What is the Birthplace of Country Music?
The Birthplace of Country Music is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to perpetuate, promote, and celebrate Bristol’s rich musical heritage; to educate and engage audiences worldwide regarding the history, impact and legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions from which we derive our name; and to create recognition, opportunities, and economic benefit for our local and regional communities. BCM accomplishes this mission through its three primary branches (Museum, Festival, and Radio), special projects and events, and a multitude of community and educational outreach programs. A brief description of the three primary entities follows:
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum explores how evolving sound technology shaped the success of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and highlights how this rich musical heritage still thrives in the Appalachian region and beyond. Through multiple theater experiences, interactive and stationary displays – along with a variety of educational programs, music performances, and community events – the exciting story of these recording sessions and their far-reaching influence comes alive. Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, are featured throughout the year in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The museum also houses a collection of related objects, photographs, ephemera, and a digital archive.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
The annual music Festival began in 2001 and has been a part of BCM since December, 2012. A 2015 Economic Impact Study showed that visitors to the Festival from outside the region had a $16.1 million impact on the region. The Festival generally hosts over 130 bands on 20 stages in downtown Bristol during the third weekend in September. Attendance has grown to approximately 45,000. Among its many accolades the Festival has been named as one of Rolling Stone’s “Top 20 Tours and Festivals”, and has won a Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association.
The station went live broadcasting from the Museum on August 27, 2015. Radio Bristol features a low power FM channel, three channels streaming different but related genres of music, and one channel streaming video. Streaming stations can be accessed online or using the Radio Bristol App on mobile devices. Radio Bristol is garnering attention from radio, cultural, and business organizations for its unique and innovative approach to history, music, and media. The station has listeners throughout the United States and in more than 140 countries.
Independently, each of these branches strives for excellence in bringing the arts to wide audiences. Together, the entities interact synergistically through collaboration, mutual support, and the ability to bring innovative thinking to important arts programming. The result is fulfillment of the BCM Mission and progress toward its Vision.
The Birthplace of Country Music seeks to perpetuate, promote, and celebrate Bristol’s rich musical heritage; to educate and engage audiences worldwide regarding the history, impact and legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions; and to create recognition, opportunities, and economic benefit for our local and regional communities.
The Museum, Festival and Radio entities that comprise the Birthplace of Country Music organization are all successful, respected, popular, and acclaimed, and are having a significantly positive impact on Bristol and its surrounding region—both economically and in creating recognition of Bristol’s place in the history of music.