It has been over a week since AmericanaFest UK 2019 and we have not sat still since; amazing photos and videos and reviews just keep on coming in and its very exciting and positive. It feels like we really hit our stride this year and that means there must a be a lot of wonderful people to thank…
As CEO it’s my honour to be the one to write an open letter of thanks to everyone for being part of this amazing event and I’m sure you will join me in celebrating the great achievement of AmericanaFest UK, and the community of people who made it happen.
I’m going to start by thanking the AMA-UK board. We meet regularly all year round to plan and plot and make this all happen, as well as playing really active roles during the event.
Executive Board: Trudie Myerscough-Harris, Baylen Leonard and CFO Ian Thomas. Board Members: Howard Mills, Kim Bayley, Ralph McLean, Luke Hill, Paul Fenn, Charlie Pierce, Brendan McCarthy, Lynne McDowell, Anton Lockwood, Lauren Kreisler and Siobhan Mayer-Kennedy. Thanks to all of you.
UK Americana Awards
This year Trudie Myerscough-Harris produced our fourth awards show and it was once again an incredible night! Months of work goes into a show like this, planning and talking to artists and managers, finding the right presenters and secret surprises. Once again she gathered her team of hard-working crew, family and friends to run the night. This family and her personal team all work in great unison and with Trudie at the helm it ran like clockwork. It really can’t be stressed just how much work goes into an event with so many moving parts. Special thanks go to assistant producer Marc West too for being an absolute star with everything leading up to and during the event.
Bob Harris… Can we all just take a moment in honour of this great man? Thank you to Bob Harris OBE, our hero, our patron, our ringmaster maestro! From the very first round table discussions with AMA-UK founders to this very day, Bob gives his time and support tirelessly to this Association because he is a true music man – it runs in his veins. The support to artists on every level comes from his heart. Let’s give him some deeply deserved thanks and gratitude.
Thank you to Ethan Johns with The Black Eyed Dogs: Seth Lakeman, CJ Hillman, Jonathan Harvey and Jeremy Stacey.Thank you Ethan for finding time for AMA-UK, we value your expertise more than you will ever know.
Thanks to Adrian Basketfield and his team from Night Owl Productions. Adrian’s work preparing for the Awards really showed; right down to the precise, minute-by-minute programming. Once again he made us all look and sound good – what a skill! Thank you Adrian.
Thank you to Miles Myerscough-Harris for filming the event – I think you will agree the clips coming out are a really wonderful memory of the night.
Thank you to Catherine Myerscough-Harris for making sure the awards all got into the right hands at the right time during the show and safe guarding them with your life beforehand, handling the volunteer team and for ushering all those presenters and recipients off stage so adeptly with Jamie Freeman.
Thank you to all these amazing showtime volunteers: Flo Myerscough-Harris, Dylan Mysercough-Harris, Alison Ioannou, Anne Soh, Annemarija Paula, Giulia Cristaldi, Jadesola, Rachel Harney, Scott O'Neill, Sophie McCarthy, Harry Taylor, Genma Evans, Siobhan Mayer-Kennedy and Sara Kelly. A special shout out to Andy Washington for multi tasking during the awards day, the show and the after party. We are incredibly grateful for your efforts and the time you gave us to make the awards show a success. Thank you to Caroline Staiger and Kristina Wolpers for all their hard work on ticketing and the VIP seating area.
Thank you to the award presenters for joining our community and adding a touch of glamour, surprise and excitement: Alan Clarke, Nigel Elderton, Ray Benson, Ashley Monroe, Graham Gouldman, Emily Eavis, Martin Talbot, Micheal Dugher, John Oates, Robert Vincent, Rich Hall and John Paul White.
Last but not least, congratulations to all the nominees and winners. Thank you to the show performers: Bennett Wilson Poole, Jade Bird, Israel Nash, Curse of Lono, Ben Glover, Mary Gauthier, Yola, Ethan John and The Black Eyed Dogs, Rhiannon Giddens, Graham Nash – thank you for making the show unique and special!
Thank you to Lara Baker our Conference manager for producing such an incredible event. Lara has years of experience and her expertise really showed. We decided to do three full days of panels this year and Lara worked with me to create a full schedule for our delegates that was informative, educating and entertaining.
Thank you to the volunteers: Effy Simonsson, Magdalena Denkiewicz, Laura Edwards, James Harbord, Maya Thompson, Nigel Sutton, Klaudia Kulawik, Rachel Griffin – you guys really worked hard and were a great addition to the team.
Enormous gratitude goes out to Rhiannon Giddens for her Keynote. It was not only poignant for this moment in time but historically informative and thought provoking. Many of those in attendance were moved to tears – it was a morning none of us will forget. Rhiannon has very kindly sent us the transcript of her keynote and poem which you can find on our website.
Thank you to Bob Harris and John Oates, Ralph McLean and Ray Benson, Ricky Ross and Fiona Bevan for the ‘in Conversation’ sessions, each with their own special focus – they were real highlights of each day.
We are extremely grateful to all our panelists at the conference. Thanks to: Trudie Myerscough-Harris, Brendan Mccarthy, Ian Thomas, Luke Hill, Charlie Pierce, John Shortell, Keith Harris, Kaia Kater, Allison Russell, Sam Beer, Jess Partridge, Natalie Stokes, Yola Carter, Bev Burton, Gill Tee, Louisa Rainbird, Matt Biffa, Angela Penhaligon, Ben Sumner, Michelle De Vries, Emily Barker, Crispin Parry, Tom Besford, Charlotte Penney, Phil Patterson, Neil Pearson, Winnie Sandy, Trisha Carter, Claire Gevaux, Paddy Nash, Tony Poole, Judith Owen, Judy Tzuke, Dan Moore, Graham Weber, Amy Speace, Chris Difford, Robert Vincent, Roseanne Reid and Beth Nielsen Chapman. Thank you to Gary Horsman for doing the conference sound and making sure all those above and the audience was heard properly.
Huge thanks go out to Emily Barker for bringing Folk in The Box to the conference. Thanks to Lukas Drinkwater and all the artists who popped in to perform over the course of the three days – I think you will join me in saying it was a truly unique experience and a welcome escape from the bustle of the event.
We have to say special thanks to Jamie Freeman who once again designed everything for AmericanaFest UK from the logo, the three brochures, posters, flyers, delegate passes, banners etc., as well as the slides for the awards show. He worked for months before-hand and non-stop during the event too, helping at the Awards show back-stage, and being the imperious voice over the PA.
Hard to express how much thanks we owe to James Walker from Brighthelmstone Promotions for totally running, organising and advancing the showcase festival and awards after party. This year we doubled the size of the event and he took it on without a single complaint – a true joy to work with a real team player. Jim also co-ordinated the volunteers in the venues and ran our new venue Night Tales each night. Thanks to the folks who ran all the showcase venues: Warren Wentworth, Phoebe Lunny, Sarah Claudine, Will Thomas, Will Moore – you were amazing! Thanks so much to Rachael Muller and Jaz Connell for running the wristband exchange – a new venue for us and it was freezing cold, yet they smiled at every one of the 850 people who passed their desk. Thanks to the door volunteers and t-tshirt sellers: Millie Carter, Roisin Hodgins, Henrietta Clare, Amber Park, Tatiana Shelbourne, Bello Nrejaj, Leah Thompson, Emiliano Spence, Sophie Needham, Erika Severyns, Kerrin Gorrey, Coral Hutcheson, Skyelar Clarke – all super stars!
Thank you to all the showcasing artists who made the festival incredible, this year was off the scale: Sam Lewis, Gangstagrass, CoCo and the Butterfields, Days Are Done, Martin Harley, The Luck, Birds of Chicago, Austin Lucas, Lucas & King, Jamie Freeman, Police Dog Hogan, Wild Ponies, Amy Speace, Martha L. Healy, Noble Jacks, The Blue Highways, Caleb Caudle, Caroline Spence, Arkansas Dave, Nicki Bluhm, Mike Farris, Ethan Johns With The Black Eyed Dogs, The Hanging Stars, Neilson Hubbard, The Southern Companion, Bennett Wilson Poole, Beth Rowley, Smith & Brewer, Amber Rubarth, Sam Morrow, Treetop Flyers, Carson McHone, The Hungry Mothers, William The Conqueror, Michaela Anne, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, Pretty Archie, Oh Susanna, Madison Violet, Harrow Fair, Kaia Kater, John Oates, John Smith, The Rails, Ida Mae, Wade Bowen, Asleep at the Wheel, Chance McCoy, Rachel Baiman, Willi Carlile, Foreign Affairs, Robbie Cavanagh, Graham Weber, Danni Nicholls, Dylan Earle, Whiskey Shivers
This year we had brilliant venue take-overs from Thirty Tigers, Big Indie and Canadian Blast – all three brought something unique and special to the event as well as fantastic artists. We were so proud to have you as event partners and look forward to more collaborations in the future. Thank you to Bluegrass Situation for co-hosting the networking drinks with Southern Comfort, it was lovely to continue on our partnership after our Nashville collaboration.
Thank you to our sponsors and partners
Southern Comfort – thank you Drew Young and the Southern Comfort UK team for being our annual sponsors again this year; we really value the relationship we have built over the years and your support is amazing. TN Vacation Made in Tennessee and AMA Executive Director Jed Hilly again sponsored the now famous after party: we’ve seen it said online that it was the best after party ever thanks to the awesome Wild Ponies who put together an incredible line up of guests from the showcase festival artists who all sang songs from Tennessee – it was quite something! Thanks to Night Tales for taking a leap of faith with us and to Sons of Slice for opening their pizza oven in the snow!
Huge thanks go out to Marks & Clerk for amazing support, and thank you to Never No Management to co-hosting the pre show reception with them. Thanks goes out to MGR, we really have huge gratitude for ongoing support in so many ways, and especially for verifying the results of the voting. And for letting us have Ian Thomas who works so hard for AMA-UK.
Thank you Proper Music, Yep Roc, Thirty Tigers, CIMA, Big Indie, PPL, PRS, MU, CD Baby, Key Productions and BMI for supporting us so generously.
Thank you to our sponsors-in-kind: WBC Bags for Life, Axe Nicely Design, GigSwig, Brighthelmstone, Ooosh Tours, Folk in a Box and John Henry.
Thank you to our Hackney venues. It’s our fourth year in and we feel very at home in Hackney. Moth Club, Empire Bar, Paper Dress Vintage, Oslo and our new venue Night Tales. Thanks to our conference venue Hackney House, and of course to Hackney Empire and all of your staff especially Jane, Becca and Hoff.
Thank you to our PR team, LD Communications – David Cox, Libby Maguire and Dannika Webber. Thanks to Joey Clarkson who kept our social media platforms buzzing in the lead up and throughout the events.
We are immensely proud of our awards – the wonderful ‘Woodys’. The original concept by Russell Beck of a 7” single was then designed by Jaz Auden of 29 Woodwork, with centre labels designed by Jamie Freeman.
Thanks to our photographers and videographers who were there to capture all that excitement. Georgie d’Albiac Brewin and Jools Owen, Chris Harvey, Music Up Close, Richard Young, James McCauley, plus Jonathan Stewart and Joanna Dudderidge courtesy of Musicians Union.
Thank you to our charity partner Help Musicians UK, who hosted the Career Longevity panel at the conference. It’s a really important topic in this genre and we are proud to be associated with you. We were proud to work with Keychange to create a panel about women in music and happy to say we have already reached the 50/50 gender balance pledge at our conference and are very close too with the showcase festival - all well ahead of Keychange’s 2022 target.
Thank you to our members for making this community and being part of the family. So many of you nominated and voted in the Awards; the results are down to your choices and we value this so much. Thank you for attending and taking part in the conference which sold out again this year. Thank you for celebrating at the Awards with us. Welcome and thank you to our new Supporter and Patron members – your addition to this community is hugely valued.
I really hope I haven’t forgotten anyone! We’ll see you on a stage, a festival field or at a music venue soon.
CEO Americana Music Association UK