Posted: 29 August, 2023

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.


Conference Panels

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.

Sixteen Tons: The Merle Travis Story — Ford Theater, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum | Saturday 9/23 – 2:30 PM

The 2022 book Sixteen Tons: The Merle Travis Story paints a vivid and unvarnished portrait of Merle Travis, guitar innovator, hit songwriter and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Using a trove of unearthed autobiographical writings left by Travis, co-author Deke Dickerson traces Travis’s journey from western Kentucky coal country to his high standing among country music’s most influential guitarists. During this program, Dickerson, master guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and Eddie Pennington, and Travis’s daughters Cindy Travis and Merlene Travis-Maggini will discuss the musician’s life, work and legacy.

Ford Theater. Program ticket required. AMERICANAFEST conference registrants can reserve tickets starting on Friday, September 1 at Noon. Conference registrants should refer to the email sent by the Americana Music Association for the link to reserve tickets. Limited tickets may be available for visitors who have purchased Museum admission on the day of the program.


Musical Evenings

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.


Special Events

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

Interested in covering AMERICANAFEST 2023? Applications for press credentials are now being accepted here.


The 23rd annual AMERICANAFEST will take place September 19-23, 2023 in Nashville, Tenn., once again bringing together music industry professionals and fans alike for five days of discovery, insight and connections. AMERICANAFEST showcases hundreds of artists and bands throughout many notable venues in Nashville, TN. The destination event also features a first-rate industry conference, bringing together the top tier of the music business to discuss current industry topics and issues. Musical festivities are kicked off by the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards, which celebrates luminaries and welcomes the next generation of trailblazers while offering one-of-a-kind performance pairings at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. For more information, please visit

About The Americana Music Association and The Americana Music Foundation:
The Americana Music Association (501(c)6) and its educational arm, the Americana Music Foundation (501(c)3), are professional not-for-profit organizations whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world and to preserve Americana music through education. The Association and its Foundation endeavors are to strengthen understanding, awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage, shine a light on inspiration and promote future creators’ capacity and engagement. Together, the two entities produce educational programs, musical performances and public events; including AMERICANAFEST, the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program, NYU’s Americana Artist-In-Residence program and the Smithsonian’s Roots to Pop series.

For more information, artist press photos or to request media credentials, please contact:
David Chamberlain | Americana Music Association | 615.386.6936 |
Jackie Marushka | Marushka Media | 615.417.6500 |
Americana Music Association | 615.386.6936 |