Nearly as anticipated as its annual lineup announcement, the schedule release for the 20th anniversary celebration of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has been announced – along with the release of single-day tickets to the award-winning music festival. Presented by the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), also the parent nonprofit of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and WBCM Radio Bristol, Bristol Rhythm will be held this September 10-12 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia after COVID-19 forced the organization to take a gap year in 2020.
“Everyone at BCM is thrilled to be in the final stages of planning for what promises to be a memorable Reunion!” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross at a press conference held at the museum. “Very soon, we will be dancing together again on State Street to some great live music – and for that, we are truly grateful.”
Bristol Rhythm is a celebration of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, an event in music history that has become known as the “big bang” of country music. The Sessions included the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, and brought country music to the mainstream. The Bristol Sessions continue to make a lasting impact on the music of today, and Bristol is designated by Congress as the birthplace of country music.
In October 2001, the first Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion was held on State Street (where Tennessee and Virginia meet) with a few thousand people in attendance. The festival has grown to receive more than 45,000 visitors from all over the world. Today, as Bristol Rhythm celebrates 20 years, downtown Bristol is a vibrant and revitalized music destination that features beautiful boutique hotels, breweries, restaurants, galleries, shops, and high-end loft spaces. The festival’s growth and the opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum have played a major role in the development of this historic downtown..
“Since we’ve reclaimed and embraced our rich music history and culture, we have grown and thrived,” Ross reflects. “BCM and the festival are proud to have played a role in the revitalization of our great cities, and it’s part of our mission to continue to be an economic driver for our community.”
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2021 boasts amazing talent for it’s 20th anniversary festival: Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, Blackberry Smoke, Dr. Dog, Yola, The SteelDrivers, Rhonda Vincent, and Hayes Carll lead the stellar lineup of approximately 100 acts performing this September. Other notable performances by The Steel Woods, Son Little, Lonesome River Band, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Amythyst Kiah, Ian Noe, Town Mountain, Katie Pruitt, Jim Lauderdale, Illiterate Light, and Morgan Wade will also be part of the milestone event.
In addition to the artists’ schedule, BCM announced a special kick-off concert by Cruz Contreras & Friends to be held on Thursday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the museum’s Performance Theater. Tickets to the concert are sold separately.
Bristol Rhythm hits the ground running with Friday night performances by Tanya Tucker, Yola, The SteelDrivers, and Hayes Carll. Amythyst Kiah and 49 Winchester are also on deck. Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time live variety show, hosted by Kris Truelsen and his house band Bill and the Belles, will return to the stage at the historic Paramount with special guests Madison Cunningham, Sierra Ferrell, and Nora Brown. Music will begin Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Single-day tickets for Friday are $50 plus tax/fees.
Per usual, Saturday at Bristol Rhythm is jam-packed with artists starting at noon and playing into the midnight hour. Blackberry Smoke, Dr. Dog, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Town Mountain, The Steel Woods, Ian Noe, and Illiterate Light are all slated to perform on that day, interspersed with American Aquarium, The New Respects, Folk Soul Revival, Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats, and Annabelle’s Curse, among many others. A special tribute to John Prine is also planned for that evening on the Near Moore Stage, featuring members of Sol Driven Train, Big Daddy Love, and Yarn. Single-day tickets for Saturday are $70 plus tax/fees.
The Bristol Rhythm weekend ends on a high note Sunday evening with festival headliner Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit closing out the 20th anniversary event. Other Sunday performances of note include Rhonda Vincent, Charley Crockett, Son Little, Morgan Wade, Early James, and Scythian. Single-day tickets for Sunday are $60 plus tax/fees.