New Special Exhibit, Concerts, Book Club, and Much More
Bristol, Va./Tenn. (May 4, 2020) – In this new era of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the nonprofit that brings you the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol, is finding new ways to connect with communities globally by producing fresh online content for virtual visitors to experience from home.
“We feel it’s important not only to stay connected to our community during this crisis but to also be of service,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “We’ve produced some great video content that gives visitors a deeper look inside some of our museum’s exhibits and educational materials for kids that teachers are finding useful while teaching remotely. We also offer free access to some great musical entertainment we hope everyone will enjoy.”
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Though temporarily closed to the public, activity remains brisk behind-the-scenes at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, as staff works to provide meaningful “Museum from Home” experiences for virtual guests.
The museum’s YouTube channel offers a playlist of videos that take visitors on an in-depth look at some of the museum’s permanent exhibits while offering interesting facts that delve deeper into Bristol’s unique music history.
During the week of May 4, the museum will begin the first in a series of virtual tour videos for the special exhibit Real Folk: Passing on Trades & Traditions through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. The exhibit opened March 6, just before the quarantine closed traffic to the museum. Real Folk gives viewers an inside look at a number of traditions and crafts – including letterpress printing, mandolin making, African-American gospel singing, quilting, Chickahominy dance, classical Iranian and Persian music, and more – and the people who are keeping them alive for future generations. The exhibit was produced in partnership with the Virginia Folklife Program, and the viritual tours will be added to our YouTube page starting next week.
The museum has created a variety of Student Activities ranging from songwriting mad libs and word search puzzles to coloring sheets and related learning activities. Fun crafts are also on offer. Educators are already using the museum’s Student Activity Sheets in their virtual classrooms, and these sheets also provide engaging and enjoyable learning at home for kids and adults alike!
Music aficionados and bookworms won’t want to miss the Radio Bristol Book Club, Thursday, May 28 at 11:00 a.m., where readers from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and the Bristol Public Library virtually come together to discuss books inspired by our region. The next topic of discussion is Clapton’s Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument; the book club also hopes to get the chance to talk on-air with the renowned luthier..
Dog lovers in particular will want to check out the new Nipper Look-Alike Contest where pet owners can submit photos of their furry friends posing like Nipper from the painting “His Master’s Voice,” which became the iconic logo for Victor Talking Machine Co. and later RCA Records.
More information about virtual tours, educational programming, and the Nipper Look-Alike Contest can be found at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.
WBCM Radio Bristol
Broadcasting live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum 24/7, Radio Bristol has always been an epicenter for unique musical entertainment through it’s online media center at ListenRadioBristol.org. From original weekly programs to its flagship Farm and Fun Time variety show, you’ll find a plethora of new and archived shows for music lovers of any genre, including videos of exclusive Radio Bristol Sessions with some of the best national and internationally touring roots music artists.
Thursday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. EST host Kris Truelsen will stream a free Home Edition of Farm and Fun Time on Facebook Live from his home in an undisclosed Johnson City, Tennessee neighborhood. The heartwarming monthly program, which usually broadcasts from the museum, will feature music by house band Bill & the Belles, an Heirloom Recipe segment, the Farm Report, and a few surprises for viewers who tune in to watch it live.
Farm and Fun Time is now syndicated on Blue Ridge PBS in Roanoke, Virginia and viewers can enjoy encore episodes of the show, edited for television, weekly on Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. EST. Those who live outside the Blue Ridge PBS viewing area may stream the program on the Blue Ridge PBS website.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
As of now, planning for the 20th anniversary of the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, scheduled for September 11-13 of this year, is still under way. Headliners for the award-winning event include Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, Blackberry Smoke, Dr. Dog, Yola, The SteelDrivers, Rhonda Vincent, Junior Brown, and many, many more. Weekend passes and a complete view of the line up are available at BristolRhythm.com.
Follow Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on Instagram and Facebook where you’ll access exclusive Quarantine Sessions with artists who are scheduled to perform at the event, in addition to Golf Cart Karaoke, a fun collection of videos being released over the next few weeks featuring artist shenanigans from last year’s event. Mike Farris and Scythian are just a few of the acts who joined in the fun – be sure to “like” and share!