That's a wrap! Folks traveled from far and near for Bristol's inaugural 'In the Pines' - The Birthplace of Country Music
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That’s a wrap! Folks traveled from far and near for Bristol’s inaugural ‘In the Pines’

The stage set against the backdrop of the Bristol Train Station, Bristol sign visible in the background, and the audience at In the Pines.
Young fans singing along to Wyatt Flores' songs as he performs.
Excited fans singing along during Wyatt Flores’ set at the inaugural In the Pines concert event in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
© Birthplace of Country Music, photographer: Ashli Linkous

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (June 3, 2024) – Music fans from 33 states – and Sweden! – congregated to the inaugural In the Pines concert event on Saturday, with rousing performances by Dwight YoakamElle KingPaul Cauthen, and Wyatt Flores. The latest production of the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), In the Pines is another example of how the nonprofit’s work consistently exemplifies a harmonious blend of exceptional music and cultural significance, while seamlessly delivering a memorable experience that showcases the region’s rich heritage and the vibrant spirit of roots music.

“I came to Bristol to the first In the Pines with a friend from California to see the amazing lineup,” said Dave Szymanski of Belmont, Mass. “It was our first time in Bristol and the whole day was amazing. From the people to the venue, it was the most organized and fun one-day musical event I’ve attended. We’ll be back to Bristol and In the Pines!”

“We had travelers from as far away as California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado, and New Jersey…and, yes, Sweden,” said Leah Ross, BCM executive director of advancement. “The weather was perfect, and we were really pleased with the turnout for the inaugural event.”

Singer-songwriter Wyatt Flores playing guitar.
Wyatt Flores kicking off the inaugural In the Pines concert event in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
© Birthplace of Country Music, photographer: Stephanie Nardi

Set against the backdrop of Bristol’s historic Train Station where, in 1927, Ralph Peer first pulled into town and created the “big bang of country music,” echoes of that transformative moment reverberated anew in 22-year-old newcomer Wyatt Flores from Stillwater, Okla. Emerging as a force that is predicted to reach headliner status, rows of young and adoring fans, impassioned and devoted, surged up to the barrier before the stage, belting out the lyrics to the heart-wrenching “Running Out of Time,”  “Please Don’t Go,” a tune that has more than 120 million plays on Spotify, and the heartbreak banger “Losing Sleep.” Flores scored extra points with his mashup of The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” and “Russell Country Line,” a song by beloved Southwest Virginia act 49 Winchester – a band that cut their teeth performing at BCM’s annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival and is now internationally acclaimed.

Paul Cauthen performing at In the Pines.
Texas native Paul Cauthen exudes alt-country swagger at In the Pines
© Birthplace of Country Music, photographer: Aubrey Wise

Paul Cauthen’s set enticed the Millennials and Gen X to the forefront of the stage, instantly igniting the crowd with the fiery intensity of his newly released track “Hot Damn.” As the pulse of the music reverberated, Cauthen seamlessly transitioned into crowd favorites like “Holy Ghost Fire” and “Champagne & a Limo,” effortlessly captivating fans with his magnetic stage presence and Texas swagger. The consummate performer, Cauthen professed his love of Bristol and how he hoped In the Pines would continue year after year.

Elle King holding her baby Lucky and singing to him.
A poignant In the Pines moment as Elle King serenades her son Lucky, who joined her on stage.
© Birthplace of Country Music, photographer: Aubrey Wise

Elle King commanded the stage with her irresistible blend of cool confidence and sass, her powerful, scratchy vibrato seemingly amplified from an old 78rpm. King rocked her infectious new single “Baby Daddy Weekend,” along with crowd faves “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” and “Ex’s and Oh’s,” but it was in the unfiltered moments that the artist truly shone. As she dedicated her song “Lucky” to her young son by the same name, hearts swelled with tenderness as he joined her onstage. She held him close and sang to him, for a time, before he went to work on a tambourine with a drumstick at her feet. In that moment, and in many after, King laid bare not just her talent, but her humanity and authenticity; an invitation to fans to share in some of the most intimate aspects of her life. She talked about owning up to past mistakes and getting back out there to move past them, and the sentiment truly resonated. King also pointed out the fun she’d had in Bristol that day buying ten gallon hats with her band on State Street and lobbied for a spot on the bill at next year’s In the Pines. It was all music to our ears.

Dwight Yoakam playing his guitar on stage at In the Pines.
Headliner Dwight Yoakam performs at the Birthplace of Country Music’s Inaugural In the Pines concert event in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
© Birthplace of Country Music, photographer: Aubrey Wise

The sky had grown dark by the time Dwight Yoakam took the stage, wearing his own signature cowboy hat, boots and faded denim. Both he and Paul Cauthen had been to Bristol before, sharing a spot on the lineup at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion back in 2017. Very aware of his surroundings, Yoakam opened the set with his rollicking rendition of “Keep On the Sunny Side,” a Carter Family classic. He spoke warmly about his return to Bristol and his reverence for the 1927 Bristol Sessions, to the delight and great pride of local Dwight fans who cheered in his appreciation for their hometown. It was the perfect nightcap to a spectacular day in the birthplace of country music.

BCM extends its appreciation to all the first-year patrons, sponsors, vendors, and the great cities of Bristol, Va. and Bristol, Tenn. whose support was instrumental in the resounding success of the inaugural In the Pines event. A special thank you to the American Sign Language interpreters who did a beautiful job translating the day’s music for the hearing impaired.

Looking ahead, all eyes are now on Downtown Bristol in eager anticipation of the 23rd annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, slated for September 13-15. For more information about In the Pines, Bristol Rhythm, and all BCM programming visit