I’m Running Out of Wall Space! The Poster Artwork of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion - The Birthplace of Country Music
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I’m Running Out of Wall Space! The Poster Artwork of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

The primary marketing piece for any music festival or event is the commemorative poster. Companies like Nashville’s Hatch Show Print, Knoxville’s Status Serigraph, and Asheville’s Subject Matter Studio have built their businesses – and stellar reputations – creating distinct artistic visions of their clients’ brands. For music fans, posters are a sentimental reminder of a good time and great music; they are also an essential collector’s item.

Since the inaugural festival in October 2001, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has commissioned a variety of local and regional artists to create designs that we feel capture the essence of the event. A few of our most popular are now out of print, though they occasionally pop up on ebay for purchase at a higher price than they originally sold.

If you have been collecting Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion posters since the beginning – that’s 17 posters and counting this year – you might find that wall space has become an issue. To help with that challenge, and for those who want to collect on a smaller scale, we started producing a collection of festival poster note cards. The note cards are small, frame-worthy, and run through the 16th annual event so you can display them without taking up a lot of space. And, of course, they are great cards to send to friends and family to encourage them to come to the festival!

Even we are running out of wall space in our office! © Charlene Tipton Baker

For those of you who collect and frame, we recommend having your favorite posters professionally framed using museum quality glass to keep the colors vibrant. Can’t decide on a favorite? Have a frame shop cut a piece of museum quality glass to fit a store-bought frame so you can change posters out on a whim. If sticker shock is an issue, think of it as an investment. We have no plans to reissue out-of-print posters so they retain value and, with care, the glass is something you’ll have forever even if you switch out frames.

We’ve pulled together all the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival poster designs we’ve collected over the years (with those that are no longer in print indicated) below so you have the chance to see each and every design. Hats off to all the wonderful artists for their inspired visions of our event – they showcase a variety of styles and themes from funky graphic music-related designs and historic references to playful story art and striking hand-pressed prints.

These three posters use a combination of historic images of Bristol, drawings of old and new musicians, and other photographs and artwork. 2001 poster: Concept, design, and photography by Malcolm J. Wilson and Jennifer Wilson (out of print); 2002 poster: Concept, art direction, and design by Katherine DeVault, vintage Bristol photographs by Bristol Historical Association, and photograph of the 1926 Martin 00-45 12-fret guitar courtesy of Gruhn Guitars Inc. (out of print); 2005 poster: Original art by Willard Gayheart, and graphic design by Saundra Reynolds.


The 2003, 2008, and 2009 posters used graphics focused on instruments within their design. 2003 poster: Original painting by Malcolm J. Wilson, and design by Jennifer & Malcolm J. Wilson (out of print); 2008 and 2009 posters: Graphic design by Chad Carpenter.


The posters created for the 2004, 2007, and 2012 festivals were also very graphic design-based and went for a more “decorative” look and feel. 2004 poster: Design by Katherine DeVault; 2007 poster: Original art by April Street; 2012 poster: Graphic design by Bobby Starnes.


Local artist Charles Vess – an internationally acclaimed fantasy and comic illustrator – has created original artwork for three of our festival posters: 2006, 2010, and 2015. The artwork for each poster is filled with detail and energy, and they reflect Vess’s graphic style and the use of nature as a major theme in his art. Vess’s posters always prove hugely popular with festival-goers and collectors – the 2006 and 2010 posters are both out of print.


The artwork for the 2011 and 2016 posters was also created by two local and regional artists: P. Buckley Moss and Leigh Ann Agee. Moss – a well-known artist whose wonderful renditions of rural life, especially in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, are highly collectible – has created other pieces of art for the Birthplace of Country Music, including a commemorative poster for the museum’s opening in 2014. Her festival poster from 2011 is out of print; the graphic design for this poster was done by Charlene Tipton Baker. Muralist and artist Agee, originally from Bristol, based the 2016 poster on her popular Moon Bound Girl artworks. The graphic design for Agee’s poster was done by Hannah Devaney Holmes.


Three of the most recent posters – for 2013, 2014, and 2017 – reflect a wonderful vintage style and are all individually hand-pressed on manila paper. Instruments are central to the designs of each of these posters, and the 2014 poster takes inspiration from the roots in Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. 2013 and 2017 posters: Graphic design by Justin Helton, Status Serigraph (2013 is out of print); 2014 poster: 
Graphic design by Drew Findley, Subject Matter Studio (out of print).

Charlene Tipton Baker is a Marketing Specialist at the Birthplace of Country Music. Please note that some posters are not sold in our online store, but you can call our office at 423-573-1927 to see if they are available.

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