This message was created by our new Diversity & Inclusion Committee which addresses issues of inclusivity, representation and identity within the Americana community.
The Americana Music Association is a non-profit 501(c)(6) music association that advocates for the authentic voice of American Roots Music around the world. AmericanaFest is our most significant annual event. As such, it is where we welcome fellow travelers home and introduce ourselves to newcomers who we hope will join our music family. That is why we launched All-Americana in 2020; to continue to clearly call in a more diverse and inclusive community, including, but not limited to, important voices in the LGBTQIA+ community.
We take it very seriously when any corner of our broad, deep, diverse, and passionate community feels anything less than fully embraced in our living room. We were heartbroken to hear of instances in which some members of our All-Americana community who identify as Trans and Non-Binary were made to feel unwelcome at certain events at this year’s Conference and Festival.
We have spent many hours over the last two weeks hearing first person accounts of points of concern, and in emergency meetings of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors to address the concerns meaningfully, sustainably, and actionably. We are listening with great care and working hard to learn how to serve the full spectrum of our All-Americana family better in this moment and going forward.
We thank community members who have offered constructive, actionable steps to help us live our values of inclusion and safety, and we are committed to taking meaningful steps, including, but not limited to:
Broadening representation on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, including, but not limited to, representatives from the trans and non-binary communities.
Seeking sponsorship opportunities for low-income Americana musicians to attend and participate in the festival. We will have additional news regarding a fund being created for this purpose, coming soon.
Hosting diversity training for Americana Music Association staff, Board and Committee members.
This is not the end of the journey. We are all works-in-progress. While some action steps we take will be immediate, others will evolve over time. We want you to know we hear you, we are listening and we will honor our inclusivity and belonging mission. We look forward to further constructive dialogue from all the intersectional communities we seek to serve.
The members of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee include Brandi Carlile (Artist), Courtney Gregg (Bluesky Artist Management / President of the Americana Music Association Board of Directors), David Macias (Thirty Tigers), Jacquelyn Marushka (Marushka Media), Leyla McCalla (Artist), Allison Russell (Artist), Shannon Sanders (BMI/Producer) and Caroline Randall Williams (Author/Activist/Teacher), plus Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly who serves as a facilitator.
You might’ve seen our new “All Americana” social media campaign on our Instagram. Featuring artists like Amythyst Kiah, Jerry Pentecost, Joe Henry, Raul Malo and Tift Merritt, you can check out their personal connections to Americana music on our Story Highlights. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee will curate a variety of panels that spotlight Black, Hispanic/Latine and LGBTQIA+ voices at our AMERICANAFEST conference. We also plan to continue these important conversations at future events.
The Americana Music Association is committed to championing equity and inclusivity while being an open and welcoming community to our members and all who attend our sponsored events, conference, and/or festival. To support this safe space, the Americana Music Association does not tolerate hate: racist, anti-LGBTQIA+, sexist, ageist, anti-semitic or generally intolerant actions. The association will continue to work toward growing and supporting a community where all feel welcome, valued and heard.