornerstones of the daytime conference, which will start at 2pm on Wednesday, October 12, at the Nashville Downtown Sheraton Hotel. Approximately 40 panels, workshops and educational events, featuring high caliber panelists will enlighten and inspire attendees. The conference has been curated by Americana Director of Operations and Conference Producer, Danna Strong along with Logan Rogers, Casey Summar, Seth Wilson, Rachel Barnhard, Jessie Scott and Rick Star, and in partnership with other not-for-profit organizations; The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville and the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

A Sampling of confirmed Americana Conference panels include:

WWW = What Went Wrong? With Ariel Hyatt: In this day and age of social media, many artists are frantically Facebooking, Tweeting and spending more time online than ever. Sadly, they aren’t seeing increases in fan base or sales. This is because a vast majority are focusing their time and energy on the wrong activities. In this master class, Ariel will look at website and social media techniques of artists in attendance, in real time, and then instantly set them on a more productive path.

Working the Festival Circuit: Making a Living Touring Festivals. In today’s reality of dwindling record sales, the importance for artists to make their money on the road is greater than ever. But there is an alternative to headlining clubs on your own. Increasingly, it is becoming possible to make a living touring festivals, particularly those centered around certain genres (ex: blues, folk, Americana, and jazz). This panel of experts featuring Ashley Capps (AC Entertainment), Paul Lohr (New Frontier Touring), Chris Porter (Bumbershoot) and moderated by Charles Driebe, will explore the positives and negatives of sharing a weekend with multiple acts, and detail the business side of how to set up such a tour.

Music Tech Bootcamp: moderated by Kami Knake featuring Colin Willis (Next Big Sound), Jack DeYoung (Grooveshark), David Durocher (Splother), Tim Putnam (Moontoast Impulse), Lou Plaia (ReverbNation), Wayne Leeloy (Topspin): Ever wonder how to actually use all of the new music tech products that are coming out? Come by for a crash course from six leading digital music platforms in streaming music, e-commerce, social commerce, analytics, licensing and more. Each presenter will have 10 minutes for a demo, followed by five minutes of questions to discuss how the product works and why it matters. The presentations will be followed by a cocktail hour with a cash bar and networking mixer.

RECORD STORE DAY! Half A Million Consumers Of Cd’s and Vinyl Can’t Be Wrong!: Over 700 independent record stores in the US (and hundreds more internationally) participated in the Fourth Annual Record Store Day on April 16, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of consumers celebrated the culture, connection, community and commercial impact of their independent record stores. Join Carrie Colliton (Record Store Day), John Kunz (Waterloo Records), artist Will Kimbrough, Kevin Morris (Red Light Management) and Missi Callazzo (MRI) to find out what you can do to become more involved and grow along with this vibrant community!

Americana Hitmakers – The Craft of Writing a Song: There may be some argument about what is and what isn’t Americana, but there’s little argument that one of the most defining elements of the genre is the song. No surprise then, that some of the most revered and successful masters of songcraft call Americana home. This panel will explore how hit songwriters are often esteemed performing artists in their own rights. Featuring: Matraca Berg, Angel Snow, Jim Lauderdale and John Oates along with moderator John Allen from Bug Music.

Early Bird Registration for the Conference is only $350 for AMA members and $450 for non-members through October 10 and includes admission to all AMA panels and all musical nighttime showcases, plus special events during the Festival as well as a ticket to the Americana Honors & Awards show at the historic Ryman Auditorium on Thursday October 13. Tickets for the Honors and Awards Show are also available separately for $65 at For more information call (615) 386-6936 or visit

The Americana Festival and Conference will bring more than 100 stacked musical showcases to key venues throughout Nashville. Approximately 1,000 industry professionals are projected to attended, while more than 15,000 fans will experience the Festival’s musical events.

The Honors & Awards show is the capstone event of the Americana Music Association’s Festival and Conference presented by Nissan, running October 12-15 in Nashville. Jim Lauderdale will again serve as master of ceremonies, while Buddy Miller will lead an all-star house band. Among the other artists attending are: Gregg Allman, Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, Jerry Douglas, Hayes Carll, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Secret Sisters and more to be announced.

Don’t miss the chance to sit in the spellbinding presence of these artists at this year’s 10th annual Honors & Awards show, October 13th at the historically cool Ryman Auditorium. The always cool full of surprises event is open to the general public and tickets are available through the Ryman Box Office, or with your conference registration.

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