BCM Counting on Heroes and Raffle This Fall - The Birthplace of Country Music
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BCM Counting on Heroes and Raffle This Fall

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (August 3, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has experienced its share of obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit was forced to close the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for nearly three months between March and June at the onset of social distancing, and last month BCM announced the cancellation of its 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, which was originally slated for September. 

“Despite the obstacles and lost income, BCM is determined to come back leaner and stronger as an organization, but we are asking for help,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “We are determined to stay positive and keep working toward solutions, and that means directing our focus on fundraising.”

The Bristol Sessions Super Raffle and the 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes campaign are two ways you can support BCM, and each offers some pretty sweet incentives for pitching in. With the purchase of a $100 Super Raffle ticket, you get two chances to win up to $250,000 in cash and prizes. Only 5,000 tickets will be sold, which increases your chances of walking away with up to $25,000 in cash, a 2020 Toyota Takoma, a 7-Day all-inclusive trip to Jamaica, and much, much more. Most of these big prizes were obtained from local businesses in partnership with BCM, and proceeds will help the Birthplace of Country Music Museum’s recovery efforts. Visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org to purchase tickets and see the long list of impressive prizes. The drawing will be held Sunday, September 13, 2020; ticket holders do not have to be present to win.

The 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes campaign is calling on the community to donate $75 or more to the Festival Recovery Fund to help recoup losses from this year’s cancelled event. Donors will be listed as 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes on a permanent display in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, receive a Special Edition 20th anniversary poster signed by the artist, a discount on tickets for 2021, and more. Donations of over $250 will receive all of the above, a one-year membership to the organization’s 1927 Society, and other festival merchandise. All donations are tax-deductible, and 2020 tickets may be “donated” back to BCM to receive incentives. Visit BristolRhythmHero.com for more details.

Every effort is being made to contact ticket purchasers for the cancelled 2020 festival, but it is essential that each buyer fill out the intent form at BristolRhythm.com to let BCM know how they would like to transfer their tickets. New wristbands will need to be issued to those folks for 2021 if they wish to carry them over to next year. The 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival has been rescheduled for September 10-12, 2021 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee.

Now that the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has re-opened, BCM is taking every measure to protect the health and safety of guests, volunteers, and staff. Masks are required by everyone in the museum, and guests are issued hand-sanitizer and sterilized styluses for use on the touchscreen exhibits. Heightened cleaning practices and social distancing are also part of the daily routine, with no more than 100 people allowed in the building at one time and tours spaced apart for safety. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior to their visit at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

Additionally, the special exhibit Real Folk: Passing on Trades & Traditions through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program has been extended through August 30 for anyone who may have missed it. The exhibit explores all forms of Virginia’s expressive culture – from those found in the Appalachian hills and at the Chesapeake shore to new immigrant traditions brought to the state – including letterpress printing, mandolin making, African-American gospel singing, quilting, old-time banjo playing, Mexican folk dancing, classical Iranian and Persian music, country ham curing, and more.

The museum also offers a variety of virtual experiences and resources, including exhibit-focused videos, our Student Activity Center with lots of fun activities for children, Radio Bristol Book Club, the “Listen While I Tell” BCM blog, and more, online at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org/bcm-at-home. And on Tuesday, August 18, 3:30-5:00pm the museum will be hosting a virtual volunteer training via Zoom. Those interested in participating in this training should contact volunteercoordinator@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org

Great news for fans of WBCM Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time variety show! BCM has announced that the popular program has been syndicated on UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and East Tennessee PBS, reaching 100 counties and 13 million households across the state of North Carolina and 30 counties in parts of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

“We are thrilled to see Farm and Fun Time expand and reach new audiences,” said Radio Bristol producer and show host Kris Truelsen. “Since the launch of this program five years ago, we had a distant goal of syndicating it. To see that dream become a reality is truly remarkable. So much love and hard work has gone into creating Farm and Fun Time; it feels great to see people respond so positively to what our team has built. We expect more growth and are setting our sights on national syndication.”

Farm and Fun Time joined the programming lineup at Blue Ridge PBS in Roanoke, Virginia back in April. Combined, Farm and Fun Time potentially reaches nearly 20 million viewers in a parts of a five-state coverage area. Farm and Fun Time can still be accessed live online at ListenRadioBristol.org and viewed on the station’s Facebook Live once a month. Check online for local listings in your market; Farm and Fun Time will air on UNC-TV in North Carolina at 9:00 p.m. EST on Saturday evenings. 

Congratulations are also in order for Radio Bristol’s Kris Truelsen on his recent nomination for the Momentum Award for Industry Involvement from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), which recognizes both musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who are making significant contributions to or are having a significant influence upon bluegrass music.

Tune in to WBCM’s Radio Bristol Book Club on August 27 at 11:00 a.m. and explore The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by author Wendy Welch.The book chronicles the true-life journey of Welch and her husband amid their escape from a toxic work environment to a struggling mining town where they opened their own bookstore. Customers like Bob the Mad Irishman and The Lady Who Liked Romances stop by the shop looking for the kind of interactive wisdom Kindles don’t spark, and they find friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book in good company. The book club discussion will be followed with an interview with the author. The broadcast and archived shows can be accessed at ListenRadioBristol.org
For a complete list of events and a comprehensive look at everything the Birthplace of Country Music has to offer, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

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