Bristol Rhythm& Roots Reunion organizers already getting ready for 2018


BRISTOL - Less than a day after the last performance at Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, organizers are already focusing on next year's festival. They say they don't have the exact number of people who attended the festival this year, but are pleased with the large turnout.

"We just see those crowds and we know we're doing something right," Leah Ross, the executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, says.

Festival organizers spread out the bigger name musical acts across the weekend to help keep the crowds consistent. Ross says that happened by accident, but ended up working out nicely.

"The scheduling this year was great for that because it helps move the crowd around more easily," Ross says.

The large crowds however, can be troublesome for police.

"When the street is full down there, it's hard to get around," Captain Maynard Ratcliff with the Bristol, Virginia Police Department says. "It seems like it's becoming fuller each year."

Despite the jam packed streets, Captain Ratcliff says the majority of the crowd was well behaved.

"Two or three arrests were made but when you consider the number of people that were downtown all weekend, that's not a drop in the bucket," he says.

Police did help respond to several EMS calls, but none of them ended up being very serious.

With this year's festival now in the rearview mirror, organizers are already focusing on next year's festival.

"If you've seen the Cumberland Square Park I mean how festive it looks with the lights," Ross says. "How do we go about making all the stages have that real festive appeal?"

Event organizers will meet again on Oct. 1 to discuss what worked this year, what didn't and how they can make it even better in 2018.

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