The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) announced the lineup for the 17th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, slated for September 15—17, 2017, during a private media event tonight at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol. A crowd of nearly 100 people was assembled in the museum’s Performance Theater where the lights were dimmed and a projector screen illuminated the faces of the eager attendees. As the sound of music and video began, mouths dropped as, one by one, the top tier of festival acts was revealed during “The Big Reveal.” The room erupted into applause as the final artist’s name blazed across the screen: Dwight Yoakam.
“Dwight Yoakam is an artist we have wanted to bring to Bristol Rhythm for years,” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music. “This is the year we were able to make that happen. Dwight has an amazing body of work as a musician and songwriter. His music has built bridges across a variety of genres, and that’s what Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is all about.”
Yoakam, the multi-Grammy Award-winning honky tonk hero, actor, and entrepreneur, stands at the head of the class for 2017’s festival, while Nashville’s Judah & The Lion, a band that has charted across folk, bluegrass, and pop charts, veeps the Bristol Rhythm roster of talent. The well-dressed master musicianship of Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester brings the bluegrass, and Son Volt’s thundering alt-country wears shades of grunge.
Several returning bands to Bristol Rhythm will please fans, including Deer Tick, the Rhode Island based alt-rock group with solid songwriting skills and folk-country tendencies, The Infamous Stringdusters whose name really speaks for itself, and other crowd-pleasing acts such as The SteelDrivers, Langhorne Slim, Mandolin Orange, and The Black Lillies.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion commemorates the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year; there will be more news to come on what BCM has in store to mark this important milestone for the recordings Johnny Cash touted as “the single most important event in the history of country music.”
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is heralded for its assembly of great headliners, established touring acts, up-and-coming artists, and some of the Appalachian region’s finest across a wide variety of genres. It is also noted for it’s unique downtown setting along State Street, where Virginia and Tennessee meet to form the twin cities of Bristol.
A mainstay of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is the annual festival poster— a collector’s item and in-demand event souvenir. Knoxville graphic designer Justin Helton, owner of Status Serigraph, was contracted to design this year’s artwork. The individually hand-pressed poster is in Helton’s signature vintage style and is now available online and at The Museum Store at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Organized by BCM, also the parent nonprofit of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol, the festival hosts an estimated 40,000 attendees across 20 outdoor stages and indoor venues with more than 120 acts of live music over the course of the 3-day weekend.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has also achieved a multitude of awards over the years including the most recent Bronze Grand Pinnacle from the International Festivals & Events Association. The festival also earned Top 20 Event/Best Festival from the Southeast Tourism Society and the Pinnacle for Special Events from the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association for its economic impact; the festival brings a return of $16 million to the region.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is possible through the support of our sponsors and partners each year. A special thanks our tourism and community partners at the City of Bristol, Tennessee; City of Bristol, Virginia; Virginia Tourism Corporation; Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tennessee Arts Commission, Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau, and many more.
To view the entire 2017 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion artist lineup or to purchase weekend wristbands click here. Weekend wristbands, good for the entire festival, are currently $75.