First Timer's Guide
"Our annual AMERICANAFEST®: The Americana Music Festival & Conference brings together music fans and industry professionals alike every September to celebrate the growth of Americana in Music City. Year after year, we look forward to returning faces as well as new ones and hope that this First Timer’s Guide will come in handy in welcoming you to our community." - AMERICANAFEST® Staff
Forget everything you know about music festivals; AMERICANAFEST® is not your average fest. The annual festival and conference is spread over 50 different prestigious music venues across Nashville, including hundreds of electrifying nightly showcases, special events highlighting the culture of Music City, comprehensive music industry panels at its conference headquarters and its hallmark Americana Honors & Awards at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
You don't have to be involved in the industry to attend a panel, and you don't have to be a member of the Americana Music Association® to be a part of the community. AMERICANAFEST® is a community for artists, fans and industry leaders alike; it's about finding your tribe and calling it home.
Whether you're looking to rock out at a dive bar with a beer in hand or immerse yourself in an intimate singer-songwriter moment over a glass of wine, AMERICANAFEST® has something for anyone who's passionate about music.
How to Attend
There are four different ways to attend AMERICANAFEST®. The Gold Circle package is for the ultimate AMERICANAFEST® fan, including a visit to the Honors & Awards rehearsal, premiere seating during the show and more. The Conference Registration is your priority access pass. If you want the complete AMERICANAFEST® experience, this pass is the one for you. The Festival Wristband is the best-valued festival pass in the nation and will grant you access to all of the nightly showcases as well as select special events. If you're still wanting the experience and don't mind waiting in lines, this pass is right for you. Lastly, you can take a chance and buy a door ticket at a small price for shows that are not yet at capacity and even attend for free as there numerous special events across Music City that are open to the public. Check the mobile app event listings for details.
What to expect when...
Getting around town: While AMERICANAFEST® provides a complimentary shuttle service, it is not necessarily the most timely form of transportation recommended. Utilize your favorite ride-sharing service like Lyft to get from venue to venue or check out the official mobile app for walking distances and venues that include parking.
Staying in Music City: The host hotel is typically centrally located to all of the showcasing venues and special events. If you do not want to shell out the money for a hotel downtown, there are a variety of local hostels and AirBnb options in more residential areas like East Nashville to get the full Nashville experience.
Helpful Tips for the Best AMERICANAFEST® Experience
Determine what is important to you. Before stepping foot in Music City, figure out which panels, special events and showcasing artists you may want to see, what venues they're at and tailor your own AMERICANAFEST® schedule using the mobile app. This helps to ensure that you are making the most of your time at the festival, and you can hit the ground running.
Don't overschedule. There are countless can't-miss special events and showcasing artists every year. Due to small venues with larger-than-life performances, you may have to choose between a "can't-miss" artist and the rest of your schedule. You’ll have more luck jetting between venues if you’re going for lesser-known acts. Otherwise, arriving early and camping out at a venue is your best bet. Either choice you make, it'll be the right one.
Plan ahead but stay flexible. Hungry? Check the "About" tab under "Where" in the Schedule section to know whether or not a venue offers food, parking, etc. It is also good to note that Conference Registrants will get priority access over Festival Wristband holders when it comes to getting into showcasing venues. If AMERICANAFEST® knows a show is in extremely high demand, an RSVP will be sent just to conference registrants, so be prepared to wait in line. A good way to know which events will be in high demand is by checking out the "What's Hot" section in the mobile app.
Take time to network. You will be surrounded by artists and industry professionals at every level. Make the most of your experience and connect with others around you. Make lunch or dinner meetings with people you want to do business with - or with people you just want to get to know!
Stay open: You may discover your next favorite act. AMERICANAFEST® prides itself on showcasing raw talent that has yet to reach the masses, once-in-a-lifetime collaborations and surprises you won't see anywhere else. 
Cherish your AMERICANAFEST® moments. This is serendipity in music form. If you are able to get into a showcasing venue almost at capacity and witness an artist playing an intimate showcase to a room full of one hundred people, you will be lucky enough to know what that moment feels like. And we sure hope you do.