The 90th anniversary celebration of the 1927 Bristol Sessions continues throughout August as the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) presents a variety of events for all ages including two film screenings, a free Family Fun Day at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time live broadcast featuring celebrated performers Town Mountain and Jonathan Byrd. The home of the “Big Bang of Country Music” is definitely a can’t-miss stop on your next vacation.
“We are so excited to share the Born in Bristol film with everyone,” says BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “So many locals participated in the filming of this docudrama, and I know they can’t wait to see the final edit. We are also hosting a second film screening this month as part of the Smithsonian’s Things Come Aparttraveling exhibit that just opened. Plus, we have a free Family Fun Day at the museum filled with activities families can enjoy together. Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time show is also a special treat. We urge everyone to experience this live radio broadcast as an audience member— if you can’t be there in person you can listen in online or through our free mobile app!”
All activities listed below take place at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, located in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia, at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way.
Born in Bristol Screenings
August 4 – 6, 2017
Featuring Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Marty Stuart, Sheryl Crow, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, among others, Born in Bristol is a docudrama that explores the impact of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and its lasting influence through artist interviews and visual recreations.
Born in Bristol is a companion piece to the 2015 CD release Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, a reimagining of the historic 1927 Bristol Sessions by some of the biggest names in the music industry, many of whom appear in the film. Orthophonic Joy was produced by multi-Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson and features a historical narrative by Eddie Stubbs, the voice of the Grand Ole Opry.
Filmed on location in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia and Nashville, Born in Bristol was produced by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with support from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and directed by Sundance Award-winner Chusy Haney-Jardine of Plan A Films. Born in Bristol received shortlist consideration at the 2016 Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
Farm and Fun Time
August 10, 2017 at 7 PM ET
Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time hosts Town Mountain and Jonathan Byrd on Thursday, August 10, 2017 in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Town Mountain captured the 2013 IBMA Momentum Awards for Performance Band and Vocalist of the Year (Robert Greer). They are currently on the road promoting their album Southern Crescent produced by the Grammy Award-winning Dirk Powell of Cypress House Studios. Jonathan Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who was recently applauded by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.”
Farm and Fun Time hearkens back to the days of classic live radio and features today’s top traditional country, bluegrass, and old-time artists. Hosted by Kris Truelsen and featuring house band Bill and the Belles, Farm and Fun Time is a celebration of Appalachian music and culture with various segments, live jingles, and featured artists.
Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time is recorded before a live audience and is broadcast live and via webcast. Radio Bristol can be accessed on 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at ListenRadioBristol.org, and through the station’s free mobile app.
Free Family Fun Day
August 26, 2017 from 11 AM – 3 PM ET
Explore maker activities and crafts, including a 3D printer demo presented by the Bristol Public Library, a demo of making art from “found” objects by local artisan Terry Clark, recycling crafts from the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Green Team, and more! This event is free and open to the public, and includes free admission to Things Come Apart, a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 Film Screening
August 31, 2017 at 6 PM ET
The screening of the PBS documentary Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 is companion programming designed to complement Things Come Apart, a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
Things Come Apart Special Exhibit
Now through October 8, 2017
Through extraordinary photographs, disassembled objects and fascinating videos, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday possessions. Images of dozens of objects explore how things are designed and made and how technology has evolved over time.
Things Come Apart embraces key STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts and provides an ideal environment for hands-on experimentation, tinkering, and creative makerspaces. Through support from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, the exhibition includes three hands-on Activity Kits created by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation’s SparkLab.
Things Come Apart is an exhibition organized by Todd McLellan and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).
More information on these events and the Birthplace of Country Music can be found below.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
September 15 – 17, 2017
The award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion isn’t just a music festival. It’s an infectious, three-day music experience along State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia with 20 stages and featuring more than 130 of the best roots music acts performing today. The 17th annual event features headliners Dwight Yoakam, Judah & The Lion, Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester, Son Volt, Rodney Crowell, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Deer Tick, The Infamous Stringdusters, Mark O’Connor ft. the O’Connor Band, The SteelDrivers, Langhorne Slim, Mandolin Orange, and more.
Bristol Rhythm is an annual celebration of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and the roots and branches of Bristol’s rich Appalachian music legacy. In celebration of the 90th anniversary of those legendary recordings, the festival will host a very special tribute performance on the final day of the festival with a number of musicians gathering on one stage for a once-in-a-lifetime performance honoring the “Big Bang” of country music.
Visit BristolRhythm.com for ticket and more festival information.
Event Details Links
August 4-6 – Born in Bristol Screenings
August 10 – Radio Bristol Presents: Farm and Fun Time ft. Town Mountain and Jonathan Byrd
August 26 – Free Family Fun Day
August 31 – Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 Screening
September 15 – 17 – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
About Birthplace of Country Music, Inc.
The Birthplace of Country Music, Inc. was established to honor the famed 1927 Bristol Sessions that were immortalized when Ralph Peer – a record executive from Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey – traveled to Bristol, the twin cities that straddle the Tennessee and Virginia border. Setting up a portable recording studio in the Taylor-Christian Hat Company building, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts, including The Carter Family, known as “The First Family of Country Music,” Jimmie Rodgers, known as “The Father of Country Music,” and Ernest “Pop” Stoneman. These recordings are revered as the keystone sessions of country music. In 1998 Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia was recognized as the official birthplace of country music by the U.S. Congress; the 1927 Bristol Sessions were also recognized by the Library of Congress as one of the 50 most significant sound recording events of all time.
In 2001, the award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion began taking place in Historic Downtown Bristol. The annual three-day music festival showcases the very best in roots music – including Americana, folk-rock, bluegrass, old time, and Piedmont blues. Approximately 50,000 music enthusiasts gather for the event to see more than 130 acts perform on 20 stages each September.
In 2014, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, opened its doors in Bristol’s downtown, a must-see stop on the Americana Music Triangle. The Museum tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how evolving sound technology shaped their success, and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. Through multiple theater experiences, interactive displays, and text and artifacts, 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.
In 2015, BCM began broadcasting Radio Bristol live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Radio Bristol features a low power FM broadcast in the Bristol area, three audio channels streaming different but related genres of music, and one channel streaming video. The streaming stations can be accessed online or by using the free Radio Bristol app on mobile devices.