Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Y’all, it’s September, which means it’s almost time for one of my favorite music events! My hometown of Bristol (I’m from the Virginia side, but if you’ve seen the Geico commercial, there’s also Bristol, Tennessee…if you stand in the middle of our main street, you can have one foot in Virginia and one foot in Tennessee!) is the Birthplace of Country Music (nope, it’s not Nashville!) and hosts the Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival every year.

What’s Rhythm & Roots? Well, I’m glad you asked! The festival began in 2001, is held in downtown Bristol in September usually on the third weekend of the month, and according to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, “generally hosts over 130 bands on 20 stages”! It’s really exciting to see how much it grows every year, and there are usually some big names for a small town festival. There’s a wide range of bands/singers, but the majority is usually bluegrass, country, Americana, and Indie; there are also songwriters performing who’ve created hits for big names in the music industry.

Rhythm and Roots has become a tradition for John and me, and my parents usually get us weekend tickets for Christmas. Because the festival takes place around the time that fall “officially” begins, I kind of equate the festival with fall and never really get into the fall mood until then. I definitely have my fingers crossed that this year’s weather is cooler and fall-ier than last year (I’m ready for sweatshirts!).

One of my absolute favorite moments was from 2017 when they had Judah and the Lion booked right before they exploded onto the music scene with “Take It All Back.” John and I both agreed that their performance was one of the best concerts we’ve ever seen – they were so humble and grateful for the fans, incredibly entertaining, and sounded amazing live!

This year the two main headliners are Wynonna (Judd) and The Big Noise and St. Paul and The Broken Bones (which I am SO excited about because he’s amazing and always puts on a killer show). See the full lineup here.

Near Moore Stage, one of the small, cozy stages tucked between buildings downtown.

In addition to all the stages and concerts going throughout each day, there are also vendors that line the street and some great restaurants downtown! Downtown Bristol has really expanded since I “officially” lived there (I mean, Bristol will always be home no matter how long I’ve been gone!), and there are now so many restaurants and breweries that have popped up downtown! It’s really the perfect place for a music festival.

One of my favorite stages is in Cumberland Park because there’s a huge lawn for chairs and blankets and they always have the trees decorated with cute art. You can also bring food in and picnic while listening to the concerts. As you walk into the park, there is also a giant “LOVE” sign (see the top picture) that’s great for memorable pictures from the festival.

So, music fans, if you’re interested in this year’s Rhythm and Roots Reunion, you better get those tickets soon because you don’t want to miss out on a concert under our famous Bristol sign (see below)! Wristbands and one-day passes can still be purchased at their website.


Have you been to Rhythm and Roots? What’s your favorite part about the weekend?

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