Walk the line at Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Hannah Swayze • Sep 15, 2017 at 10:54 PM

The 17th Annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival began Friday night, filling up downtown Bristol and welcoming visitors from all over returning to the birthplace of country music for another weekend of music and fun. 

Night one was only the beginning, as various events are planned to take place throughout the day Saturday, Sept. 16. 

The festival features a variety of artists, many of which are scheduled to perform more than once, and never a dull moment. Walking down State Street, visitors can straddle the Tennessee/Virginia line and listen to music wafting down the street and out of windows.

About 150 artists play on 20 different stages that are not only set up outdoors on various streets downtown, but also inside local businesses such as the Blackbird Bakery, Stateline Bar & Grill and Studio Brew.

Some of the bigger names this year include two-time Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter Dwight Yoakam, who played Friday night, and Judah and the Lion, a folk and “hop ’n’ roll” independent band with a large following and a recognizable hit, “Take It All Back,” who can be seen on the Piedmont stage Saturday night.

Local favorites such as southern gothic artist Amythyst Kiah and ska/punk ensemble Demon Waffle are also featured.

Listening to music is not the only way to enjoy the festival.

Take a walk up State Street by vendors’ stations and browse a massive selection of crafts, clothing, beer and other unique items, including boutique clothing, paintings and handmade jewelry. There’s also a large selection of food trucks and vendors lined up on Lee Street when stomachs start to grumble. 

Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday are a list of activities such as a chili cook-off, yoga in Anderson Park, a guided bluegrass jam and a youth music competition, among others. 

Tickets for Bristol Rhythm and Roots are $65 for Saturday only or $50 for Sunday only. For a full music lineup, a map and other information, visit http://www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/festival/. 

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