I visited the Old Queen’s Head in Essex Road, Islington, this evening for the launch of the 5th annual UK AmericanaFest, which will return to Hackney for three days at the end of January 2020.

The theme of the event is “Collaborate and Cross Pollinate” reflecting on how Americana artists work together across different genres and art forms.

The event culminates on 30 January in the prestigious UK Americana Awards 2020, which will be held for the first time in the art deco Troxy in Limehouse, East London.

The UK Americana Awards aims to recognise the breadth of talent across the genre and the impressive range of artists nominated this year includes Yola, Frank Turner, Jade Bird, Mavis Staples, Larkin Poe, Highwomen, Ida Mae and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

Amongst those receiving Awards will be:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Joan Armatrading

Trailblazer Award: Nick Lowe

Grassroots Award: Mark Whitfield – Americana-UK.com

Emerging Artist Award: Ferris and Sylvester

Legend Award: Lonnie Donegan

Musical Director for the event will be musician and producer Jonathan Wilson.

The Conference starts on 28 January and will be held at Hackney Picture House and Hackney Empire buildings, with performance showcases at Oslo, Moth Club, Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney Church Brewery Bar and the Empire Bar.

The evenings of 28 and 29 January will see 75 artists from UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe showcasing across 8 venues in Hackney, including venues hosted by influential North Carolina label Yep Roc Canada House.

On 27 January Hackney’s OSLO will be host to an extra special Charity Kick-off event – Americana Clash – celebrating the 1978 meeting of Texan roots rocker Joe Ely with London punks the Clash – West Texas Hellraisers Meet East London Hellraisers – and the friendship between the two Joes. Americana Clash will be celebrating 40 years of The Clash’s classic album ‘London Calling’ and will be raising money for Hackney Night Shelter as well as The Joe Strummer Foundation.