The Americana Music Association chose Arkansas for its regional music focus for the 22nd annual AMERICANAFEST, which will take place Sept. 13 – Sept. 17 in Nashville, Tenn. 


Arkansas Tourism and Visit Bentonville have partnered together in order to bring multiple panels, special events and music showcased over four days. These highlights include a panel discussion about the life and legacy of Johnny Cash, an event to showcase upcoming Arkansas Americana artists and a showcase of music as a tribute to Lvon Helm. 


2022 Conference Registration prices start at $499 and include access to over 45 industry panels, more than 175 nightly showcases and 65 special events across Nashville. Festival wristbands start at $175. 


“We’re beyond thrilled to spotlight the state of Arkansas at this year’s festival and celebrate its rich musical heritage,” Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, said. “Through this programming, attendees will be able to experience the sounds of delta blues, rockabilly and Ozark folk, as we welcome our friends from the Arkansas tourism, music and creative industries who have built and are expanding the tradition of Americana.” 


Arkansas is known for producing some of the most diverse and iconic pioneers of American music, according to the news release. These artists include Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Louis Jordan, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Al Green, Levon Helm, Ronnie Hawkins, Glen Campbell, Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf and more. 



The state of Arkansas will be highlighted during the three-day conference part of AMERICANAFEST, which starts Wednesday, Sept. 14. Music executive, visionary and Arkansas native, A.L. Bell, will serve as a featured panelist for Wattstax Now And Then: Celebrating 50 Years of Wattstax and American Music by Black Artist. Former owner and CEO of Stax Records, Bell was raised in Brinkley before becoming a DJ in Little Rock. 


Wednesday will also include Rev. Greg Spradlin, another Arkansas musician, in moderating Arkansas Creatives – a discussion on creative influences that have developed the Americana sound in Arkansas. Panelists for this event include Bonnie Montgomery, Jason Weinheimer and Stephen Koch, an Arkansas music historian. This session will explore how Arkansas culture led multiple influential artists into curating an Americana sound. 


Sharon Corbitt will lead a history lesson during Arkansas Delta Roots which covers the innovators and originators of the Southern Delta sound. The roots will vary, including gospel, country, blues and more. Larry McCray, Munnie Jordan and other panelists will be discussing these connections to the Natural State. 


Musical performances will begin on Thursday, with a special day party to be hosted by The House of Songs. Arkansas Extravaganza will feature Dylan Earl, David Starr, Shannon Wurst and others. 


Willi Carlisle, Erin Enderlin, Larry McCray, Rev. Greg Spradlin and Bonnie Montgomery will be further showcased in performances with a special tribute to honor Levon Helm. This will be backed by Mike Farris, Allison Moorer, Autumn Nicholas, Webb Wilder, Oliver Wood and others.  


Friday, Robert Burke Warren, musician, writer and performer, will lead Johnny Cash: An Arkansan Icon Endures, which will take a deeper look at Cash’s career in music. 


Saturday will include the Arkansas Explorer Day Party to wrap up the week of events. The House of Songs will host this event that is sponsored by Arkansas Tourism, Visit Bentonville, songwriters and Natural State natives. 


To view the complete schedule of events for AMERICANAFEST, click here