Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Reunion is a music and arts festival held on State Street in Bristol. The fun fact about State Street is that one side of the street is Virginia and the other side is Tennessee so you can straddle the double yellow lines and be in two places at once. We enjoy Rhythm and Roots for the food trucks, live bands, and art that you may not find anywhere else. R&R might seem small compared to other music festivals but look at the schedule of performers before you make that judgement. They end up with great headliners and pack an unreasonable amount of shows in 3 days. In case some of the empty chairs fool you, I got there early on Sunday to take pictures.
The vendors are definitely worth perusing. Here’s a pro tip: Walk down the Virginia side of the street then walk up the Tennessee side. You’ll make sure not to miss anything that way. I was excited to see some new faces this year like the potter to whom I dedicated a post here. Some old favorites include the tie dye stand, the man who airbrushes famous musicians on vintage clothing (Jacked Up Airbrush), metal and leather artists, and Moon Bound Girl who is a painter. She did the design for the t-shirt last year if you went.
Seriously, this Janis Joplin coat had my heart. How amazing is this??? It’s airbrushed.
I’m always happy to see “King of Pops” because their pops are lactose free!
Christopher’s favorite dipped cone truck can’t say the same so we divide and devour!
For the last few years, our favorite concerts have been played under the tent outside Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant. Demon Waffle was there on Sunday and Chris and I were stoked. They have a trumpet player and a saxophone player that make them different than your average “rock” band. What isn’t different from a great rock band is that their lead vocalist kills it every time. When people ask who they sound like my best description is that any one of their songs could have been tacked on to the soundtrack of “10 Things I Hate About You”. It’s hard to compare them to another band that is similar because they don’t subscribe purely to one genre. Some of their songs have a reggae vibe, some punk, some funk, some rock. I think that’s why they draw a crowd because they can make a large group of people happy. We have a blast every time we go to one of their shows and this year was no different.
I wanted to conclude the post with this picture because the world could always use more LOVE. They say Virginia is for lovers but everywhere else should be too. All those vendors were lined up right next to each other and they were all so different. They lived harmoniously in hopes that they would all be successful. My sister along with a few other vendors forgot to bring lights for after sunset when people still wanted to shop. The lady in the next tent over poked her head in without us even asking and gave us a huge light. She then gave another vendor a light so they wouldn’t lose business. I was completely floored.
Going to Rhythm and Roots reminded me that sharing your gift with the world should be celebrated especially if your gift is different. I have friends who are photographers, makeup artists, choreographers, and even friends who (gulp) exercise for fun. Whatever you love doing, keep on keepin’ on. Whatever you bring to the table, bring it every day. Go to more festivals. Listen to more music. Appreciate more art. Most importantly, bring an extra light to share with a stranger. It might seem like I’ve gone down a rabbit hole but seeing so many different artists and musicians support each other this year really made my heart full.
Until next time,