Founded in 2001, the festival has been named among Rolling Stone’s “Top 20 Tours and Festivals,” and the crowds at the festival have continued to grow from a few thousand attendees to what organizers estimate to be about 40,000 to 45,000 from about 40 states and six countries.
This year’s lineup featured a mix of local bands, such as Indighost and Loose Leaves, and big names like Old Crow Medicine Show, the festival’s headlining act.
Hours before Old Crow Medicine Show was set to perform Saturday evening, thousands poured into the downtown district in the early afternoon to catch acts such as Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Boys, The Commonheart, Possum Creek, The Baker Family, Lauren Morrow of The Whiskey Gentry, JP Parsons and the American Bandwagon and the James Quillen Band, among many others.
Local resident Jonathan Sellers said he attended the festival to catch live acts from rock bands like Twin Peaks, who played in Cumberland Square Park Saturday evening, and Old 97s, set to play Sunday on the State Street Stage at 5:45 p.m.
“I like Twin Peaks due to their sound not being what typically is found at Rhythm and Roots. I kind of have two wavelengths of music I listen to and this is a rare occasion that they crossover,” he said. “I really hope Bristol brings more bands like this to the festival in coming years.”
Jacob Tipton, the bass player for Loose Leaves, said he was also excited to catch Twin Peaks live after performing at Quaker Steak & Lube that afternoon.
Tipton, whose band has been described as “eclectic alternative,” planned to also catch one of his favorite bands Saturday night at Cumberland.
“They added the Felice Brothers late, which is a big-time favorite band of mine. They've had some major lineup changes, but I'm still excited,” he said.
Single-day tickets for the festival range from $40 to 60 when purchased at www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/festival. Prices go up when purchased at the gate.
By the end of the festival on Sunday, the festival will have featured more than 140 local, regional and national performers of every genre on 21 stages throughout Bristol’s downtown district.