BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. - As staff at theBirthplace of Country Musicin downtown Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia looks ahead to warmer weather, they're already seeing increased visitation tothe Birthplace of Country Music Museum–a welcome sight after a cold winter beset by the pandemic.
"We're beginning to seevisitation picking up at the museum, especially on the weekends," said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross."These are visitors from both the community and outside the region–along with a few international travelers. This is very good news, and we hope that number continues to grow with the reassurancethat our health and safety practices remain firmly in place."
Additionally, BCM has completed booking for its annualBristol Rhythm & Roots Reunionmusic festival, slated for Sept. 10-12 of this year, and the full lineup will be announced in coming weeks. Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, and Blackberry Smoke have already been announced asheadliners for the event.
"We are very hopeful the festival and live music will return to State Street this summer with more vaccinations being made available," adds Ross. "We are looking into health and safety measures at the festival as well."
Weekend passes are on sale now atBristolRhythm.comwith a convenient payment plan option.
The museum continues to host most of its special programming virtually, including the monthly Virtual Speaker Series and a new seriescelebrating Women's History Month in partnership with theSmithsonian's American Women's History Initiativethroughout March.
EachWednesday in March, the museum is hostingSmithsonian Affiliations Virtual Scholar Talks, whichfocuson lesser-known stories of women'scontributions to American history in a variety of areas including activism, aerospace, and the arts. This is part of the Smithsonian's wider AWHI focus.
Each of these virtual programs is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Visit the Events pages atBirthplaceOfCountryMusic.orgto sign up.
Online programming for families and children continues withMuseum at Home's Virtual Story Timeseries, where museum staff and volunteers read from selected children's books twice a month. Friday, March 5 at 11 a.m., the museum will premiere a reading of"Swamp Angel"by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, read with permission from Penguin Random House. Friday, March 19 at 11 a.m. they will post a reading of"The Relatives Came"by Cynthia Ryland and illustrated by Stephen Gammelwith permission from Simon & Schuster.Learning sheets and other related activities are also included. VisitBirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org/virtual-story-timeto access the latest videos and activities.
The museum'sRadio Bristol Book Club"meets" on-air Thursday, March 25 at 11 a.m. to discuss Brandon Hobson's award-winning book "Where the Dead Sit Talking"a Native American coming-of-age story set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s. Readers are encouraged to pick up a copy of the book at their local libraries and email their questions or comments firstname.lastname@example.org. Listeners may have their messagesaddressed on the air. Tune in to Radio Bristol at 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online atListenRadioBristol.org, or download the free Radio Bristol mobile app.
Finally, March 28 is the last date to visit the museum's special exhibitsHonky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972-1981, featuring the photographs of Henry Horenstein,A Selection of Hard Rock's Country Music Memorabilia, and two poster exhibits commemorating theCentennial of Women's Suffrage.
For more information about the Birthplace of Country Music, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.