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Volume 24, Number 3 — March 2017

Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson to headline Rhythm & Roots Festival

Left to right: Fred Bowman, Bristol Virginia City Council, Chad Carpenter, designer of this year's Rhythm & Roots Reunion poster, and Joel Staton, Bristol Tennessee City Council.
Left to right: Fred Bowman, Bristol Virginia City Council, Chad Carpenter, designer of this year's Rhythm & Roots Reunion poster, and Joel Staton, Bristol Tennessee City Council.

By David McGee | Bristol Herald Courier | February 06, 2008

***This story appeared in the Bristol Herald Courier on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008.***

BRISTOL, Tenn. ? Music icons Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson will be among the headliners at the 2008 Rhythm & Roots Reunion, festival officials announced Wednesday.

Scheduled Sept. 19-21 in downtown Bristol, the eighth annual festival celebrates the Twin City's musical heritage. Organizers unveiled the performance lineup and the festival's 2008 poster during a morning news conference at the festival's office on Sixth Street.

"We're excited about both the quality and quantity of the musicians at this year's festival," said Vicie Dotson, festival chairwoman. "The schedule is about 95 percent done and we have another great lineup."

Both Watson and Stanley are recipients of the National Medal of Arts, the National Heritage Fellowship Award and multiple Grammy awards.

And both trace their early success back to the Twin City. In the 1950s, Watson and Stanley performed in Bristol on the "Farm and Fun Time" radio program, which helped launch their careers.

"They are such great artists and both are from this area," festival Executive Director Leah Ross said. "It's the first time either of them have played our festival."

Watson, a native of western North Carolina, was recently given a lifetime achievement recognition among his seven Grammy awards.

Stanley is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry. His popularity surged in 2000 when his music was featured in the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

T.G. Sheppard, Sam Bush, Cherryholmes, Blue Highway, The Infamous Stringdusters, Kelli Willis, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Otis Taylor are among the nearly 100 other acts booked for the festival, Ross said.

Festival tickets will go on sale Feb. 1 at the Rhythm & Roots office, online and at other area locations, Dotson said, adding that a complete list of ticket outlets is being finalized.

Until April 30, three-day tickets will be available at last year's price of $35. The price goes up to $40 on May 1. Single-day tickets will sell for $20 for Friday and Saturday and $15 for Sunday.

"People need to keep checking the Web site for the chance to win tickets and other prizes," Dotson said.

This year's poster was designed by Chad Carpenter of Bristol, Tenn., who won the festival's first poster design contest. It was selected from 21 entries from Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

The winning entry features the Bristol welcome sign, a fiddle and other graphic elements on a yellow background.

"I've been to the festival for the past five years and really enjoyed the music," Carpenter said. "I was really excited when a friend sent me an e-mail about the poster contest because I do a little of that."

Carpenter owns a graphic design business and is a local youth pastor and football coach.

On the Web: www.bristolrhythm.com