"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bristol Stopover

We attended our second brand new music festival of the year(Bunbury in Cincinnati being the first) this past weekend hosted by none other than our favorite new band on the music scene in the last few years, Mumford & Sons.  Their day-long music festival is called "The Gentlemen of the Road" tour and the closest of the mere four "stop overs" it was making in the U.S. this summer was in Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, so we grabbed tickets when they went on sale before it SOLD OUT in a brief amount of time and planned a long weekend up to the northeast corner of our state.

Friday, August 10, 2012:  We hopped in our new black 2012 Honda Accord and proceeded to take it on its first real road trip
as we headed eastward.  We stopped for a late lunch in Knoxville to use a Groupon we had bought for a beer and cheese flight at Cafe 11,  a newly-opened European-style coffee house (that also serves beer, hence the European influence) on Gay Street in the city's historically restored downtown area.
The place was really quiet for a Friday afternoon as the school year at nearby UTK doesn't start until next week.  We became fast friends with the owner, Mustafa, since we were the only ones in the place at times and he was gracious enough to whip us up a cheese board even though the Groupon was meant to only be used after 5 P.M.  We grabbed three craft beers as well and had a nice relaxing break from the 4-hour drive to Bristol from our home.  We bid Mustafa farewell and wished him the best on his new endeavor, hoping it does well enough for us to visit him again sometime

Maybe so, but definitely a good place to visit.

As part of the Mumford & Sons weekend, the city was putting on some
pre-festival activities as well including a classic car show up and down
State Street.  Many of the quaint downtown shops were open as well
and the art galleries were giving out free wine samples!

Saturday, August 11:  The music festival didn't start until 2 PM, so we lazily slept in and relaxed around the Doubletree hotel room over in nearby Johnson City.  We had about a 20-minute drive back to Bristol and we headed out a little after noon to grab some lunch before the fun started. 

We strolled back down State Street and decided to eat at  the famous (or infamous - it seems it's the last place Hank Williams was seen alive??) Burger Bar.  The place is tiny and we were lucky enough to grab a couple seats at the bar itself and have a couple of delicious made-when-you-order-it cheeseburgers combos.

Tiny Bristol was an obvious place for their  music festival for music lovers like Mumford & Sons given the long history in music here including the fact that it, not Nashville, is the true birthplace of country music.

The crowds were big with a SOLD OUT maximum of 17,500 tickets sold.

The first set of the day on the smaller of two stages, was one of the best performances of the festival in our opinion, and a great new musical discovery for us, was Simone Felice (far right) and his outstanding  band, joined here with "Big" Mike Harris of Nashville's own, Apache Relay, who played the bigger stage later in the day.  At another show at this same stage with the band, Haim, we had a personal thrill of seeing and meeting, James Trimble, lead singer of one of our favorite regional bands, The Dirty Guv'nahs who was taking in the music festival with his fiancee'.

The "big stage" was just that.  The weather couldn't have been much better.  The line-up was great all day with a few bands we had seen before and like (The Apache Relay, Dawes and, of course, Mumford & Sons ) and a few acts we've been wanting to see play live like Justin Townes Earles on stage in the photo above.

Mumford & Sons were awesome, as usual.  Several of their new songs off their upcoming and long-awaited sophomore album called "Babel" sounded great live.  They finished their encore by bringing all the artists who had played throughout the day up on stage for a raucous cover of Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel."
There was even a free after party show at the Mural Stage just off State Street by another band we are growing fond of called The Black Lillies, a dandy groove-grass band out of Knoxville that we've seen a few times.
Sunday, August 12, 2012 - We had nowhere to be but home today, so we slept in again and headed out around noon heading back southwest toward Knoxville.  Our only real destination was a late lunch at Pizza Palace, an East Knoxville tradition for over 50 years.  Yes, Italian's in their name, but onion rings are also their game and served with a spaghetti-sauce dipping cup - delicious!  Thanks again to the wonderful Food Network TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for scouting this place out for us that we would probably have never stopped at otherwise.

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