Last Friday, we attended the 2008 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion sponsor reception at the historic train station in Bristol, TN. The organizers of this popular regional festival really know how to take care of their sponsors too gathering everyone under roof at this newly remodeled facility right below the famous Bristol sign on State Street.

This was the first time I’ve walked through those halls since the mid-eighties, when names like ‘The Third Rail,” F.O.B. Everret,” and “Greene’s Seafood” used to draw patrons to dinner and some degree of night life. The last time I was here was in the late eighties enjoying peppermint schnapps with my friend Robert Banks on a sub-zero February afternoon.

The folks who have reopened the “Train Station” have redecorated the place and it’s now a place for weddings and special events like the Sponsor Reception which kicks off this year’s festival which begins Friday.

Festival Director Leah Ross and this year’s chairperson Vicie Dotson welcomed guests while Annie and Paul Robinette performed their original music from a small corner in the room. There was an open bar to grab a cold beer and plenty of food from the culinary school in Bristol too.

We were among several regional businesses who were on hand to accept the festivals gratitude for their help with the festival and although we were also videotaping the event and shooting several photograph’s we were delighted to be among the many who were there supporting the festival.

It’s absolutely amazing how these two cities reach across borders and organize such a strong festival which features over 100 performing artists on 18 stages throughout the city. For a $40 price tag, you’ll not find a better form of outdoor entertainment all year and it all starts next week.

Vicie introduce each sponsor and awarded them with a gorgeous wood placque and this year’s heart award went to Katie Sword who accepted the award with a surprised look that was highlighted by the sun’s rays that were beaming in through the west wing of the train station as the day ended.

We shot plenty of video and have several photos to share including pictures of Carl Moore, Charlene Tipton showing off the new baby bump and several pictures of sponsors and their awards. We enjoyed the music too and more importantly, we’re excited about this year’s festival and look forward to dancing in the streets at this year’s festival which starts this Friday afternoon in downtown Bristol.

We spoke with Leah Ross on Buzzcutz last week.