Americana conference suffers dip
Monday, September 21, 2009
– The spirit may have been really good at this year's Americana Music Association conference this past week, but the numbers were down.
Executive Director Jed Hilly said Monday that last year's fest drew about 890 registrants paid and gratis, while this year was about 760.
The downturn was no surprise to Hilly. The economy had previously been considered an issue with people unwilling to spend their money in a major economic downturn. Hilly said the AMA also suffered sponsorship losses, but he was upbeat. The fest extended specials as well until near the start of the conference.
"It was really an intense year," said Hilly. "We had to all sorts of things...running auctions to offset the sponsorship losses. We were down in the registration. Interestingly enough, we were not that far off our numbers. We were just off about the same, but we had budgeted that."
"The reason why I did that (extending the discount) was equal parts trying to encourage people to come, but truthfully it was in every category of business today they all wait until the 11th hour."
"It's just a nervous time for everybody. It's not like we were freaking out. It was like everyone's waiting until the last minute to decide," he said.
Hilly also said the conference's nightly concerts at Nashville clubs were down as well. "We were down in the walk up. We usually get a good number of walk up. People can pay $15 or $20 for a single show. We were definitely down on Wednesday to some degree, but still had good crowds, although we were down. The fact that (John) Fogerty did that surprise thing affected the downstairs event at the Cannery." Fogerty played a surprise gig on Wednesday night, which affected attendance at other AMA events.
Despite the downturn, Hilly made it clear he was quite pleased with the response from those attending. He cited anectodal comments of people walking up to him and thanking him for the event. He also referred to positive comments on the association's Twitter page.
More news for Americana Music Association
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Church grows with time
It's heartening to see the continual rise of Eric Church's career, as he is one of the best songwriters in contemporary mainstream country music. Church mentioned from the stage how he performed for - in his estimation - only six loyal fans at The Whiskey for his first tour trip through Las Angeles a decade ago. His headlining stop last time... »»»
Concert Review: Brooks fires it up
Garth Brooks may have stood outside of country music by and large for 17 years, but he is jumping back in with both feet and more.
Brooks released "Man Against Machine" in November, his first disc of original music in 13 years. Last fall, he launched a world tour, which is rolling out with multiple dates in multiple cities, sometimes... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Garth Brooks was country radio for years. But a lot has changed since Brooks went silent in 2001. Country has shifted even further away from its roots with rock and hip hop part of the landscape. As for Brooks, he retired to spend time raising his three daughters, far away from the bright Nashville lights in Oklahoma. Yes, he did a residency in Las Vegas, but he went 12 years in between new material before releasing "Man Against Machine" in November.
Surely there is some irony in the title of Jim Ed Brown's new album - "In Style Again." At least it's a little ironic for his fans, for as far as they're concerned neither Brown nor his music have been out of style. His strong, mellow voice flows like liquid gold over and around any song he chooses to sing.... »»»
Before Ray Price died - just over one year ago, on Dec. 16, 2013 - he told his wife, Janie, that she would have to carry on his legacy by going out, promoting the album that he had just recorded, "Beauty Is...," and visiting with his legions of fans. He told me, Janie says, "you're gonna be the closest thing to me that people are going to want to reach out to."... »»»
Fear & Saturday Night
Ryan Bingham's roughened voice gives added authenticity to the cowboy ballad "Island in the Sky" off his new "Saturday Night album." The project's title, "Saturday Night," suggests party music, but the accordion-colored "Adventures of You and Me" is one of only a few party anthems on this album. Even so, Bingham sure sounds happy singing to its Tex-Mex accordion groove. »»»