AmericanaFest 2021 UK goes virtual!

The year usually starts out strong for Americana artists, music business professionals and fans. There is a dizzying array of genre specific conference seminars, industry opportunities, and showcases in East London, all topped off with a star-studded awards ceremony.

The tireless board members (including CEO Stevie Smith, DJ and festival impresario Baylen Leonard and artist manager Charlie Pierce) weren’t going to let a little thing like lockdown get in the way of supporting, representing and advocating for Americana in the UK. They took the whole shebang virtual.

The streams on January 26 and January 27, 2021, will be packed with showcase performances, and January 28 will close out the event with a musical tribute to John Prine and an awards ceremony.

Of course, it won’t be exactly the same as previous years. There’s no denying that the annual AMA-UK conference has become an important crucible for networking and socialising (and we’ll certainly miss doing the official photography).

However, there are some clear benefits to the new approach. Firstly, it will allow fans and performing artists to catch many more showcase sessions because the video recordings will be available for two weeks. Secondly, international artists that may previously been unavailable due to touring schedules, family commitments or financial barriers are able to participate.

Hopefully in the future there will be the possibility of a hybrid model combining digital and live offerings. That way there would be more access for fans and artists across the constituent nations of the UK and the world, as well as allowing viewers and performing artists to catch-up on showcases so that live clashes aren’t so painful. Plus photos, of course!

We’ve had a sneak peak of James Riley’s set (backed up by two AMA-UK Instrumentalists of the Year) and if the quality and creativity of that is anything to go by, the three night event will be well worth the £25 ticket price.

Check out the stage splits to see the range of performances on offer:

There will be a 50-50 gender balance for the fourth year running. The full list of showcasing artists (encompassing 14 hours of music!!) is Andrew Farriss, Arnold Richardson, Beccy Cole, Brent Cobb, Charley Crockett, Charlie Collins, Chatham County Line, Chuck Prophet, Church of Roswell, Cory Gallant, Courtney Marie Andrews, Daisy Chute, Dan Bettridge, Dan Sultan, Danny George Wilson, Darlingside, Declan O’Rourke, DeLila Black, Diana Demuth, Dustbowl Revival, Eddy Smith & The 507, Emily Barker, Emma Swift, Fanny Lumsden, Fenn Wilson, Gill Landry, Good Lovelies, Gordie MacKeenman & His Rhythm Boys, Grant Lee Phillips, Hamiltones, Hannah White, Haunted Hearts, Ida Mae, Israel Nash, Jaimee Harris, James Riley, Jason Isbell (and the 400 Unit), Jim Lauderdale, Jim White, Jimmy Vipperman, Joana Serrat, Josh O’Keefe, Joshua Burnside, Judy Blank, Karen Jonas, Katie Pruitt, Kyshona Armstrong, Lakota John, Larkin Poe, Lauren Housley, Lawrence Maxwell, Logan Ledger, Lucero, Massy Ferguson, Megan O’Neill, Michaela Anne, Mipso, Misty River, Native Harrow, Our Man in the Field, Peter Bruntnell, Rissi Palmer, Robert Vincent, Roseanne Reid, Ruthie Collins, Saije, Sam Coe, Sarah Potenza, Southern Avenue, The Handsome Family, The Hanging Stars, The Marriage, The Mavericks, The Northern Belle, The Wandering Hearts, The War and Treaty, Tracy McNeil, Tre Burt, Treetop Flyers, Troy Cassar-Daley, True Strays, Wild Ponies.

The John Prine Tribute Show on January 28, 2021, will feature artists like Billy Bragg, Ferris and Sylvester, and Ida Mae. Prine will be posthumously awarded with the Songwriter Legacy Award, created in his honour.

The awards ceremony on the same night, presented by ‘Whispering Bob’ Harris OBE, will feature appearances from Colin Firth, Steve Lamacq, Fleetwood Mac’c Christine McVie, living legend Mavis Staples and Brandi Carlile. There will be performances from American Aquarium, Emily Barker, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Mary Gauthier, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, as well as various other award nominees.

‘See you’ there? Tickets are available now.

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