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Downtown Bristol Blog

Cameo Theatre owner plans to complete renovations in time for Rhythm & Roots


SOURCE: David McGee, Bristol Herald Courier — New owner Brent Buchanan never attended an event at the Cameo Theatre, but he hopes to create some new memories for many by transforming the 1925-era facility into a live entertainment venue.

Buchanan, who manages Oakley-Cook Funeral Home, acquired the art deco theater at 703 State St. last year and has been working to finalize plans for the 550-seat, 10,000-square-foot facility. He appeared before the city’s Industrial Development Authority last week to discuss his plans and provided a private tour to the Bristol Herald Courier on Tuesday morning.

“The first memory I have of the Cameo was the day me and Wally Boyd, the realtor, walked through here,” Buchanan said. “The first day I walked in, I got chills. Every day I walk in, I get chills. It’s got a spirit and a feel you can’t get everywhere.”

Buchanan’s plans focus primarily on hosting regular live performances from musicians, bands and comedians.

“I grew up constantly listening to music. I had a little transistor radio that went with me everywhere. It was strapped to my bicycle; I had it in bed at night. I still have it. To be honest, the Cameo is an extension of that —my modern-day transistor radio,” Buchanan said.

Despite operating in the “birthplace of country music,” plans call for offering a wide variety of acts.

“I think when it comes to entertainment, we’re not going to be a one-trick pony. It’s not going to be just country or this or that. We’ll have pop, alternative, country, rock, we’ll have all those things,” he said. “I want the reputation of the Cameo to be, if you’ve got a ticket, you may not know who the artist or comedian is, but when you walk through that door you’re going to be entertained.”

Buchanan said he is working with a couple of concert promoters to assemble a lineup of performers.

“It’s all about connections with the artists and these promoters have those connections. I’ve given them a list of about 250 people I’d like to see here— some big artists, some small artists, but those are the people I want to see at the Cameo. So they’re reaching out to find out what it will take to get them to the Cameo,” he said, adding that he hopes to one day bring that booking function in-house.

There is a separate list of comedians and other performers.

Renovations are expected to begin soon inside and out, with most of the work expected to be done by mid-September, as the Cameo has a full roster of acts for the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

Work planned inside the theater includes painting, new lighting, new carpet and some repairs to damaged crown molding. The lobby and restrooms will be totally redone as will the two green room spaces behind the stage. Upstairs, the current banister will be replaced with tempered glass so patrons can better see the stage.

The seats are already in excellent condition and a just-completed survey revealed very little asbestos will have to be mitigated. The lighting design is also expected to be done this week.

Burwil Construction and Blevins Construction are set to perform the work once Buchanan has secured all the proper city permits. All of the interior work is expected to be completed in about six weeks. Work on the outside may take longer.

“We should be done with everything inside by Rhythm & Roots. We’re not looking to book anything before Nov. 1,” Buchanan said. “I wanted to be ready for Rhythm & Roots, see how the building handles it, then are there things we didn’t think about?”

Being new to the entertainment industry, Buchanan said he wants to see how things work with different sized crowds, to assess staffing levels and identify any issues that might arise during the three-day downtown music festival.

He said they’ve already turned down some shows to give them time to complete all the work and make the dry run during the music festival, which runs Sept. 20-22.

“If there are some issues at Rhythm & Roots, it gives us some time to work on those instead of having issues and Def Leppard’s going to be on stage at the Cameo the next week and what are we going to do? I want it to be as right as it possibly can be,” he said.

Buchanan said he’s visited other music venues across the region and other promoters have come to Bristol and they leave envious of the facility and its acoustics.

“I feel like sitting in the balcony will be the place to be. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and if your favorite artist is playing here it’s going to be like they’re playing in your living room.”

All of this comprises what Buchanan terms his “healthy phase one plans.” What he isn’t yet ready to discuss is what may lie ahead and future phases, which he said could “revolutionize” downtown entertainment.



Downtown Bristol Events

YP Bristol Monthly Social: Meet the Makers

June 20 | Mercantile on State


Hear from store owner Kristen Dempsey and several vendors about being an entrepreneur and small business owner in Bristol.

BPL Book Club: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

June 21 | Bristol Public Library


BPL Book Club will finish reading and discussing The Storied of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, and pick up its next book, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca.

BPL Book Club is open to everyone, so feel free to drop in at any time for a wonderful evening of good books, good company, and sweet treats!

Shades of Grey

June 21 | Quaker Steak and Lube


Shades of Grey will perform at Quaker Steak and Lube at 7pm.

Sounds of Summer: From the Edge

June 21 | Downtown Center


“From the Edge” is a Rock n’ Roll Cover Band with members from East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Playing all types of venues from Pubs and Parties to Weddings and Festivals! Providing an electric mix of Girl Pop Tunes to your favorite oldies, we will serve up music you will absolutely enjoy. Influences include Linda Ronstadt, Journey, Eagles, Pretenders, Bryan Adams and lots and lots of your preferred 80’s music.

...

The Sounds of Summer Concert Series, formerly the Full Moon Jam, will start June 5th and run through September 27th. Concerts will be held on Tuesdays & Thursdays from7-9pmfrom June -Augustat the Downtown Center (Country Music Mural), 810 State Street. Concerts will be held on Thursdays during the month of September.

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.

Bands subject to change without notice. For more information visit the City of Bristol TN website.

Summer Solstice Yoga Nidra

June 21 | Breathe Bristol Yoga


Join Marcy Parks for this stress releasing, peace inducing meditation technique to start your Summer off right!

Bella Bane

June 21 | Blackbird Bakery


Vocalist Bella Bane will be preforming a variety of songs 8-10pm.

Rocky Patel Cigar Smoker

June 22 | Sidetrack Tobacco


Sidetrack Tobacco will host a Cigar Smoker featuring Rocky Patel Cigars.Regional Sales Manager from Rocky Patel Cigar Co, Stacy Guzman, will be here for a meet and greet. Tickets are available for $15 per person, which includes a cigar, live entertainment, food and fun. Available at Sidetrack Tobacco, 523 State Street.

Bristol Pirates vs. Elizabethton

June 22 | Boyce Cox Field


The gates at Boyce Cox Field open at 6:00 pm and the game starts at 7:00 pm!

Jigsaw Jane

June 22 | Quaker Steak and Lube


Jigsaw Jane is a high energy 5-piece cover band that plays everything from classic/southern/alternative rock to driving/old school/new age country music.

3D Printer Grand Opening

June 23 | Bristol Public Library


Bristol Public Library is pleased to announce the arrival of their new 3D printer! To celebrate summer, the library's Jones Creative Center is offering a free 3D Print of the Month using the new 3D printer. Participants can create personalized guitar picks during Open Lab anytime in June. The library will also host a free 3D printing demonstration and workshop on June 23, as well as a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the unveiling of our new printer, starting at 10:00 a.m.

For more information, please contact TJ in the Jones Creativity Center at 276-645-8790.

Cooking with Essential Oils

June 23 | Breathe Bristol Yoga


Join Breathe Bristol in welcoming Registered Nutritionist and Dietitian Crystal Woods for this delicious workshop. Crystal will demonstrate how to use essential oils in your daily routine and give samples of recipes made. $20 Preregistration is required

Paul Thorn

June 23 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum


Upon great demand, the Birthplace of Country Music proudly presents the return of Paul Thorn for a very special 1927 Society Concert experience.

Tickets: $80 (Includes adult beverages and heavy hors d’oeuvres, *must be 21+ with a valid drivers’ license to be served alcohol)

TICKETS*

* On sale now for 1927 Society members. Tickets go on sale to the public Monday, April 23.

Wyldeheart

June 23 | Quaker Steak and Lube


Wyldeheart brings a unique edge to Rock,Country, 80's, Dance and Oldies music.

Bristol Pirates vs. Pulaski

June 25 | Boyce Cox Field


The gates at Boyce Cox Field open at 6:00 pm and the game starts at 7:00 pm!

Creative & Crafty: Dandelion Wishes & Lilacs Canvas Class

June 26 | Bristol Public Library


Bristol Public Library will offer a new canvas class for June: "Dandelion Wishes and Lilacs." Registered participants will have the opportunity to choose between one of two large canvases – a field of wispy dandelions or purple lilac stems – to craft a completely unique portrait of their own. Cost is $10 per person, which covers canvases, paint, supplies, and instruction.

Registration is required. Contact Bristol Public Library at 276-645-8780 or ajohnson@bristol-library.org.

Sounds of Summer: Cedar Valley

June 26 | Downtown Center


One of the best bluegrass bands in the Tri-Cities. Come out and enjoy those old time sounds when the music started.

...

The Sounds of Summer Concert Series, formerly the Full Moon Jam, will start June 5th and run through September 27th. Concerts will be held on Tuesdays & Thursdays from7-9pmfrom June -Augustat the Downtown Center (Country Music Mural), 810 State Street. Concerts will be held on Thursdays during the month of September.

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.

Bands subject to change without notice. For more information visit the City of Bristol TN website.

Bored Kids Retreat Camp

June 27 | Mercantile on State


Kids getting bored already? Let That Cookie Dough help!

Bored Kids Retreat Camp is from 9am to 1pm June 27th, for ages 4-11. Kids will get to create their own cookie dough to eat or take home, a fun craft to take home, pizza for lunch and a vendor from Mercantile on State will teach the kids a trade! It promises loads of laughter and fun.

Cost is $25 per child, and get $5 off for additional siblings. Spaces are limited, so sign up fast! Email thatcookiedough2@gmail.com.

Community Notice Board

AACA Antique Car Cruise-In

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 11 through October, 5 — 6pm in the Home Trust Bank parking lot across from the Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol. It's always a fun night — full of classic cars!

Also Coming Up

YP Bristol Monthly Social: Meet the Makers
June 20 | Mercantile on State
BPL Book Club: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
June 21 | Bristol Public Library
Shades of Grey
June 21 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Sounds of Summer: From the Edge
June 21 | Downtown Center
Summer Solstice Yoga Nidra
June 21 | Breathe Bristol Yoga
Bella Bane
June 21 | Blackbird Bakery
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
June 22 – July 1 | Paramount Bristol
Rocky Patel Cigar Smoker
June 22 | Sidetrack Tobacco
Bristol Pirates vs. Elizabethton
June 22 | Boyce Cox Field
Jigsaw Jane
June 22 | Quaker Steak and Lube
3D Printer Grand Opening
June 23 | Bristol Public Library
Cooking with Essential Oils
June 23 | Breathe Bristol Yoga
Bristol Pirates vs. Elizabethton
June 23 | Boyce Cox Field
Paul Thorn
June 23 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Wyldeheart
June 23 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Bristol Pirates vs. Elizabethton
June 24 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Pulaski
June 25 | Boyce Cox Field
Creative & Crafty: Dandelion Wishes & Lilacs Canvas Class
June 26 | Bristol Public Library
Bristol Pirates vs. Pulaski
June 26 | Boyce Cox Field
Sounds of Summer: Cedar Valley
June 26 | Downtown Center
Bored Kids Retreat Camp
June 27 | Mercantile on State
Classic Movie Corner: Singin' in the Rain
June 28 | Bristol Public Library
Below 7
June 28 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Sounds of Summer: Asylum Suite
June 28 | Downtown Center
The Diamonds
June 28 | Blackbird Bakery
The Great American Novel Book Club: Lonesome Dove
June 29 | Bristol Public Library
Blue Reign
June 29 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Bingo
June 30 | Bristol Public Library
A Great American Tapestry
June 30 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
James Meadows
June 30 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Sounds of Summer: Turkey Creek
July 3 | Downtown Center
Star-Spangled 4th of July Celebration
July 4 | Downtown Bristol
Bristol Pirates vs. Johnson City
July 4 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Johnson City
July 5 | Boyce Cox Field
Sounds of Summer: Frontier
July 5 | Downtown Center
AACA Antique Car Show — Patriotic
July 6 | Downtown Bristol
Bristol Pirates vs. Johnson City
July 6 | Boyce Cox Field
Square Dance
July 7 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
A Gathering of None, Pythia & The Reppertons
July 7 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Bristol Pirates vs. Princeton
July 7 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Princeton
July 8 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Princeton
July 9 | Boyce Cox Field
Sounds of Summer: Linda Lay & Springfield Exit
July 10 | Downtown Center
Farm & Fun Time ft. Carson Peters & Iron Mountain
July 12 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Sounds of Summer: Sons of Sailors
July 12 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Ken Morrell Family
July 17 | Downtown Center
Bristol Pirates vs. Burlington
July 18 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Burlington
July 19 | Boyce Cox Field
1958 Film Series: The Big Country
July 19 | Paramount Bristol
Sounds of Summer: Billy Crawford Band
July 19 | Downtown Center
Border Bash: Ancient Cities and Justin Fedor & Frank Bronson
July 20 | Downtown Bristol
Bristol Pirates vs. Burlington
July 20 | Boyce Cox Field
Dale Murphy Night
July 21 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Kingsport
July 21 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Kingsport
July 22 | Boyce Cox Field
Bristol Pirates vs. Kingsport
July 23 | Boyce Cox Field
Sounds of Summer: Nortfork
July 24 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Retroville
July 26 | Studio Brew
Tartuffe
July 27–29 | Theatre Bristol
Blair Crimmins and the Hookers
July 27 | Studio Brew
Bristol Pirates vs. Bluefield
July 31 | Boyce Cox Field
Sounds of Summer: Matt Ledbetter & Friends
July 31 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Sail On
August 2 | Downtown Center
Border Bash: Thrift Store Cowboys and Guy Marshall
August 3 | Downtown Bristol
Humorist Jeanne Robertson
August 4 | Paramount Bristol
Healthy Hands Cooking Lunch Workshop
August 6 | Bristol Public Library
Sounds of Summer: Loose Strings
August 7 | Downtown Center
1958 Film Series: Thunder Road
August 9 | Paramount Bristol
Samantha Gray
August 9 | Downtown Center
Hot Bristol Night Antique Car Show
August 10 | Downtown Bristol
1927 Society Concert: Malpass Brothers
August 10 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Sounds of Summer: Appalachian Trail
August 14 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Borderline,Wyldeheart and Shooter
August 16 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Beaver Creek
August 21 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Shake Yo Money Maker
August 23 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: ETSU Bluegrass Band
August 28 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Shades of Refinement
August 30 | Downtown Center
Sounds of Summer: Head Games
September 4 | Downtown Center
Evening with John Anderson – Acoustic — special guest Elvie Shane
September 7 | Paramount Bristol
Downtown Bristol TN/VA Loft Tour
September 8 | Downtown Bristol
Sounds of Summer: My New Favorites
September 13 | Downtown Center
18th Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
September 21–23 | Downtown Bristol
Sounds of Summer: James Meadows
September 27 | Downtown Center
Chicks with Hits: Terry Clark, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss
October 4 | Paramount Bristol
The Black Jacket Symphony: AC/DC "Back in Black"
October 5 | Paramount Bristol
PUSH! Film Festival
October 12–14 | Downtown Bristol
Downtown Bristol's Annual Christmas Open House
November 19 | Downtown Bristol
Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting
November 26 | Cumberland Square Park
EmiSunshine with Etta May
December 1 | Paramount Bristol
Bristol Christmas Parade
December 6 | Downtown Bristol

More Upcoming Events »
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