(Editor’s Note :: this is a rerun of a piece from last year’s fest. Updated version is coming soon!)
So today marks the beginning of Americana Music Association‘s week of folk and fun – properly known as the Americana Music Festival and Conference – and things kick off with a keynote by Bonnie Raitt, an awards show at the Ryman and a slew of showcases (good bets for tonight are Shovels & Rope at The Basement and a Tribute to Levon Helm at Mercy, and Canada’s Whitehorse at the High Watt). The full schedule is after the jump, and musical lineup here. You need to have a badge to attend panels, but single tickets can be purchased for all showcases.
To you out-of-towners in for the festivities – welcome to Nashville. And whether you are from here or there you may still recognize the face of this pretty lady, Emilee Warner (at left), who handles PR at Crash Avenue and sits on the AMA board. Although she recently relocated from East Nashville to my hometown of New York City (Brooklyn, to be exact), there’s still no one better to guide us through the best places to catch a little coffee, get some wireless access or have the all-important off-site meeting during the festivities.
Make sure to catch Crash Avenue acts Angel Show (tomorrow, 9 p.m., at The Basement), Anthony Da Costa (Saturday, 8 p.m. at The Basement), Holy Ghost Tent Revival (Friday, 9 p.m., at Mercy) and Hoots & Hellmouth (Saturday, 4 p.m., Musican’s Corner at Centennial Park) while you’re in town.
P.S., I am moderating a panel tomorrow morning called Selling Roots: How Publicizing Americana Music Compares to Other Genres, at 9:30 a.m., where I’ll chat with a bunch of veteran publicists about how they work their magic and the challenges they encounter along the way. Stop by or tweet me if you have a question you’d like to see asked.
And if all of this Americana stuff is not for you, here’s what you should be doing instead this week (hint ::: Beach House and Built to Spill).
Emilee Warner’s Top 5 Places to Take Refuge or Have a Meeting During the Americana Music Festival & Conference: A Guide for Out-of-Towners :::
1. 12th South Taproom – This place has wifi (you need to ask your server for the password), Parmesan mashed potatoes, and loads of amazing beers. It’s convenient to downtown, but parking can be somewhat difficult if it’s a busy time of day. I suggest going across the street and hitting a side street, especially if you drive a larger vehicle. They have live music in the evenings, but during the day time is a solid place to get some food and have a conversation. Big plus: patio seating.
2. Ugly Mugs – This is my staple. Ugly Mugs in East Nashville is a bit further of a drive for any AMA attendee without a car this week, but if you have one it’s a great spot for a meeting. Ugly Mugs is generally fairly busy, but I have always managed to find a seat somewhere to camp out on my laptop for hours. I’ve had countless meetings here, as it’s a fine place for conversation, some outside seating, with loads of natural light, and parking these days. For me, it’s nice to sneak away to get some work done. Nearby is Jeni’s ice cream if you get a sweet tooth, which is unarguably the best new ice cream place in all of Nashville. Rosepepper Cantina, Eastland Cafe, and The Silly Goose are some eateries within walking distance if you want to pair your meeting with a meal. Big plus: Eastland’s Happy Hour. Just do it.
3. Morton’s Steakhouse (bar area) – Having meetings at the Sheraton can certainly be difficult when the conference is like a gigantic family reunion. I can barely keep my attention span for five minutes, much less hold any conversation for length. Sneaking out and around the corner to Morton’s Steakhouse gives you a place where you’re likely to run into fewer folks you haven’t seen since last year’s AMA, and I recall a tasty bar menu. Some ladyfriends and I snuck out there last year for a happy hour to get away from the hotel for a minute to visit, and we were the only AMA folks in the house. Fine wine, good atmosphere, and just around the corner. I vote it best at happy hour.
4. 3 Crow Bar – If you’ve been here at night, you’d probably be questioning my sanity here. Although 3 Crow is a very happening bar in East Nashville, it is awesome for day time meetings. They have wifi, and a new menu if you haven’t been back to Nashville since last year. It’s quiet, the burgers are delicious, and they’ve added french fries to the menu! Who doesn’t like french fries and free wifi a mile from downtown? Plus, it’s right at Five Points if you’ve been hearing how awesome East Nashville is and are curious to check it out. Be sure to tell your bartender you’d like a Bushwacker for dessert.
5. Portland Brew (12th South) – This coffee shop staple is just down the road from 12th South Taproom and is always a sweet spot to get some work done. It’s typically a quiet place, but is convenient for the locals for meetings and is easier to find a seat than Frothy Monkey, just up the road. While you’re in the area, you can also try Burger Up, getting fitted for some Imogene + Willie’s, and trying to peak through the fence at Dolly Parton’s compound.