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Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion has something for everyone

Hannah Swayze • Sep 17, 2018 at 8:58 AM

Country music is at the heart of Bristol Tennessee and Virginia. The city was the location of The Bristol Session, recordings made in the 1920 that introduced to the world the authentic and age-old sound of the music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. 

Jimmie Rogers and the Carter Family were both part of those recordings and their historic sound is still the soul of life and tourism in the city.

The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival pays tribute to the city’s history and goes beyond country and bluegrass music to provide an experience for audiences with all kinds of tastes. 

The result: a massive music festival that takes over the downtown Bristol area. 

Around 140 artists of every genre of music, local, regional and national perform on 21 bar, restaurant and outside stages throughout the weekend. 

Over the festival’s 18 years of existence, the crowds have grown from a few thousand to what organizers estimate to be anywhere from 40-45,000. There are audience members from about 40 states and 6 foreign countries. 

Due to the sheer volume of artists and stages, during the weekend one can hear all kinds of music floating out into the streets. 

“Everywhere you go you hear music,” said Leah Ross, executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music, parent nonprofit of the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, the Birthplace of Country Music, and Radio Bristol.

The lineup is a mix of well-known names like Old Crow Medicine Show and local bands such as Indieghost and Loose Leaves. Basically, it combines a feel of a large music festival with local and regional color. 

“I think the thing thats special about our festival is how the community supports it and how they’ve made it how it is today,” said Ross. 

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion will take place September 21-23. A limited number of 3-day wristbands are still available for $110 and single-day tickets range from $40-$60, depending on the day. Prices will go up when purchased at the gate. 

The festival is also still accepting volunteers that will earn their tickets into the festival. 

To find out more about the festival, purchase tickets or sign up to volunteer, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/festival. 

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