New ACM Awards Date Directly Conflicts with AmericanaFest Awards
This story has been updated (see bottom).
On Monday morning (4-27), the ACM Awards announced their new plans for the recently-postponed 2020 presentation. Originally scheduled to occur on Sunday, April 5th in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, it will now be held at The Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Bluebird Cafe on September 16th, 2020. The original presentation was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be hosted by Keith Urban, it hasn’t been determined what if any crowds will be involved in the ACM Awards presentation, but the hope is with incorporating multiple venues and not tasking the entirety of the Nashville-based country music industry to uproot and relocate to Las Vegas for a weekend, it will mitigate concerns about any Coronavirus social distancing or travel restrictions that may still be in place.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to host the rescheduled 55th ACM Awards in the home of Country Music for the first time in the Academy’s history,” says ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. “First and foremost, we want to ensure the safety of our artists and industry, and to ease the burdens of traveling large teams; therefore, we decided to bring the ACM Awards to them this September in Nashville. Now, more than ever, is the time to bring our community together to honor the best in our genre, and there is no more special place to do that than three of the most revered venues in Country Music. A huge thank you to these historic venues and to the state of Tennessee and city of Nashville for all of the support in making this a reality!”
However the newly rescheduled ACM Awards present a scheduling conflict, and it is a big one. Wednesday, September 16th falls smack dab in the middle of the city’s annual AmericanaFest gathering that is set to take place in 2020 from September 15th to the 20th. Furthermore, the event’s centerpiece—The Americana Music Awards—is scheduled to be on the same night, and at The Ryman Auditorium, which is listed as one of the venues where the ACM Awards will be held.
Though tickets are not currently on sale for the Americana Music Awards on September 16th at the Ryman, the date and location has been announced and confirmed for the Americana awards.
Saving Country Music reached out to the Americana Music Association for comment, and was told by the Association’s publicist, “At this time, the Americana Honors and Awards show is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 16th at the Ryman Auditorium. Under the circumstances we are, of course, monitoring the COVID-19 situation and assessing our event daily. Our artists’ and community’s safety is our utmost concern. We refer any questions regarding the Academy of Country Music’s announcement, to ACM leadership.”
Along with the awards themselves, The Americana Music Association also holds rehearsals in the Ryman Auditorium space days ahead of their awards that is usually streamed live online, and rebroadcast on PBS later in the year. Perhaps the performances the ACM Awards will present from the Ryman Auditorium will be pre-recorded, but they will have to be pre-recorded many days before the actual event to make way for Americana.
Beyond the awards, AmericanaFest also draws massive out-of-town crowds to Nashville, putting a run on hotel rooms, parking, and other resources downtown that now the ACM Awards and its attendees and support staff will by vying for. AmericanaFest usually draws some 300 official performers, and thousands of fans and industry participants, and ultilizes dozens of venues throughout Nashville, making it one of the biggest independent music gatherings annually in the United States. The event has been happening in Nashville for over 20 years.
As Saving Country Music pointed out in detail on March 18th, rescheduling spring events to the fall will present scheduling conflicts and other logistical issues, especially with big events like the ACM Awards and AmericanaFest. Though it’s still possible for the two events to be held simultaneously side by side, and the possibility the ongoing Coronavirus concerns could scale back both events from current plans, it could create a difficult situation for Nashville and music industry personnel.
UPDATE (4/27/20 6:40 p.m. CDT):
The ACM Awards have responded to the concern about both the ACM Awards and the Americana Music Awards being scheduled to take place at the Ryman Auditorium on September 16th with the following statement to Saving Country Music:
“Thank you for the opportunity to clarify our plans. The Academy’s current plan is to utilize the largest of the three iconic Nashville venues, the Grand Ole Opry House, as the live centerpiece of the night with select live performances from the Bluebird Cafe. Special performances and moments from the Ryman will be captured in advance of Sept. 16’s CBS broadcast of the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards. Our plans will remain fluid based on the status of the quarantine and we are prepared to adapt them based on the status of Nashville’s Roadmap for Reopening.“
April 27, 2020 @ 11:39 am
Surely the management of the Grand Ole Opry would have said we are booked already?
April 27, 2020 @ 11:53 am
I have talked to the Americana people, and they insist The Ryman is booked, it’s a go, and aside from cancelling due to Coronavirus, their plans are the same. Still waiting to hear back from someone at the ACMs. The only thing I can think is perhaps the ACMs are planning to pre-record stuff at the Ryman to use during the broadcast, but that’s not what they alluded to in the announcement. With the Opry House being the biggest venue, my guess is that’s where the actual awards will be handed out. That’s where they held the CMAs for years. I could see them taping stuff at The Ryman and Bluebird. But like I said in the article, the Americana presentation takes over the Ryman a few days before. It’s a massive setup with TV production and the whole bit.
April 28, 2020 @ 7:18 am
I think one of them got confused and accidentally booked the historic Ramen Auditorium, a local Nashville Japanese restaurant that holds open mics every Wednesday.
Sorry, I think I’ve gone too far down a Hot Country Knights rabbit hole with being stuck in the house for so long.
April 27, 2020 @ 12:26 pm
Why can’t the ACM’s just go virtually from home. Keith’s monologue, performances, and awards could be presented via a zoom like site.
The Nickelodeon Kid Choice Awards are airing this Saturday through such a presentation.
The ACMs waiting until Sept is lame considering the nominations have been out since February… Plus, the CMAs will hopefully still be airing in November – way too many award shows this fall will make them feel “less special”
April 27, 2020 @ 12:30 pm
Trig, considering many album releases have been delayed – is it safe to assume that the CMA awards eligibility time frame will be expanded? I think its usually from June 2019 to- June 2020. I’d assume that June 2020 date will be pushed back?
Same goes for the Grammys? Their eligibility date ends usually in August I believe..
April 27, 2020 @ 12:54 pm
I wouldn’t say that’s safe to assume at all. The majority of records are still being released, and if they expand eligibility, it will affect what happens next year and the year after etc., so my hope is they would keep it static. If you want to be considered for awards, all the more reason to keep your original date.
April 27, 2020 @ 1:28 pm
There’s something else wrong with their announcement:
“Now, more than ever, is the time to bring our community together to honor the best in our genre…”
April 27, 2020 @ 1:31 pm
Could be a fun event.
Maren Morris & Kelsea Ballerini (for the americana crowd…MM is the one who always looks like she is pissed) announce the winner for Emerging Act of the Year
Rhiannon Giddens hands out the ACM award for Best Female Nash-Pop Artist to the still pissed looking MM
because it’s one big party at the Ryman…Lee Greenwood sings “God Bless The USA” but changes the lyrics to “God Bless Donald Trump”.
Meanwhile Keith Urban forgets he is hosting the ACM awards & not the australian ARIAs or the Golden Guitars in Tamworth & he hands out the award for EotY to Lee Kernaghan.
On with the party, folks!
April 27, 2020 @ 2:47 pm
your 2020 ACM awards cohosts: Dale Watson and Nicole Kidman…
April 27, 2020 @ 3:00 pm
And the opening number is “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”.
April 27, 2020 @ 5:58 pm
Lee Greenwood changing the lyrics would be fantastic. It would drive the Americana crowd bananas.
April 27, 2020 @ 4:42 pm
Just received a statement from the ACM Awards, and updated the story. As I suspected, the ACM segments from the Ryman Auditorium will be pre-recorded, while the main event will happen at the Grand Ole Opry House, with other select live performances at the Bluebird Cafe.
Nonetheless, this still leaves the two events competing with each other on the same night in Nashville.
April 27, 2020 @ 5:35 pm
If there was any conflict I think they should have just worked it out by conceding the best venue to each other based on the following criteria:
-Which venue is most conducive to live music vs. drum machines
-Which has more room back space for hair and makeup and outfit changes
-Which has the best secret back entrance for Garth to sneak though to steal his EOY award.
-Which captures that romantic boyfriend mood better on camera?
-Which aesthetic best fits a suave and trendy Australian?
April 27, 2020 @ 5:55 pm
I’m assuming both ceremonies will have no audience or perhaps a person every other seat. No way there will be crowds….
Since the grand ole opry is still doing shows in Saturday nights… Why not just reveal the winners on one of those broadcasts?
April 27, 2020 @ 8:07 pm
Shame on the ACM’s for not respecting the tradition and the importance of the Americana Music Association and their annual awards show. Corporate greed.
April 28, 2020 @ 4:28 am
The replacement “At Home” broadcast recently was just about the best music program I have seen in a long time. Seeing these artists perform from their homes without the benefit of processing, auto-tune, live backing bands, just them and a guitar, was pure unadulterated joy. Some did perfectly well while some really showed that they need all that processing and audio geekery in order to sound good, but by and large it was a lot of fun and the music was great. I have watched a lot of these at-home shows on YouTube during the coronavirus stay-home period, they have provided great entertainment to us viewers and an outlet for artists to still ply their trade, albeit without the immediate feedback from the audience. We may not be able to go to concerts again for years to come, which is a horrible thought.
April 29, 2020 @ 10:10 am
i was looking forward to discussing that “at home special” on here but no article appeared. it has been so long i forget what i wanted to complain about. maybe brad paisley singing that mud on the tires thing he did at the first episode of online oprey, maybe them not showing his wife enough.
i dont know if i am more amazed Hootie is a thing in country, or that he isn’t half bad.
didn’t care for the carrie underwood song, i am old and don’t like glorifying drinking, esp when addictions and issues are going to skyrocket in lockdown.
no idea why keith urban is even a thing. did someone in power decide he was going to be heralded as the top of the food chain? i never meet anyone who actually likes or listens to them. like beyonce.
shania looks as good as she did in the 90s. she has to have a painting aging in her attic. sounded good too. the horse sounded slightly better.
April 28, 2020 @ 2:02 pm
I only needed to read two words to know I would not be viewing the ACM program. Those two words are “Keith Urban.”