Mavis Staples, Rosanne Cash & More Set For Americana Music Assn.’s Thriving Roots Virtual Conference

Mavis Staples
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Mavis Staples performs onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards "Let's Go Crazy" The GRAMMY Salute To Prince on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

Online event will take the place of this year's Americanafest.

Americanafest, the annual Nashville conclave put on by the Americana Music Association, will morph into Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference this year.

Thriving Roots will take place Sept. 16-18, the dates originally slotted for AmericanaFest and will be hosted by the Americana Music Association’s newly formed Americana Music Association Foundation (AMAF), announced here.

The virtual conference will feature programming by Mavis Staples, Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal, as well as AMAF board members Jackson Browne, Rhiannon Giddens and T Bone Burnett, among others.

Thriving Roots will include 50 industry and artist-led panels, as well as more than 40 music events.

“As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, we know that there is a need now more than ever to feel connected,” said Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association Foundation and The Americana Music Association in a statement. “With Thriving Roots, we hope that our community will benefit from coming together in the comfort of their own homes to learn from each other and have timely conversations, while still having opportunities to network and enjoy great music.”

The Thriving Roots platform will enable attendees to set up individual profiles so they can chat through private messaging, hold open discussions on a forum and schedule one-on-one video meetings. In addition to these networking features, there will also be a live virtual exhibit hall spotlighting industry vendors from the close-knit music community.

Passes for Thriving Roots are $99 and go on sale at 2 p.m. CT today (June 18).

In other roots music news, the International Bluegrass Music Assn.’s World of Bluegrass conference, which normally takes place in late September in Raleigh, will also go virtual.

“While we all would love to gather in Raleigh this year for IBMA World of Bluegrass, the extraordinary circumstances made this decision necessary,” said Paul Schiminger, executive director of IBMA. “Maintaining the health and safety of the large crowd we enjoy each year would be such an enormous, uncertain, and risky proposition.”

The conference, awards and performances will take place online Sept. 28-Oct. 3. Nominations for the IMBA Bluegrass Music Awards will be announced June 26 on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction.

Fans will have access to free live streaming ― and on-demand sessions and performances ― of the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble showcases, the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards, and IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, a music festival with performers ranging from emerging artists to industry icons. For updates go to and