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Bristol Rhythm 2021 Artist Schedule Announced

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (July 6, 2021) – Nearly as anticipated as its annual lineup announcement, the schedule release for the 20th anniversary celebration of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has been announced – along with the release of single-day tickets to the award-winning music festival. Presented by the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), also the parent nonprofit of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and WBCM Radio Bristol, Bristol Rhythm will be held this September 10-12 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia after COVID-19 forced the organization to take a gap year in 2020.

“Everyone at BCM is thrilled to be in the final stages of planning for what promises to be a memorable Reunion!” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross at a press conference held at the museum. “Very soon, we will be dancing together again on State Street to some great live music – and for that, we are truly grateful.”

Bristol Rhythm is a celebration of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, an event in music history that has become known as the “big bang” of country music. The Sessions included the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, and brought country music to the mainstream. The Bristol Sessions continue to make a lasting impact on the music of today, and Bristol is designated by Congress as the birthplace of country music.

In October 2001, the first Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion was held on State Street (where Tennessee and Virginia meet) with a few thousand people in attendance. The festival has grown to receive more than 45,000 visitors from all over the world. Today, as Bristol Rhythm celebrates 20 years, downtown Bristol is a vibrant and revitalized music destination that features beautiful boutique hotels, breweries, restaurants, galleries, shops, and high-end loft spaces. The festival’s growth and the opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum have played a major role in the development of this historic downtown..

“Since we’ve reclaimed and embraced our rich music history and culture, we have grown and thrived,” Ross reflects. “BCM and the festival are proud to have played a role in the revitalization of our great cities, and it’s part of our mission to continue to be an economic driver for our community.”

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2021 boasts amazing talent for it’s 20th anniversary festival: Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, Blackberry Smoke, Dr. Dog, Yola, The SteelDrivers, Rhonda Vincent, and Hayes Carll lead the stellar lineup of approximately 100 acts performing this September. Other notable performances by The Steel Woods, Son Little, Lonesome River Band, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Amythyst Kiah, Ian Noe, Town Mountain, Katie Pruitt, Jim Lauderdale, Illiterate Light, and Morgan Wade will also be part of the milestone event.

In addition to the artists’ schedule, BCM announced a special kick-off concert by Cruz Contreras & Friends to be held on Thursday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the museum’s Performance Theater. Tickets to the concert are sold separately.

Bristol Rhythm hits the ground running with Friday night performances by Tanya Tucker, Yola, The SteelDrivers, and Hayes Carll. Amythyst Kiah and 49 Winchester are also on deck. Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time live variety show, hosted by Kris Truelsen and his house band Bill and the Belles, will return to the stage at the historic Paramount with special guests Madison Cunningham, Sierra Ferrell, and Nora Brown. Music will begin Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Single-day tickets for Friday are $50 plus tax/fees.

Per usual, Saturday at Bristol Rhythm is jam-packed with artists starting at noon and playing into the midnight hour. Blackberry Smoke, Dr. Dog, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Town Mountain, The Steel Woods, Ian Noe, and Illiterate Light are all slated to perform on that day, interspersed with American Aquarium, The New Respects, Folk Soul Revival, Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats, and Annabelle’s Curse, among many others. A special tribute to John Prine is also planned for that evening on the Near Moore Stage, featuring members of Sol Driven Train, Big Daddy Love, and Yarn. Single-day tickets for Saturday are $70 plus tax/fees.

The Bristol Rhythm weekend ends on a high note Sunday evening with festival headliner Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit closing out the 20th anniversary event. Other Sunday performances of note include Rhonda Vincent, Charley Crockett, Son Little, Morgan Wade, Early James, and Scythian. Single-day tickets for Sunday are $60 plus tax/fees.

The festival’s annual commemorative poster artwork was also unveiled at the press conference with artist Matt Bridges in attendance. A native of Hereford, England, Bridges has worked in 3D design for the past two decades. After meeting his wife, who is from Chattanooga, the couple settled in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and later moved to Clarksville. Bridges has worked on a number of long-term contracts as a freelancer with companies such as Gulf Oil and Hertz, but it was his work designing a 3D guitar prototype for a luthier in California that led the High Road Agency to recommend the artist to BCM for this project. Bridges and his wife are currently looking to relocate back to our region.

“It was an honor to be able to use my 20 years of design experience in creating the 20th anniversary commemorative poster for Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion,” said Bridges. “The festival is a beloved tradition for my family here in East Tennessee.”

In keeping with tradition, BCM presented the mayors of Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia with framed prints of the poster. A special 20th anniversary poster depicting images of poster artwork from the past ten years is also available. Both prints may be purchased at The Museum Store at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and online at Bristol Rhythm.com.

When Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion was cancelled in 2020, a fundraising campaign was held to help ease the financial burden of the loss of the event. Hundreds of “Festival Heroes” made donations in order to ensure a festival would take place in 2021. Those Festival Heroes are now honored permanently inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum with a plaque bearing their names. If you are among this generous group of Heroes, your free Festival Heroes poster is now available for pick up at The Museum Store or you can send an email to info@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org to have it shipped to your home free of charge.

A few other important notes about this year’s festival were revealed during the press conference, including a plea for volunteers. Hundreds of shifts in a variety of areas are still needed for Bristol Rhythm 2021. Applications are up on the festival website at BristolRhythm.com. Each volunteer receives a single-day ticket to the festival and a Volunteer t-shirt for each shift they work.

“It takes hundreds of volunteers to make our event run smoothly,” said Bristol Rhythm Festival Committee Chair Terri Davis. “Each and every one of them has played a major role in the success and longevity of our festival…We are working hard to make this 20th anniversary one that will keep you coming back year after year.”

Other important items to note:

  • Anyone who hasn’t yet exchanged their 2020 festival wristband for a 2021 version will need to do so as soon as possible. The 2020 wristbands are invalid and will not allow entry into festival gates this year. Send an email to info@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org to make the switch. If you ordered 2021 wristbands but have yet to receive them, they will be shipped in August.
  • Slots for food and craft vendors at Bristol Rhythm 2021 have been filled for this year, and vendors have been notified. Those interested in applying for 2022 will be able to do so at the first of the year.
  • In support of the festival’s Green Team initiative, the annual Festival Guide booklet will be replaced with a printed pocket schedule and map that will be distributed in the Bristol Herald Courier and the Washington County News prior to the festival. The schedule and map will also be distributed at festival gates.

“We felt our resources are best put to use by producing a quality mobile app where changes can be updated at a moment’s notice and without waste,” stated Ross. “We are encouraging everyone to download the festival app for the latest schedule changes and updates before they get to the festival.”

The festival mobile app will launch in coming weeks. For now, fans will find updated schedules on the website at BristolRhythm.com.

In keeping with health and safety guidelines provided by the state of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Virginia, visitors at the festival will not be required to wear masks or show proof of vaccination status upon entry at Bristol Rhythm.

“The decision will be left up to the individual and what they feel most comfortable doing,” said Ross. “We trust that anyone who is feeling under the weather or showing symptoms of COVID-19 will stay home and get the rest they need to stay healthy and not put others at risk.”

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion will also bring back its 10K Run-5K Run/Walk, Children’s Day, and Yoga in the Park activities for its 20th anniversary, and the Bristol Sessions Super Raffle winners will be announced on the Sunday of the event at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum between the hours of noon to 4:00 p.m. For raffle prize information and to purchase raffle tickets, visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festivalgoers are encouraged to take some time during the event to tour the interactive Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, to learn more about the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and the region’s rich music culture. The museum is located within the festival footprint. The special exhibit Our Living Past: Platinum Portraits of Southern Music Makers, on loan from the Music Maker Relief Foundation, will also be on display. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on the Road Artmobile – a traveling exhibit and education studio – will be open to Bristol Rhythm attendees free of charge on Friday, September 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Saturday September 11 from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will be closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

For artist schedules, festival wristbands, parking and shuttle passes, or to shop for festival merchandise and find other festival information, visit BristolRhythm.com.

Celebrate Bristol Rhythm Online Events Sept. 10-13

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (Sept. 2, 2020) – With the cancellation of this year’s Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion came the promise of a few “surprises” on what would have been festival weekend – and the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM, parent nonprofit of the annual event) is making good on it. 

Celebrating Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Live Stream will take place September 10-13, 2020 with virtual, live concert events that include Jim Lauderdale, Acoustic Syndicate, Amythyst Kiah, Morgan Wade, and Martha Spencer, a WBCM Radio Bristol Farm and Fun Time show, flashback performances from festivals past, and the Bristol Sessions Super Raffle drawing.  

“It’s important for us to do something to commemorate the Festival this year even if it can’t be in person,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “This would have been our 20th anniversary, a milestone. We can’t let that go. We also felt that our community and our staff really needed something positive to help fill that void.”

The schedule for Celebrating Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Live Stream is as follows:

Thursday, September 10 – 7:00 p.m.
Kick off the weekend with a Farm and Fun Time show from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, featuring host band Bill & The Belles – artists to include Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and 49 Winchester.

Farm and Fun Time is presented by Eastman Credit Union and with support from Holston Medical Group.

Friday, September 11 – 7:00 p.m.
Join us Friday night as we partner with the Virginia Tourism Corporation to celebrate Virginia Music Heritage Month. This show will feature music from Amythyst Kiah, Morgan Wade, and Martha Spencer. The night will be filled with live music, announcements about the 2021 Festival line-up, and more!

Friday evening is presented by Virginia is for Lovers and
Holston Medical Group.

Saturday, September 12 – 1:00 p.m.
Festival Flashbacks – Join us on Saturday afternoon to watch some past Festival performances. Past shows will include Carson Peters & Iron Mountain, The War and Treaty, Mike Farris, Folk Soul Revival, Jerry Douglas and the Earls of Leicester, and the Way Down Wanderers.

The Festival Flashback is presented by Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.

Saturday, September 12 – 7:00 p.m. Kick off Saturday night with two live performances with Acoustic Syndicate and Jim Lauderdale. We will also celebrate the incredible support we have received from our 2020 Festival Heroes, Downtown Bristol community, and our sponsors. We’ll even reveal additional artists that will be playing at the 2021 festival. 

Saturday evening is presented by Holston Medical Group.

Sunday, September 13 – 12:00 p.m. Join us for the Bristol Sessions Super Raffle Drawing as we give away $250,000 in prizes. 

To view the Live Stream tune into the following links:

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Facebook Page
Radio Bristol Facebook Page
Birthplace of Country Music Facebook Page

YouTube
Radio Bristol YouTube Channel

Website
BristolRhythm.com

In addition to the live stream, BCM will wrap up the 2020 Festival Hero Campaign. Festival Heroes are patrons who 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, plus 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.

The 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival has been rescheduled for September 10-12, 2021 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee.

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, Blackberry Smoke Will Return as Headliners to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in 2021

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (August 6, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has confirmed top headliners Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, and Blackberry Smoke will perform at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2021. All three acts were slated to perform at the festival’s 20th annual event previously scheduled for this September, but the 2020 festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We’re making good on our promise to bring back as many artists as we can from our 2020 lineup to perform next year,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “Getting our main headliners back is our first priority, and we are thrilled to have our top three acts back on the roster in 2021. It’s all subject to the artists’ availability, and we are so excited that they will be joining us next year.”

BCM is focusing on negotiations with all of its 2020’s top tier headliners while trying to recoup losses from this year’s cancelled event. The funds raised this year from the 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero campaign will help in planning next year’s event. 

“Though we have visitors from all over the world, we are still very much a community-supported event,” added Ross. “We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to our Heroes campaign so far, and we are looking forward to celebrating our 20th Anniversary in 2021.”

Ross notes that more artist names will be released in the coming months. In the meantime, 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, plus 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.

It is essential that each 2020 ticket holder fill out the intent form atBristolRhythm.com to let BCM know how they would like to transfer their tickets. New wristbands will need to be issued to those ticket purchasers 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.

For up-to-date information and to choose the Bristol Rhythm ticket option that works best for you, visit BristolRhythm.com.. 

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.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2020 Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (July 6, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), parent organization of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol, announced in a press conference today a decision to cancel its 20th annual festival this year in the wake of COVID-19. The annual event, slated for September 11-13 of this year, has been put on hold until 2021. BCM Executive Director Leah Ross revealed that the organization’s Board of Directors voted in a unanimous decision on the measure.
“For the Birthplace of Country Music, this is the saddest day our organization has ever had to face,” said Leah Ross, BCM Executive Director. “The decision to cancel this year’s Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival has been extremely difficult for our Board, our Festival Committee, and our staff. Doing so on what would have been our 20th anniversary event is even more devastating.”

“We know how deeply our decision will affect our fans, artists, volunteers, and community, both emotionally and economically, but we value your lives and the safety of your families above all. You have helped us grow this beautiful community into one of the most extraordinary and unique cities in the country, and for that we are so grateful.”

“Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is also one of the largest fundraisers for the Birthplace of Country Music. Moving forward, we humbly ask for your help, your kindness, and your understanding as our organization rises to face a substantial financial hardship.”

BCM is working now to recover financial loss accumulated after the three-month closure of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate located in Historic Downtown Bristol, which reopened in June with stringent social distancing guidelines, including face coverings, and heightened cleaning protocols in place. Upon reopening, the organization announced its annual Bristol Sessions Super Raffle fundraiser for the museum to help mitigate that loss. The Raffle drawing, slated to be held at the museum on September 13 from noon to 4:00 p.m, on what would have been the last day of this year’s festival, will still take place. Participants in the Raffle do not have to be present to win. 

“For those of you that have purchased tickets to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, we understand that holding on to them may have been a hardship during this time for you as well,” said Ross. “For that reason, we are offering three options with the return of your 2020 festival ticket, including the choice for a refund. It is our hope that the majority of you will choose to hold on to your tickets for next year to help ease the financial burden now placed on our Festival. The cancellation of the event has significant repercussions to our organization and we need your help.”

2020 Festival ticket holders have the option to donate all or a portion of their ticket cost back to the festival to help ensure the same quality event next year. Ross explained that every effort is being made to keep the same lineup, if artists’ schedules allow. Ticket holders may also choose to defer tickets until September 2021 to avoid any potential increase in price next year, or receive a refund.  

All donations will go to the 2020 Festival Recovery Fund, with incentives for those who donate their tickets. Anyone who makes a one-time donation of $75 to $249 will become a 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero. This is how it works:

Donate between $75 and $249 in 2020 Festival Ticket Purchases or make a cash donation of at least $75 to Birthplace of Country Music, Inc. for the Festival and receive:

  • Recognition on a permanent plaque in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum as a 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero
  • Recognition on 2021 Festival website
  • Recognition as a 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero in the Festival Program Guide
  • A discount of 10% on 2021 Festival tickets equal to the number of tickets donated or for every $100 donated
  • Special Edition 20th Anniversary Poster – Poster printed in foil and signed by artist
  • Name included in a recognition ad in the Bristol Herald Courier

Donate more than $250 in Ticket Purchases or Cash to BCM for the Festival and receive:

  • Everything listed above
  • 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero t-shirt
  • 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Hero Sticker
  • 1 Year Membership to the 1927 Society

The deadline for donations is August 14, 2020.

A Frequently Asked Questions section has been added to the Festival’s website at BristolRhythm2020.com to help ticket holders navigate the new donation incentives and refund policies. The 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has been rescheduled for September 10-12, 2021 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia.

December Events at BCM

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (November 27, 2018) – Christmas time in Historic Downtown Bristol is a truly magical experience. From the annual Christmas parade to the beautifully adorned shop windows all decked out for the season, there’s an abundance of hometown warmth and holiday cheer. While the kids are out of school, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and take in For All The World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rightsa nationally touring exhibition from NEH on the Road. For All The World To See examines the role that visual culture played in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality in America from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and historic artifacts. It also traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern Civil Rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

The content of For All the World to See addresses a wide range of issues and includes some images that may be too sensitive for very young children.

Visitors to For All The World To See will also encounter a supplementary display focused on local African American educational history, thanks to the City of Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol, Virginia Public Schools, the Slater School Alumni Association, and the Douglass School Alumni Association. Slater and Douglass Schools were built during the time of segregation as centers for educating African American youth in the region. Some children were bused in from as far away as Saltville and Glade Spring, Virginia to attend Douglass High School in Bristol. Photographs and artifacts from both schools are displayed alongside the special exhibit. Radio Bristol, the in-house radio station that broadcasts from the museum, will also feature 15-20 minute segments during itsOn the Sunny Side program, featuring stories and perspectives from members of our region’s African American community. The station broadcasts in the Bristol area on 100.1 FM, online atListenRadioBristol.org, and through the Radio Bristol mobile app. Finally, an event entitled Community Conversations About Race: A Moderated Panel Discussion will be held at the museum on December 4 at 6:30 p.m. as additional programming For All The World To See.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum may seem like an unusual place to explore topics like civil rights, but the museum’s temporary exhibition gallery gives us the opportunity to usher in a variety of special exhibits to Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee that may not otherwise reach this region. This exhibition has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts AllianceFor All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights was organized by The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) also presents Richmond, Virginia’s Andrew Alli, accompanied by Josh Small, in concert on two separate nights and in two locations. On Friday, December 7, Alli will perform at the museum, and on Saturday, December 8, you’ll find him at The Inn at Wise in Wise, Virginia. Advance tickets to the show are $10; they will be on sale for $15 at the door. To reserve tickets visit the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

Monthly Community Jams continue on Saturday, December 15, bringing musicians together for a good, old-fashioned jam session. Community Jams take place the third Saturday of each month in the Learning Center at the museum. These sessions are free and open to the public—all ages and experiences welcome!

Radio Bristol’s popular Farm and Fun Time Christmas Spectacular on December 20 featuring The Church Sisters, Carolina Blue, Sally & George, and house band Bill & the Belles may be sold out, but you don’t need to miss a note! The show will air in its entirety on Radio Bristol’s Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m. EST.

 

Discount Bristol Rhythm ’19 Weekend Passes on Sale Black Friday

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2019
Weekend Passes On Sale Black Friday

Annual Music Festival’s Deepest Discount of the Year

Bristol, Va.-Tenn. (November 2, 2018) – Every September in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia, a celebration of the twin cities’ music history fills the streets for a long weekend of great music. The event is Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival that honors the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on the soundtrack of our lives.

Bristol Rhythm has hosted an astounding lineup of musicians from across genres over the years, including Old Crow Medicine Show, Emmylou Harris, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dr. Ralph Stanley, The Indigo Girls, the Drive-By Truckers, and Buddy Guy. It’s the most anticipated music festival in the region for good reason, in addition to being located in the heart of the birthplace of country music.

Just in time for the holidays, early bird weekend passes to next year’s festival will go on sale on Black Friday, November 23, 2018 for $75, the lowest price you’ll see all year. The sale ends Monday, November 26 at midnight. Everyone is urged to take advantage of this discount and save! Deeply discounted weekend passes are available exclusively online at BristolRhythm.com and at The Museum Store inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, located at 101 Country Music Way, Bristol, Virginia.

Dates for the 19th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival are scheduled for September 20-22, 2019 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee. Click here for ticket link.

 

Bristol Rhythm Earns International Awards

 

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (October 2, 2018) – On the heels of its 18th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion celebration, the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) is proud to announce that the music festival has earned three awards from the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) for its 2017 event.

IFEA awards are revered as major achievements in the events industry, placing Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in competition with events across the globe, including festivals in Ireland, Australia, South Korea, China, Canada, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The festival achieved Gold in the category of Best Event Video Promotion for its 2017 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Recap Video, produced by Loch & Key Productions of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Bristol Rhythm also earned IFEA Gold for Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement for its 17th annual printed Festival Guide; the pocket-sized magazine that is distributed by the Bristol Herald Courier and at the festival each year. The Festival Guide was produced in partnership with The High Road Agency of the Tri-Cities Tenn./Va.

Additionally, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion achieved Silver in the category of Best Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management Plan for an Event.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the IFEA for our efforts in making Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion the best festival it can be for our attendees and for our community,” said Leah Ross, BCM Executive Director. BCM is the parent nonprofit organization of Bristol Rhythm, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and Radio Bristol. “Our staff and volunteers work very hard each year to refine our procedures and book great music. Any accolades we receive is a reflection of their efforts and dedication.”

In 2016 Bristol Rhythm received the Bronze Grand Pinnacle for the overall festival, among the highest of honors from the IFEA.

Dates for the 19th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival are scheduled for September 20-22, 2019 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee. Early bird weekend passes will go on sale Black Friday, November 23, 2018.

That’s a Wrap! Bristol Rhythm ’18

The Birthplace of Country Music’s Premier Music Festival
Looks Ahead to Next Year

As the final notes of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion were played to tens of thousands of fans in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia, home of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, plans for next year’s festival were already under way. Though the final attendance numbers aren’t yet available, we can tell you that this year’s festival was a big success for the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and Radio Bristol.

“We are always sad to see Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion weekend come to a close,” said Leah Ross, BCM Executive Director. “What a weekend! We’ve taken notes on bands we’d like to invite back next year, and we’re looking at ways we can improve the fan experience and logistics. Our 18th annual festival was a great success with an amazing lineup of talent. We are so grateful to our great cities of Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia for all their support. And we also want to thank our sponsors, our hundreds of volunteers, and our staff for their dedication. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Dates for the 19th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion have been set for September 20-22, 2019. Discounted weekend passes for the event will go on sale Black Friday, November 29, 2018.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2018

Celebrating 18 Years in the Birthplace of Country Music

Very soon, around 45,000 music lovers from all over the world will gather on State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia for the 18th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival—a thrilling event that honors the twin cities’ unique history as the place where the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions were recorded. The success of those recordings revolutionized the country music industry, an occurrence referred to by scholars as the “big bang” of country music. Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia is recognized by Congress as the “birthplace of country music” due to the impact of those influential sessions.

Old Crow Medicine Show, Railroad Earth, and the Taj Mahal Trio will headline an eclectic roster of talent that satisfies every musical palate. The SteelDrivers, Marcus King Band, Twin Peaks, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Asleep at the Wheel, Ruen Brothers, Dale Watson & His Lonestars, Old 97’s, The Waybacks, and Scott Miller & the Commonwealth are just a few acts on Bristol Rhythm’s mammoth roster—a lineup curated to honor the roots and far-reaching branches of the 1927 Bristol Sessions. Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, Barns Courtney has withdrawn from the lineup; The Felice Brothers will step in to fill that set.

“Our organization’s mission is at the core of everything we do, and that is to promote and celebrate Bristol’s vast music legacy,” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and Radio Bristol. “You’ll find the diverse lineup at Bristol Rhythm will reflect the history of our region’s music culture and just how much that music continues to influence the artists of today—on an international scale.”

Over the course of the 3-day weekend, Bristol Rhythm will host 140+ acts of live music on 20 stages scattered throughout downtown—some located outdoors, some tucked away inside local venues and restaurants. The music is nothing short of first-class, but its setting in Historic Downtown Bristol makes this festival truly special for visitors. Contained within a few short blocks and split in half by the state line along State Street, the quaint area is hopping with locally-owned craft breweries, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, shops, and landmarks that add a unique charm to this authentic music experience.

Bristol is also home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. This world-class museum tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and its impact on the music of today through engaging film experiences and exhibits, interactive touchscreens, soundscapes, and much more. Everyone is encouraged to take in the full tour, including the new festival-themed special exhibit Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion: Through Your Eyes, a juried selection of photographs taken by festival goers. Festival wristband holders may tour the entire museum at the discounted rate of $10 during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. The museum is located just outside festival gates; you do not need to purchase a festival wristband to tour the museum.

Radio Bristol will take its popular live variety show Farm and Fun Time to the Paramount Theatre Stage during Bristol Rhythm. Featuring Radio Bristol host Kris Truelsen and house band Bill and the Belles, this throwback to vintage radio is part music, part storytelling, and a whole lotta fun in-between! Special musical guests include Dale Watson & His Lonestars, Ruen Brothers, and a surprise act has just been announced—The War & Treaty. Only Bristol Rhythm wristband holders will be admitted to see Farm and Fun Time at the beautifully restored Paramount, but fans at home don’t have to miss the show. Farm and Fun Time will be aired in its entirety on Radio Bristol’s Facebook Live. Radio Bristol will also broadcast live from The Cameo Theater Stage all weekend long. If it isn’t convenient to watch the broadcasts on the station’s Facebook page, Radio Bristol is available internationally online at ListenRadioBristol.org and through their free mobile app.

BCM will host free screenings of the film Born in Bristol: The Untold Story of the Birth of Country Music during Bristol Rhythm. The docudrama explores the impact of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and its lasting influence through artist interviews and visual recreations. Many interviews seen in the feature were filmed during recording sessions for Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions CD project. Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Eric Church, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Marty Stuart, Sheryl Crow, and Doyle Lawson, among others, appear in the film. Born in Bristol will be shown each day of the festival in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Festival wristbands are not required for this event and it is free and open to the public.

Bristol Rhythm added a second show to its Thursday night Kick-Off Concert with Cruz Contreras, the dynamic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and front man for The Black Lillies. The 7:00 p.m. show is sold out, but you may still catch the artist that evening at 9:00 p.m. in the intimate Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Click here to order tickets.

In addition to the stellar lineup of artists at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, you’ll find a number of activities and events you may participate in during the festival including the free Children’s Day event for families. Registration for the popular Bluegrass Jam Camp and 5K Road Race/Walk is under way.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion will be held September 21–23, 2018. Here is a list of other festival-related events with times and locations:

5K Road Race/Walk – Registration required
Saturday, September 22 | 8:00 a.m.
Race day registration | 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.
Anderson Park

Bluegrass Jam Camp – Pre-registration required
September 18–21 (Tuesday Through Friday)
Tuesday | 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday-Friday | 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Jubilee House Retreat Center
Abingdon, Virginia

Born in Bristol: The Untold Story of the Birth of Country Music – Free and open to the public
Film Screening – Run Time: 54 mins.
Friday, September 21 | 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 22 | 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 23 | 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m

Bristol Rhythm Kick-Off Concert ft. Cruz Contreras
Thursday, September 20
7:00 p.m. (Sold Out)
9:00 p.m. – Tickets $25
Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Children’s Day – NEW LOCATION! Free and open to the public
Saturday, September 22 | 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Anderson Park

Guided Jams – Festival wristband required
September 22 & 23
Saturday 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Special Exhibits Gallery
Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm and Fun Time – Festival wristband required
Saturday, September 22 | 8:30 p.m.
Paramount Stage

Yoga Rocks! – NEW LOCATION, must have festival wristband to participate
Saturday, September 22 | 11:00 a.m.
Cumberland Square Park

It takes around 800 volunteers to make Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion the award-winning event is has become, and the festival is actively recruiting volunteers. Each volunteer receives a single day pass to the festival for each 4-hour shift they work and a festival volunteer t-shirt. Volunteers are asked to fill out an online registration form here.

Attendees are encouraged to download the free Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival app prior to arrival to ensure proper download. With the app you will receive up-to-the-minute scheduling changes, announcements, have the ability to create your own custom schedule, and receive alerts so you don’t miss your favorite bands.

Weekend passes to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion are currently $110 and will increase to $135 at the gate. Single day passes for Friday are $45, $60 for Saturday, and $40 for a Sunday pass. Children 12 and under are admitted to the festival for free. Festival wristbands will not be mailed this close to event. Purchasers may print out their ticket confirmation and exchange at the festival gate for a wristband. Click here to purchase.