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Downtown Bristol Blog

Loretta Lynn to Headline BRRR 2016

Country music legend Loretta Lynn is among the headlining artists to appear at the 16th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival this September; the announcement was made during a special “super fan” event held at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Thursday.

Loretta Lynn is among the most awarded country artists of all time, with more hall of fame inductions than any other female artist including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lynn was also the first woman to be named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 1972. She received Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Loretta Lynn has won four Grammys, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and sold more than 45 million albums worldwide.

“Loretta Lynn is country music royalty,” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. “She’s been on our wish list for some time and this year we were able to make it happen. Her latest album, produced by John Carter Cash, even includes the Bristol Sessions classic ‘In the Pines.’ The timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

Another headlining newcomer to Bristol Rhythm will be the Grammy-winning folk rock duo Indigo Girls, known for their intricate arrangements and vocal harmonies as well as their political activism. Combined with the announcement that festival alumni Hayes Carll and the Darrell Scott Band will return in 2016, along with newcomer Joe Purdy, it looks like Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion’s tradition of powerful singer/songwriters remains true to form.

Married in life and music, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn will return to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion—this time as a duo. Fleck made his first appearance at Bristol Rhythm with Bryan Sutton and Casey Driessen in 2005; Abigail followed in 2007 as part of the all-girl acoustic group Uncle Earl. The couple won their first Grammy as a duo this year for Best Folk Album; Fleck has 13 previous Grammy wins.

Festy alumni, prolific recording artist, and one-man jam band Keller Williams also returns to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion for what’s sure to be a killer live-looping performance; his 2013 Cumberland Square Park set has gone down in class notes as the stuff of legend.

Grammy and IBMA award-winning The Steep Canyon Rangers top the festival’s bluegrass roundup that also includes IBMA, SPBGMA, and Independent Music Award-winners Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

“There are two other headlining acts that we can’t announce at this time,” said Ross. “We’ll release those this summer and, I can tell you, they are awesome!”

Marty Stuart, Houndmouth, Cracker, Mike Farris, Scythian, Unknown Hinson, Jill Andrews, HONEY HONEY, Hot Club of Cowtown and EmiSunshine are among the stellar cast of Bristol Rhythm 2016 artists previously revealed during the festival’s “countdown to Bristol Rhythm.” Other outstanding festival favorites to be noted include Larry Sparks, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Folk Soul Revival, the Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Band, Becky Buller, and Levi Lowery.

It wouldn’t be Bristol Rhythm without the inclusion of fantastic emerging artists; acts like Liz Vice, Noah Gundersen, The Lonely Biscuits, Mipso, Front Country, John Moreland, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Wild Reeds, Seth Walker, and The Americans are are brand-spankin’ new to the festival and are definitely bands to watch.

This year’s stunning festival artwork was also part of Thursday’s big reveal; Bristol native and award-winning muralist Leigh Ann Agee unveiled her interpretation of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion as a pick-up truck packed with all things Bristol, barreling down a deeply-rooted road paved with music. An in-demand item for collectors, this year’s festival poster is sure to be a hot commodity.

Full Moon Jam 2016 Lineup Announced

Starting June 2nd and for the 20th year, the City of Bristol Tennessee will be hosting the free concert series "Full Moon Jam" on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Downtown Center (Country Music Mural), 810 State Street. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and continue until 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Bring a lawn chair or come early to grab one of the 350 chairs provided on-site. Refreshments are sold in the concessions area for a nominal fee. Clean, well-stocked restrooms also available.

You are asked not to park in the bank drive-through area adjacent to the venue and please do not to bring skateboards or bicycles into the venue. Parking is available on Shelby Street in the Municipal parking lot or on State Street in designated parking spaces.


  • Thursday, June 2: Southern 76
  • Tuesday, June 7: Cedar Valley
  • Thursday, June 9: Broad Street Station
  • Tuesday, June 14: Duty Free
  • Thursday, June 16: Music Memories
  • Tuesday, June 21: Glen Harlow & Friends
  • Thursday, June 23: Shooter
  • Tuesday, June 28: New Hawkins County Grass
  • Thursday, June 30: WyldeHeart


  • Tuesday, July 5: Cedar Valley
  • Thursday, July 7: Retroville
  • Tuesday, July 12: Duty Free
  • Thursday, July 14: James Meadows
  • Tuesday, July 19: Glen Harlow & Friends
  • Thursday, July 21: The System * Bob Seger Tribute
  • Tuesday, July 26: Turkey Creek
  • Thursday, July 28: Thomas Taylor


  • Thursday, August 4: Billy Crawford
  • Thursday, August 11: Music Memories
  • Thursday, August 18: Food City Family Race Night (Retroville 3p — 5p, Marcus Boyd 5p — 7p, Shooter 7p — 9p)
  • Thursday, August 25: Midnight Riders *Allman Brothers Tribute


  • Thursday, September 1: Shooter
  • Thursday, September 8: James Meadows
  • Thursday, September 22: WyldeHeart
  • Thursday, September 29: Southern 76

Border Bash is Back!

Celebrating 17 years in Historic Downtown Bristo, Border Bash—Bristol's premier spring/summer concert series—is back for another amazing season starting May 20, 2016! Hosted by Believe in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music, and the Cities of Bristol, Virginia and Tennessee, Border Bash is about fun, family, great music, and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Border Bash takes place on State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol. Vendors and activities set up at 6:30 p.m. and live music begins at 7:00 p.m. Border Bash is a free community event.

2016 Border Bash band lineup:

  • May 20 — The Carolina Catskins (ragtime, Appalachian swing) and The Tennessee Stifflegs (old-time, Western swing)
  • June 3 — The Dirk Quinn Band (funk/jazz improv) and Elliot Root (alt-rock)
  • June 17 — Abbie Gardner & Jesse Terry and The Midatlantic (folk-rock, newgrass)
  • July 4 — Front Country (Americana) and Rob Nance (Americana)
  • July 15 — The Comet Conductors (rock) and B R U N S (rock)
  • August 5 — The Grand Shell Game (prog-Americana) and The Kodiak Brotherhood (southern rock)

Eastman Credit Union Commits $100,000 To Radio Bristol

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Eastman Credit Union (ECU) that will help fund the Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time show over the next five years.

“Eastman Credit Union has been a great community partner to BCM over the years, and we are very grateful for their support and generosity.” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of BCM. “Their commitment to sponsor Radio Bristol’s Farm & Fun Time helps us create a quality program that ensures the show’s success for years to come. It also helps us further our mission of outreach in preserving the rich music heritage of our region.”

ECU presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to the Birthplace of Country Music during a special announcement at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum just prior to the Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time live show on Tuesday evening. ECU will be the presenting sponsor for Farm & Fun Time, committing $20,000 annually over the next five years.

“Eastman Credit Union is delighted to support the Birthplace of Country Music and Radio Bristol’s Farm & Fun Time show,” said Olan O. Jones, President and CEO of Eastman Credit Union. “For more than 80 years, ECU has served local families, preserving our foundations of extraordinary service and constantly seeking new opportunities to better serve our members. That’s why it’s an honor and privilege to assist BCM in preserving the local heritage that makes this region great and combining that with forward thinking that supports economic growth and drives tourism.”

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time is a revival of WCYB radio’s Farm & Fun Time show which broadcast live from a studio inside the General Shelby Hotel in downtown Bristol. In the 1940s and the 1950s, Farm & Fun Time was an important program in the history of early bluegrass music and helped to establish the careers of legendary performers including Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, The Sauceman Brothers, and Curly King & The Tennessee Hilltoppers.

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time live radio show was introduced to audiences during the Grand Opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in August of 2014. Performed and recorded before a live audience, the one-hour variety show was co-hosted by WCYB broadcasting veteran Johnny Wood and featured legendary Farm & Fun Time alumni Dr. Ralph Stanley and Jesse McReynolds. During the show, McReynolds wielded an antique fiddle that was originally played during the 1927 Bristol Sessions. One year later, WBCM Radio Bristol signed on to the airwaves from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Tuesday evening’s program was the first Radio Bristol Farm & Fun Time production to broadcast live on the air.

In keeping with the tradition of the original, Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time featured lively performances by renowned old-time act The Foghorn Stringband, Corbin Hayslett, and Bill & the Belles. Hosted by Radio Bristol’s producer Kris Truelson, the one-hour program featured segments including “The ASD Farm Report.” In cooperation with Appalachian Sustainable Development, “The ASD Farm Report” segment will continue in future shows, and will focus on music, family, food and farming in the region.

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time will broadcast live before a studio audience monthly on WBCM Radio Bristol 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online, and through the station’s free mobile app.

Downtown Bristol Events

Sierra Hull

May 5 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Sierra Hull was a teen prodigy who was first called to the Grand Ole Opry stage at the tender age of 11. At 13 she signed with Rounder Records, and soon became known as a remarkable mandolin player, a tone-true vocalist, and a recording artist of high order. She became the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music. Now in her mid-20s, Hull’s latest album Weighted Mind is original music, from a virtuoso who tells the truth and speaks from herself.

Radio Bristol Premiere sshowcase artists and their newly released music. Broadcasting live before a studio audience at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Radio Bristol Premieres airs on 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online, and on the WBCM Radio Bristol mobile app.

Tickets go on sale March 25 at $35 per person.

6th Street Celebrates Free Comic Book Day

May 7 | Downtown Bristol

A fun-filled day with FREE comic books, with food, and local Vendors & Artists selling unique Arts & Crafts! 6th Street, Downtown Bristol, TN.

Mother's Day Event

May 7 | Shelbee's Vintage Cafe

Celebrate Mother's Day at Shelbees Vintage Café. A special 4 course menu will be offered.

Instrument Drive: Gently Used Donations Needed

May 7 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will be holding an instrument donation drive for their Education Department on Saturday, May 7 from noon until 5:00 p.m. Gently used and new instrument donations will be used at the museum by students, visitors, and instructors during educational programs. Donated instruments should be in good, working condition without need for repair. All instrument donations are tax deductible; documentation of your donation will be provided for tax purposes upon request.

Your continuing support enables BCM to offer new and exciting opportunities for youth as well as adults. If you have any questions regarding the instrument drive, email Scotty Almany at or call 423-573-1927.

Corey Smith

May 7 | Cumberland Square Park

Corey Smith is an Americana singer and guitarist from Jefferson, GA. The way Corey Smith sees it, he owes a debt to his fans. And it’s one he is determined to repay with his 10th album, While the Gettin’ Is Good. The project, released on Sugar Hill Records, marks the first time that the singer-songwriter, a wildly popular touring artist who has produced all of his past efforts, has turned over the reins to a bona fide country music producer in Keith Stegall. The result is Smith’s most ambitious record yet, as well as a return on the investment made by the fans who have supported him since his first album in 2003.

To learn more, visit

The Ledgerwoods

May 7 | Bristol Brewery

The Ledgerwoods are an eclectic mix of original music, folk, gospel, Americana, and blues music!

David began learning to play guitar at age nine and played with a variety of groups including "East Street" and "Image." Ann grew up singing harmonies with her sisters Cathy and Carol. Their late mother was instrumental in bringing the love of music into their lives.

​They released ​their first CD in 2009 recorded in ​ their home studio "Tripod Recording". "Face the Wind" is a collection of 12 original songs of a variety of styles.

Martin Dotterweich to Speak About "Making Books Your Friends"

May 9 | Bristol Public Library

In our changing world and in a time that values electronic media, one may ask, is there a need for the “old fashioned printed book?” This and other questions pertaining to the history and intrinsic value of reading books will be discussed at a meeting of the Bristol Historical Association on Monday, May 9 at 6:30pm at the Bristol Public Library. The speaker will be Martin Dotterweich, associate professor of History at King University. His program is entitled, “Let books be your friends”: Book History and the Keeping of Memory.

The talk will address a general history of books going back over five hundred years, with some examples on display. He’ll also discuss how to “read” the book as an object. Dotterweich will have a few reflections on why we keep books, and what they offer to those interested in history. These thoughts probably have crossed our minds and this is an unusual opportunity to reconsider the “old-fashioned printed book.”

A native of Knoxville, Martin Dotterweich studied at Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh, where he received the PhD in Ecclesiastical History. He has served as Associate Professor of History at King since 2004, and has published on book history (especially Bibles), Scottish history, and the Reformation. With reference to today’s subject, he has also participated in book history seminars through the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Folger Shakespeare Library. He and his wife Heather have two children, Kathleen and Peter.

The May 9 meeting is in partnership with the Bristol Public Library’s mission of “Expanding Minds and Building Community” and the history department at King University. The meeting is open to the general public to attend. Contact Tim Buchanan, president, for details of this or other upcoming programs, by e-mail at

Train Station Celebrates National Train Day

May 14 | Bristol Train Station

Bristol will be celebrating NATIONAL TRAIN DAY at the Bristol Train Station on Saturday, May 14, 2016! Speakers, history tours, music, and vendors. Watch for Details and Save the Date, 2pm — 5pm. Please visit to learn more about the Bristol Train Station.

Also Coming Up

More Upcoming Events »

Community Notice Board

Little Italy News & Specials

May 3 – June 3 | Little Italy Pizza

Little Italy is now offering Happy Hour Tuesday — Friday from 4-7:00 PM! Half price draft beers with the purchase of any food item!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Little Italy Downtown will be closed May 8-18, 2016 and will reopen May 19th with regular hours.

Bristol Office Supply Weekly Specials

Through May 6

Click here to view weekly specials.

State Street Farmer's Market Now Open!

May — October | Downtown Center

Join us at the State Street Farmer's Market, where local merchants, fresh food and fun times come together. Choose your favorite local produce, homemade foods and unique arts and crafts. The market is open from May through October.

May — October
Saturdays 8 am — Noon

July — September
Wednesdays 2 — 6 pm

Don't forget! The State Street Farmer's Market accepts SNAP/EBT cards. Participants can scan their card and receive wooden tokens of either $1 or $2 in value and can use those tokens with participating vendors.

AACA Antique Car Show

May — October | Downtown Bristol

Come downtown and enjoy the Antique Automobile Club of America – Appalachian Region Car Show! This car cruise-in is held every Friday night, May through October, 6 — 8pm in the TriSummit bank parking lot across from the Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol. It's always a fun night — full of classic cars!