RS caught up with executive director of the Americana Music Association, Jed Hilly.
This year’s US-based AmericanaFest which runs September 22nd through 25th at venues throughout Nashville, has announced details of their new safety guidelines for the event as a result of the Delta variant of Covid-19. Everyone attending will now be required to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test prior to entry to any of the festival’s performances, showcases or panels. Attendees are also being encouraged to don a mask for any indoor functions, including those who have already been vaccinated.
Earlier this month, the Music Venue Alliance of Nashville, many of which are long-time hosts of showcases for AmericanaFest, announced their own restrictions for access, stipulating that you should be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the start of the festival or that you have a negative test result within 72 hours of entry.
Jed Hilly, the executive director of the Americana Music Association, told Rolling Stone: “We’re not LiveNation, we’re not Bonaroo. We don’t own the land that we produce our event on. Every single event, every single venue, every single night time venue, is donated to the Association by the clubs, which is extraordinarily generous. This Association would not exist without the clubs.”
Hilly expressed optimism that fans would accept the policy without too much pushback: “I’m hopeful that, and I firmly believe that, all of the people, the partners, the sponsors, the panelists, and the artists — we’ve gotten no flak. And I think the reason why is we did not push the venues. We didn’t tell anybody what to do.”
He went on to tell RS: “I know that people want to know. Some people are not happy with us and feel like we have a bigger obligation to share what it is that we’re thinking and planning. To that I say I hear you, I’m listening, I understand. But it’s important to me to first talk to everybody that [creates] the content of what AmericanaFest is… If we had made an announcement two weeks ago, I have no idea what would have happened. It could have gone either way. I wanted to work with some certainty in an uncertain world. And that certainty at least is based on communicating with everybody and not just making a decision unilaterally.”