Special Projects Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Less than a month away! In the Pines updates

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (May 7, 2024) – We’re one month away from the inaugural In the Pines, coming June 1 to Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va. This latest music venture for the nonprofit Birthplace of Country Music (BCM)–the same organization that brings the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival–unites an extraordinary grouping of outlaws and straight-shooters in one white-hot concert event, including GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter, actor and filmmaker Dwight Yoakam, sassy, multi-platinum cross-over queen  Elle King, “unboxable” alt-country crooner Paul Cauthen, and Wyatt Flores, an emerging artist All Country News refers to as a “musical juggernaut and country music phenom.” BCM is fine-tuning In the Pines as we draw closer to the date, including making it easier for folks to buy tickets..

“We have added guest check-out so you won’t need to create an account to purchase tickets, a site map, and frequently asked question updates to the website,” said Shauna Tilson, BCM’s Director of Development. “We’ve also updated our re-entry policy, which will now allow ticket buyers to come and go from the event site up until 6 p.m. that evening.”

Additionally, BCM has added a payment plan for those who wish to purchase in installments. General admission tickets are $100 (+ tax/fee). For those who prefer the VIP treatment, $200 (+ tax/fee) will get you a ticket to the event, preferred seating, access to the VIP restroom trailer, a drink ticket and an event t-shirt.

“To see any of these artists individually, you’re looking at $40 to $100 a ticket depending on the venue and where your seats would be located,” adds Tilson. “We are so excited to bring them all together in Bristol for an economical price.”

Gates for In the Pines will open at 2 p.m. ET and be located at the intersection of Cumberland and Lee Streets by the Bristol, Va. City Courthouse. The event stage and seating area will be inside the parking area between the Bristol Train Station and WCYB.

Road closures will only affect the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. between WCYB, the Bristol Va. City Courthouse and the Bristol Train Station up to State Street, which will remain open to traffic. On the Virginia side, Scott and Lee Streets will remain open for detours.

A clear bag policy will be strictly enforced. Only clear bags no larger than 12″ x 6″ X 12″ will be allowed. Seating at In the Pines will not be provided; event-goers are encouraged to bring their own camp chairs or blankets. There will be a designated dance area in front of the stage where chairs will not be allowed. Food, beverage, and merchandise vendors will also be on site.

“At the end of the day, In the Pines is a fundraiser for BCM,” adds Tilson. “All proceeds from the event go towards operating costs for our organization. We sincerely hope the community will show their support and buy a ticket–it’s going to be an amazing music experience you won’t want to miss!”

For tickets and more information, visit InThePinesBristol.com.

Northeast Tennessee Music Census Launching May 8

Northeast Tenn. (May 2, 2024) – Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC), Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD), Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (TNDECD), and the East Tennessee State University Research Corporation have come together to announce the Northeast Tennessee Music Census will go live May 8 at www.NETNmusic.com.

The Northeast Tennessee Music Census is an online survey that will collect a variety of data from local musicians, music educators and professionals, music nonprofits, and music venues as it relates to how they both live and work within the region of Hancock, Hawkins, Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Sullivan, Carter, and Johnson Counties and the city of Bristol. All people 18 years and older who make music happen across Northeast Tennessee are invited to take the survey and let their voices be heard. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous. The results will then be analyzed to provide community leaders and policymakers insights into the region’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities for growth.

Graphic of the 8-country Northeast Tennessee Music Initiative coverage map depicting Hancock, Hawkins, Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Sullivan, Carter and Johnson Counties and the cities of Bristol.

The Northeast Tennessee Music Initiative is spearheaded by ETSU’s Research Corporation in collaboration with the Birthplace of Country MusicNortheast Tennessee Tourism AssociationSync SpaceLaunch TennesseeETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies, and the Dobyns-Bennett High School Bands. It is supported by funding from TEC and TNDECD. The organizations will work with Sound Music Cities, a civic-oriented music policy firm, to capture quantitative information to help community leaders make informed, data-driven decisions about the local music economy across eight counties in Northeast Tennessee.

For more information about the Northeast Tennessee Music Census, and to take the census, visit www.NETNmusic.com.

BCM Presents Pokey LaFarge at 1927 Concert Series

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (March 19, 2024) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) proudly presents the next installment of its acclaimed 1927 Society Concert Series featuring dynamic singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge. Scheduled for Saturday, June 22 at 6 p.m. ET, the event will take place in the “acoustically perfect” performance theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

The 1927 Concert Series offers attendees a unique experience with some of today’s most esteemed artists. Guests are invited to arrive at 6 p.m. to indulge in heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar before the concert, offering a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (ages 21+ with valid ID). Food and drinks are included in the ticket price.

Pokey LaFarge’s journey to this moment has been one of personal and creative evolution. His latest album, “Rhumba Country,” showcases LaFarge’s dedication to crafting music that radiates pure joy, drawing from diverse influences such as mambo, tropicalia, rocksteady, and mid-century American rock.

Reflecting on his musical evolution, LaFarge shares, “The songs that naturally come to me are upbeat and make you wanna dance or at least bop your head – they’re all very colorful. I used to think of my music in dark blue, but now I see it in technicolor.”

LaFarge has performed at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion since early in his career; a life-sized photo of the artist swing-dancing at the festival with an unnamed partner, is part of the mural surround inside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum’s Immersion Theater exhibit.

Tickets for the 1927 Concert are $100 and on sale now. Visit the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org for tickets and more information.

Dwight Yoakam Headlines Bristol’s Inaugural In the Pines

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (Feb. 1, 2024) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has unveiled the lineup for In the Pines, an exciting new music experience coming to Historic Downtown Bristol June 1, where freight trains cross between Tennessee and Virginia at the majestic Bristol Sign.

GRAMMY Award-winning “honky-tonk savior” Dwight Yoakam leads the succession with crossover country-rock queen Elle King, Texas firecracker Paul Cauthen, and Wyatt Flores, a 22-year-old Oklahoman who’s emerging on the scene as “one of the most exciting new voices in alt-country,” according to Holler.

In the Pines lineup graphic

In the Pines is inspired by the iconic song “The Longest Train I Ever Saw,” recorded by the Tenneva Ramblers for the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions. From Bill Monroe and Dolly Parton to Leadbelly and Nirvana, the song has undergone many transformations, spanning decades and crossing many genres. The timeless piece serves as a metaphor for the dynamic and influential sounds emanating from Bristol – music that continues to impact the cultural landscape of today. These variations, with different titles and lyrics, reflect the extraordinary essence of Bristol’s influence, proving its impact transcends time and continues to resonate with audiences world-wide.

In the Pines is the latest franchise of BCM, the architects behind the award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – a three-day music festival held annually in September, the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and WBCM Radio Bristol.

Tickets to In the Pines are on sale now at InthePinesBristol.com. VIP and shuttle packages are also available.

2023 Bristol Sessions Super Raffle Kick-Off

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (June 14, 2023) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has announced the launch of its fifth annual Bristol Sessions Super Raffle, the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The raffle gives participants the chance to win more than $250,000 in cash and prizes. Each ticket gives the purchaser two chances to win.

“In the past we’ve had one ticket holder win twice with the same number,” said BCM Executive Director of Advancement Leah Ross. “It is our goal to keep educational programming at the museum low or no cost for the community, and proceeds from the raffle are essential in helping us achieve that.”

Big prizes include a 2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost, a Toyota Tacoma SR 4 x 2, a Subaru CrossTrek, a Honda HRV and a vacation to Sandals resort, plus $69K in cash prizes – including one prize for $20K.

The Raffle drawing will take place 12  to 4 p.m. ET, Sept. 10, 2023 outside the Birthplace of Country Music Museum during the 22nd annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival. A winner will be drawn every five minutes during the four-hour event. The drawing will stream live on the Birthplace of Country Music YouTube and Facebook pages and broadcast live on WBCM Radio Bristol which can be accessed on the air at 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at ListenRadioBristol.org, and through the station’s free mobile app.

Winners do not have to be present at the drawing to win; winners will be notified via phone, text, or email, and listed on the Bristol Sessions Super Raffle website at BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.

Only 5,000 Bristol Sessions Super Raffle tickets will be sold at $100 per ticket. Each ticket has two raffle numbers, giving the ticket holder two chances to win per ticket. There is a “Buy 10, Get One Free” offer that gives the buyer a free ticket with the purchase of 10.  Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

BCM worked with local businesses to acquire prizes for the raffle including Abingdon Equipment Co., Bristol HondaFood CityFriendship Ford of Bristol, Gregory Isbell Jewelers, Hearth and Patio, Morrell Music, Mountain Sports LTD, Progressive Tractor, Salt of the EarthStateline MotorsportsToyota of BristolThe Travel Shop, and Wallace Subaru of Bristol.

Tickets may be purchased online at BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org, at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, or from any BCM board member. Tickets for the Raffle go on sale today online at BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.com and at all sales locations. Ticket sales end automatically when 5,000 tickets are sold.

Bristol Sessions Super Raffle tickets will also be on sale at the following locations starting Monday, June 19:

  • Bristol Honda | 2130 Volunteer Pkwy., Bristol
  • Cranberry Lane | 623 State Street, Bristol
  • Salt of the Earth | 321 W. Main Street, Abingdon
  • Stateline Motorsports | 2115 W. State Street, Bristol
  • The Travel Shop | 339 W. Main Street, Abingdon
  • Toyota of Bristol | 3045 W. State Street, Bristol
  • Wallace Subaru of Bristol | 320 Volunteer Pkwy.

In the past, Bristol Sessions Super Raffle tickets have sold out prior to the festival, but if they are still available they will be sold at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in the Artist Merchandise Tent at 416 State Street, at the museum, and online until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2023. Tickets will not be sold by other ticket sellers after 11:59 on September 9, 2023. A festival ticket is not required to attend the raffle drawing; however, raffle ticket purchasers may purchase a Sunday single-day festival pass at a discounted price that day from the museum.

For a complete list of rules, frequently asked questions, a list of all the prizes, and to purchase tickets, please visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.

$52,000 in Awards Distributed to Support Folk Arts and Culture in Bristol Region

BRISTOL, Va.-Tenn. (May 31, 2023) – The Greater Bristol Folk Arts & Culture Team—a collective of local culture workers—is thrilled to announce the recipients of its grant and fellowship program to support folk arts and culture in the region, thanks to Central Appalachia Living Traditions (CALT), an initiative of Mid Atlantic Arts.

Representatives articulated a shared goal for this grant program: “To promote and support folk arts and culture in the greater Bristol community by providing targeted resources and support to area organizations, artists, and artist collectives with the goal of dramatically impacting the sustainability and awareness of traditional practice, cultural knowledge, and improving economic development and regional vitality.”

The team is distributing over $50,000 in direct rewards to four (4) Cultural Caretaker organizations and eight (8) Tradition Bearer Fellows, along with sharing a variety of professional development, performance, and cultural practice opportunities. Awardees will be featured at the Virginia Folklife Area at the Richmond Folk Festival (October 14 and 15, 2024), organized by the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities. 

“We are excited for this opportunity to celebrate and support folk arts and culture in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee,” said Tyler Hughes, the grant program’s project manager. “We want these grant awards to have a ripple effect—helping the organizations to build capacity and the artists to develop their practice and skills, which in turn will directly and positively impact their communities.”

Cultural Caretaker grants of $5,000 each—focused on small-scale, limited capacity, and largely volunteer-run community organizations—have been awarded to the Appalachian African American Cultural Center (Pennington Gap, Va.), the Carter Family Fold (Scott Co., Va.), Exchange Place (Kingsport, Tenn.), and Mount Pleasant Preservation Society (Smyth Co., Va.).

Tradition Bearer Fellowship awards of $4,000 each have been allocated to broom maker John Ingles Alexander (Grayson Co., Va.), luthier Jackson Cunningham (Grayson Co., Va.), clothing maker Stephen Curd (Washington Co., Va.), musician Pierceton Hobbs (Dickenson Co., Va.), dulcimer player Roxanne McDaniel (Washington Co., Tenn.), photographer Anna Mullins (Dickenson Co., Va.), broom maker Erin Simons (Wythe Co., Va.), and luthier K. T. VanDyke (Bristol, Va.).

For more information visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org/museum/special-projects/ or email BristolAnchorCommunity@gmail.com.

“Born In Bristol” World Premiere Watch Party in Historic Downtown Bristol July 30

Bristol, Tenn.-Va. (July 21, 2022) – In celebration of the 95th anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the public is invited to attend the world premiere of “Born in Bristol” at 8 p.m. EDT, July 30. The 1920s-themed, outdoor watch party will be held at the Downtown Center (810 State Street) in Bristol. Festivities kick off with live music by Northfork. The watch party will synchronize at 10 p.m. EDT with Circle Network‘s global premiere.

“We are very excited for ‘Born in Bristol’ to be shared with the world and to celebrate this historic 95th Anniversary,” said Leah Ross, executive director of advancement for the Birthplace of Country Music, the parent nonprofit of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol. “Many of our local residents and locations are featured in the docudrama, and we’re thrilled to share the world premiere with our wonderful community.”

The event is free, but the public is asked to RSVP online through the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org. Attendees are encouraged to dress in the period of the roaring twenties. Movie concessions and adult beverages will be available for purchase; alcohol will be sold to patrons 21 and over with valid photo ID.

“Born in Bristol,” produced by Tennessee Tourism and Plan A Films, is a 53-minute docudrama profiling the 2015 recording of the “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” album project. “Orthophonic Joy” was produced in partnership with Tennessee Tourism and the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The film features interviews with artists including Ashley Campbell, Ashley Monroe, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, Marty Stuart, Shannon Campbell, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, and Vince Gill, as well as GRAMMY-winning producer Carl Jackson. Cinematic reenactments were shot in several locations in Historic Downtown Bristol.

“Born in Bristol” will premiere globally on Saturday, July 30 10/9c on Circle Network and repeats throughout August. It will also debut on connected devices worldwide on DittyTV on Saturday, July 30 at 8/7c with repeats in August.

The “Born in Bristol” outdoor watch party is presented by the Birthplace of Country Music, in partnership with the City of Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol, Tennessee Parks & Recreation, Believe in Bristol, Explore Bristol, Express AV and Bristol Broadcasting Company. For more information visit the Events page BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

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.

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Image from the collection of Tennessee Ernie Ford Enterprises LLC

Bristol to Honor Its Favorite Son

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (January 29, 2019) – February 13, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s birthday, and his hometown – Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia – has come together to celebrate that milestone with a variety of events and activities, including a musical performance, a conversation with Ford’s son Buck, a special church service, show screenings, a commemorative stamp, a musical performance, and birthday cake!

“Tennessee Ernie Ford  played a truly significant role in entertainment history, impacting the industry but also other performers and the audiences who loved him,” says Birthplace of Country Music Museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “The Tennessee Ernie Ford Centennial Celebration Committee, led by Don Ashley, has come together to bring a host of celebratory events and activities to Bristol to mark his 100th birthday, and we hope the community will come out to celebrate with us!”

Born in Bristol, Ernest Jennings Ford was known by many names throughout his life: “Ernest” by his mother, “Ernie” by his relatives, friends, and neighbors, and “The Ol’ Pea-Picker” as a public stage name during the 1950s, based on his catchphrase “Bless your pea-pickin’ hearts.” But he was most well known as “Tennessee Ernie Ford” – a tribute to his Tennessee home and heritage.

Ford’s career spanned radio, recording, and television, resulting in three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and numerous other awards and honors, including a Grammy and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His song “Sixteen Tons,” a particular favorite of fans and music historians, was an unexpected hit on the pop charts in 1955 and a defining moment in his career. With Ford snapping his fingers and a unique clarinet-driven pop arrangement by Ford’s music director, Jack Fascinato, “Sixteen Tons” spent ten weeks at number one on the country charts and seven weeks at number one on the pop charts. In an interview in 1990, Ford noted that this record had sold over twenty million copies, and in 1998 his version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2015 it was honored by being included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

A special website has been set up at ErnieFord100.com where all the events for the birthday celebration are listed, in addition to a link where folks may RSVP to the Buck Ford and Sid Oakley event at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Tennessee Ernie Ford 100th Birthday Celebration Events: 

February 1 – 28
Tennessee Ernie Ford Display of Memorabilia & Artifacts
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Museum Hours and Admission Prices Apply

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will have several objects, photographs, and items of memorabilia on loan from Tennessee Ernie Ford Enterprises or the museum’s collection on display during the entire month of February. This display will supplement the section of the permanent exhibit focused on Ford’s life and career, which includes a short film.

Sunday, February 10
Special Tennessee Ernie Ford Church Service
11:00 a.m. – noon
Anderson Street United Methodist Church
954 Anderson Street, Bristol, TN
Free admission

Anderson Street United Methodist Church, which Tennessee Ernie Ford and his parents attended for many years, will conduct a special service, followed by a tour of their historical archives room including their Tennessee Ernie Ford collection.

Sunday, February 10
Tennessee Ernie Ford Birthplace Tours
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1223 Anderson Street, Bristol, TN
Free admission

The Bristol Historical Association’s Tennessee Ernie Ford Birthplace on Anderson Street will be open for visitor tours.

Tuesday, February 12
A Conversation with Buck Ford and Sid Oakley
7:00 p.m.
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Free admission, but must RSVP at ErnieFord100.com

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum and the Bristol Historical Association will co-host an informal conversation in the museum’s Performance Theater between Ernie’s older son, Buck, and long-time Ford family friend Sid Oakley. Ford family home movies will also be screened.

Wednesday, February 13
Tennessee Ernie Ford Commemorative Stamp
Bristol Post Office
111 6th Street, Bristol, TN

On Wednesday, February 13, the Tennessee Ernie Ford Commemorative Stamps can be taken to the Post Office on 6th Street in Bristol, TN for a special cancellation. Stamps can be purchased from Don Ashley. Each sheet has 20 stamps with .50 cent denomination; starting January 27th the postal rate goes to .55 cents for a letter and thus an additional .05 cent stamp will be needed. Don has plenty of .05 cent American Music stamps that will go with the .50 cent Ernie stamp to make up the new rate. Sheets are $21.00 per sheet; these can be purchased by contacting Don on 276-669-3245 or 423-914-0489 or by emailing him at dwa7@bvu.net.

Wednesday, February 13
Tennessee Ernie Ford 100th Birthday Celebration
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Paramount Bristol
518 State Street, Bristol, TN
Free Event

The Paramount will host an afternoon of Tennessee Ernie Ford music and film screenings prior to serving birthday cake; Ford’s son Buck will be there to introduce the screenings and talk to the audience about his dad’s life and legacy. Cake is courtesy of Food City.

Thursday, February 14
Radio Bristol’s Farm & Fun Time ft. Rachel Baiman, Beth Snapp
7:00 p.m.
Performance Theater, Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Tickets: $30

During Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time on Thursday, February 14,the “Heirloom Recipe” segment will be presented by Buck Ford, based on a Tennessee Ernie Ford favorite. Farm and Fun Time house band Bill and the Belles will also perform a few Tennessee Ernie Ford numbers during the show. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Events page.

RTE 23 Music Festival Lineup Announced

Norton, VA (May 1, 2018) — It’s the fifth anniversary of the RTE 23 Music Festival and the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) will once again bring this amazing event to the campus of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise) in Wise, Virginia on Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 5:00 p.m.—10:00 p.m. The New Respects, Cordovas, and Young Mister are on the roster for RTE 23 and each act will perform at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival—the perfect opportunity to preview these amazing bands before their performances in September. RTE 23 Music Festival is free and open to the public of all ages.

“This year, we approached the line up a little differently,” said Dave Stallard, BCM Music Committee Chairman and RTE 23 organizer. “Typically, our headliner is a band that doesn’t play Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in September. We were just so excited about The New Respects, though, that we bent our own rule and decided to make RTE 23 a showcase for three Bristol Rhythm bands. The New Respects are going to blow people away.”

Featured in Rolling Stone among its “10 New Artists You need to Know,” The New Respects are quickly turning heads and gaining unprecedented popularity. The band’s standout single “Trouble” garnered over 2 million streams and received sync placements with Fox Sports, ESPN, and TNT. The group meshes rock, soul, and pop music with overlays of acoustic tones. Comprised of twins Zandy and Lexi Fitzgerald, brother Darius and their cousin Jasmine Mullen, the Nashville-based group is a true family affair, evidencing the undeniable soul and music legacy that flows through the roots of their family tree. The band has been busy touring with Robert Randolph, O.A.R., and NEEDTOBREATHE, and making appearances at key festivals including Hangout, Bumbershoot, and Rock the Ranch.

Cordovas were touted in Rolling Stone‘s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” and follow the tradition of 1970s Southern and country rock greats the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, and The Band. Based in Nashville, the group has a sound based in harmony, song, and musicianship. The band spent the past winter writing and demoing songs for their latest album produced by Grammy nominee Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids.

“Cordovas really remind me of Crosby, Stills & Nash,” added Stallard. “Their live show is fantastic and their harmonies are on point.”

Young Mister is songwriter Steven Fiore. As a songwriter, Fiore has spent years building a fan base along both coasts, touring with the likes of Jump Little Children and Howie Day, and regularly performed as a guest vocalist for actor Jeff Goldblum’s (The Fly, Jurassic Park) jazz band in Los Angeles. After eight years as a stable songwriter for Universal Music Publishing Group, Fiore’s own performances have a radio-ready, soft-rock vibe and features lyrics young romantics wish had been written just for them.

“Booking Young Mister was a bit of a departure for us,” Stallard commented. “We have never had a singer-songwriter duo before, but his songs are powerful. That is going to be an awesome set.”

There will be lots of food and beverage options on hand at the festival—including regional wines and beers. Vendors include Foodie Fiction, Brain Freeze Shaved Ice, PureWood Firebrick Oven Pizza, Smoke-N-Pig Stillhouse BBQ, Dough & Joe, Lincoln Road Cold Brew Coffee, and The Shack.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been at this for five years now. We are incredibly appreciative of the sponsors who help us make this happen, UVa-Wise for hosting the festival, and all of the fans who come out and listen to the music. Our goal is simple; put on the best music festival in Wise County every year. With the bands, food, and drink we offer, we think we do that.”

The RTE 23 Music Festival is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Wise, Virginia business community. Please help us return the love by supporting our sponsors: Jeremy O’Quinn Law Office, Dr. William C. Horne, Jr. DDS, Crutchfield, Cavalier Pharmacy, Cavalier Comics, Iron Works Cycling, Powell Valley National Bank, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, The Inn at Wise, Wise County Tourism, Edward Jones-Office of James Lawson, Laidback Planners, Stone Mountain Guns, Brent Fleming Law Office, Sykes.

Click here to view RTE 23 Music Festival website.