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A band performs during the L. C. King Centennial Sessions.  Photo by Ben Collins.

The L. C. King Centennial Sessions

Finished work from the sessions can be found here. What a weekend. Thanks to the people at the Birthplace of Country Music(BCM) and Live and Breathing, people can enjoy a series of incredible music performances that happened in an active, 100 year old sewing factory. The project is the result of a partnership I helped strengthen between the non profit dedicated to preserving our musical heritage and the company I work for. The results speak for themselves, but the memories of that 3 day marathon are hard to describe in scope.

I'd been friends with Charlene, marketing director for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion festival for years. We go way back, even before she joined the festival. Both of us had seen BCM form, break apart, rise again and mature. At some point I helped them with their brand during a critical change (evolution, really) as they finally began to realize the dream of a beautiful new museum downtown. But that's another story. The main thing is that when she was working hard on the 2013 festival that summer, I was at the L. C. King factory working hard to help them get the most out of their miraculous 100th year in business.

First I had learned that the factory closes during the festival. Secondly, we had been working on renovating the original office (it was a museum of sorts during our Centennial Celebration earlier in April) and the plan was to eventually sell clothing there at a store. I convinced everyone that we should have the store open during the festival as a kind of test run. I was thinking about ways to promote the store during the festival and I believe Charlene mentioned that they might need space or room for King University teams who would be covering the event with photography and social media.

"Well, I have a huge factory?," I suggested. We even had workstations and WiFi. Earlier in the year, I had upgraded to really fast fiber internet which has been a huge plus in a million ways.

That week, conversations between the folks at BCM and the downtown community quickly resulted in a new possibility — that our factory could be the location of choice for this year's Live and Breathing visit. Once I learned about their operation, I quickly invited them to visit.

Like always, as soon as they saw the old wooden floors, vintage machines, and began to understand the whole story, they were hooked.

During the Celebration, we had a band perform on the second floor and so we felt pretty good logistically. Thankfully, L&B was truly experienced and professional. I had to commit to basically work non-stop (besides sleep) for three days, but I wouldn't give up this chance for anything. I ran the store and the show. I got to meet so many musicians and festival goers.

It was a huge success. Sales from the store way more than covered all our costs. The entire weekend went off without a hitch. We made innumerable new friends and I was (and still am) kind of mesmerized that it all happened.

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