So you can't make it to this year's Americana Music Festival? Perhaps you couldn't set aside the four days to dedicate to the Showcase performances. Or maybe you're still new to the whole Americana thing and want to check out a show or two before dedicating the money to attend the entire festival. Or maybe you're an Americanafest attendee looking for something to do when you have a break in official showcases. Any way you go, there are plenty of free and low cost options for you the week of September 15.
Nashville is rolling out the red carpet for the Americana Music Festival and that includes a number of events that are open to the public. Some are officially sanctioned Americana Music Festival events designed to allow the curious fan to “try before you buy” while others are put on by venues in town before, during, or after the festival in hopes of drawing Americanafest crowds who can't get enough and want to extend their vacations a few more days. Many of these events are free while some require a small cover charge.
This free show at East Nashville's East-Centric Pavilion is a great kick-off for folks arriving the night before Americanafest and a great introduction to the genre for those who wonder what all these Americana people invading their city are on about. 12 acts will perform during the show, including some of Nashville's favorite sons like Webb Wilder, Tommy Womack, and Peter Cooper & Eric Brace. Other highlights include Ashleigh Flynn, Amelia White, and Rod Picott.
An annual tradition preceding the Americana Music Festival kickoff on Sept. 18. Sounds Australia will put on two showcases of Australian Americana artists at the famed Bluebird Cafe. Performers include Tamara Stewart, The Weeping Willows, Emma Swift, Katie Brianna, Breaking Hart Benton, Donna Dean and Jen Mize. There is a $7 food and drink minimum for each show and reservations are recommended as this fills up fast.
Whether you want to check out some early shows before the Showcases begin or aren't an Americanafest attendee and want to get a taste of the genre, this unofficial Americana show will take place at East-Centric Pavilion. The show will feature Jason Daniels, Rich Mahan, Don Gallardo, Allen Thompson, and Craig Jackson.
Not to be confused with the Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket tour of the same name, Americanarama has been an Americanafest tradition for 6 years. Taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., this all-day feast of Americana goodness is a free for all event with artists hand-picked by Grimey's staff. Along with performances by the likes of Willie Sugarcapps, Steelism, and Autumn Defense, there will also be local craft beer, food vendors, and a store-wide sale at Nashville's best independent record store.
Centennial Park's weekly Fall music series Musician's Corner partners up with the Americana Music Festival every year to offer a free Americana Showcase. This year's Musician's Corner showcase performers include jam-centric roots rockers Donna the Buffalo, Shelby Lynne, and Promised Land Sound. A second smaller stage will feature performances by Suzi Ragsdale, Lilly Hiatt, and Emily Barker. This is a great way to get the whole family introduced to Americana Music as Musician's Corner offers a Kidsville area with music, games, and interactive fun.
This free to the public event at Grimey's is considered one of the most raucous and popular auxiliary events to Americanafest and includes a sausage sizzle, provided by Nashville’s Aussie Rules football champs, The Nashville Kangaroos. Featured performers are: The Borderers, Breaking Hart Benton, Katie Brianna, Gena Rose Bruce, Tracey Bunn, The Bushwackers, Melody Feder & Michael Muchow, The Hillbilly Killers, Anne McCue, Kelly Menhennett, Cameron Milford, Jen Mize, Mustered Courage, Melody Pool and The Weeping Willows.