BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (Aug, 30, 2023) – Nickel Creek, Margo Price, and Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers headline Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Sept. 8-10 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va. – the town where the 1927 Bristol Sessions famously sparked the “big bang of country music.” Voted among the top five music festivals in the country by USA Today 10Best readers in 2023, the jam-packed, three-day event is honoring its heritage by serving 133 sets of live music and entertainment on 14 stages.
The massive lineup is comprised of 99 acts including Watchhouse, The Mavericks, 49 Winchester, Larkin Poe, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Allison Russell, Sierra Hull, Darrell Scott’s Electrifying Band, Amythyst Kiah, Brent Cobb, Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country, Oliver Wood Trio, Alison Brown, Jim Lauderdale, Carlene Carter, Adia Victoria, Sons of the East, and Illiterate Light, to name a few.
Bristol Rhythm has a knack for catching stars on the rise; buzzworthy acts on the bill this year include TK & The Holy Know-Nothings, Twisted Pine, Tommy Prine, Arcy Drive, Palmyra, Happy Landing, Erin & The Wildfire, and Nigel Wearne.
The festival will wrap with a Super Set finale by 49 Winchester on Sunday at the Cumberland Square Park Stage, featuring a wide range of special guests soon to be announced…stay tuned!
Other festival events of note include Hoot and Holler, a Roanoke, Va.-based storytelling collective that will bring its stimulating live stage show to Bristol Rhythm for the first time at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 10, on the Theatre Bristol stage.
WBCM Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time variety show, hosted by Kris Truelsen and his house band Bill and the Belles, will broadcast before a live festival audience from the historic Paramount Bristol stage on Saturday of the event with special guests to be announced. The popular program is syndicated for television on Blue Ridge PBS, East Tennessee PBS, and PBS North Carolina.
The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail will offer special music programming at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Friday and Saturday with traditional acts Mustard Cutters, The Loose Strings Band, Ferrum College’s Orchestra Appalachia, Whitetop Mountain Band, and Addie Levy.
Bring your mat and join BristolYOGA at Cumberland Square Park at 9 a.m., Sept. 9, for a little self-love and zen; festival wristband is required to participate.
Families are invited to attend a free Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Children’s Day event, which is held outside festival grounds at Anderson Park, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sept. 9. There will be games, crafts, and entertainment by Theatre Bristol Playtime, Syndey Gray, Art Woodward, the Bristol Academy of Music, Bristol Ballet‘s 75th Anniversary Love Letter to Appalachia, Fairmount Elementary School‘s Redhawk Musicians, and Junior Appalachian Musician’s JAM Kids.
Festival ticket holders and their children are invited to join in the fun, family-friendly activities in Bristol Rhythm’s newly expanded Kid Zone this year, located on State Street adjacent to The Sessions Hotel, 2-8 p.m., Sept. 9, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sept. 10.
Festival goers are also encouraged to check out the special exhibit “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Curated by a women-led content team, the exhibit highlights the many women who have been integral to the early beginnings of the genre that pre-dates bluegrass and laid the foundation for country music. From Maybelle and Sara Carter, Ola Belle Reed and Elizabeth Cotten to Amythyst Kiah, Sheila Kay Adams, Alice Gerrard and Hazel Dickens, the exhibit sheds light on the hidden heroines of the genre and those who are carrying on those early traditions and making them their own. Full admission tickets (including the special exhibit), along with tickets to “I’ve Endured” on its own, are sold separately at the museum, located just steps away from festival gates.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts On the Road Artmobile, a state-of-the-art museum and education studio, will be parked across from the museum all weekend for festivarians and the public to tour for free, festival wristbands are not required. The mobile experience features the exhibit “Revealing and Obscuring Identity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection,” an exciting exhibition of paintings, photographs, and prints exploring portraiture through a variety of periods, cultures, and styles. Kids and kids at heart may also take a break with fun coloring and activity sheets at the Artmobile.
The drawing for the 5th annual Bristol Sessions Super Raffle will be held outside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum at 12-4 p.m., Sept. 10. The largest fundraiser of the year for the museum, winners will take home up to $250K in cash and big prizes. Tickets are selling fast, so don’t delay – purchase yours while they last. Participants do not have to be present to win. Visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org for prize details and to purchase.
A production of the nonprofit Birthplace of Country Music and presented by Ballad Health, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is shockingly affordable given the massive amount of talent on the bill. Weekend passes are a mere $140 ($165 at the gate), day passes are $70 ($80 at the gate), and children 12 and under are welcome free of charge. Festival goers are encouraged to download Bristol Rhythm’s free mobile app prior to arrival so they can create their own schedule, set up alerts, and get the most up-to-date schedule changes and notices. For passes, lineup, and more information visit BristolRhythm.com.